A man, woman being in a room does not indicate sexual relationship, says Madras HC


The mere presence of a man and a woman inside one roof for some time need not necessarily lead to a conclusion that they were in an illicit sexual relationship, the Madras High Court said and quashed an order dismissing from service a male constable who was found with a woman constable inside his residential quarters.

Justice R. Suresh Kumar said the presence of two individuals of opposite sex inside a locked house need not necessarily lead to a presumption that they were in an immoral relationship. “This kind of presumption prevailing in the society cannot be the basis for initiating disciplinary action and inflicting punishment,” he added.

The judge pointed out that the writ petitioner K. Saravana Babu had joined the Armed Reserve Police as a constable in 1997. On October 10, 1998, a woman constable had entered his residential quarters and the door was locked on the inside. Later, when others knocked the door, the woman was found standing near the kitchen.

When disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the petitioner for the charge of moral turpitude, he explained that the woman constable had come home at about 7:30 a.m. asking for the keys of her house located close by and that while they were talking, someone else locked the door from the outside and then pretended to knock on the door.

After referring to the defence taken by the petitioner, the judge pointed out that some of the witnesses had said the door was locked from outside too. He also agreed with senior counsel R. Singaravelan that there was absolutely no eyewitness or any other concrete evidence to prove that the two constables were found in a compromising position.

“Therefore, based on such suspicion and conjectures, one cannot come to a conclusion that some unlawful or immoral activities had taken place and by virtue of that the employee/delinquent is liable to be punished with a maximum punishment of dismissal of service,” the judge said and quashed the dismissal order passed by a Deputy Inspector General of Police in 1999.

After the dismissal, the petitioner had approached the Tamil Nadu Administrative Tribunal and obtained a stay order. By virtue of the stay order, he joined service but was denied promotions. After the abolition of the tribunal, his case was transferred to the High Court in 2007 and got converted into a writ petition.

Taking up the writ petition for final disposal now, the judge ordered that the petitioner would be entitled to all service benefits under the relevant rules.

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Hong Kong woman facing firearms charge after being arrested carrying stun gun shaped like a cigarette lighter




A woman is to appear in a Hong Kong court on Friday charged with firearms offences after being arrested carrying a stun gun shaped like a cigarette lighter.The 41-year-old is expected to appear in West Kowloon Court after being charged with possession of firearms without a licence, according to police.She was among three people detained in separate instances in Sham Shui Po between October and December last year.Police said the woman was arrested in October after the stun gun was found in her…

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San Diego Police Officers Sing Happy Birthday to 99-Year-Old Woman


Police in California helped a woman celebrate her 99th birthday with a heartfelt rendition of Happy Birthday, footage shared on January 18 shows. The video, posted by the San Diego Police Department, shows officers of the Southeastern Division singing along with members of the woman’s family. The birthday girl, referred to in the post as Nanay, excitedly takes in the celebrations as she stands behind a sign with her impressive age on it. “99 years old and still strong!! Nanay is full of strength, wisdom and love. Southeastern Division practiced their vocal skills and was honored to sing this beautiful lady a Happy Birthday,” the department wrote alongside the footage. Credit: San Diego Police Department via Storyful

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Thai woman handed 43-year prison term over Facebook and YouTube posts deemed critical of the monarchy



A court in Thailand has sentenced a former civil servant to a record prison term of 43 years and six months for breaching the country’s strict law on insulting or defaming the monarchy, officials say.

The Bangkok Criminal Court found the woman guilty on 29 counts of violating the country’s lese majeste law for posting audio clips to Facebook and YouTube with comments deemed critical of the monarchy, the group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said.

The sentence, which comes amid an ongoing protest movement that has seen unprecedented public criticism of the monarchy, was swiftly condemned by rights groups.

“Today’s court verdict is shocking and sends a spine-chilling signal that not only criticisms of the monarchy won’t be tolerated, but they will also be severely punished,” Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, said.

Violating Thailand’s lese majeste law – known widely as Article 112 – is punishable by three to 15 years’ imprisonment per count.

During Thailand’s last 15 years of political unrest, use of the law has frequently been seen as a political weapon.

Public criticism of the monarchy has increased over the past year, when young protesters demanding reform of the royal family, which has long been regarded as an almost sacred institution by many Thais.

Since November authorities have arrested about 50 people and charged them with lese majeste.

“Thai authorities are using lese majeste prosecution as their last-resort measure in response to the youth-led democracy uprising that seeks to curb the king’s powers,” Sunai said.

“Thailand’s political tensions will now go from bad to worse.”

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights identified the woman sentenced on Tuesday only by her first name, Anchan, and said she was in her mid-sixties.

The court initially announced her sentence as 87 years, but reduced it by half because she pleaded guilty in the hope the court would have sympathy for her actions, because she had only shared the audio, not posted or commented on it, she told local media on her arrival at court.

“I thought it was nothing. There were so many people who shared this content and listened to it,” Anchan said.

What is believed to have previously been the longest lese majeste sentence was issued in 2017, when a military court sentenced a man to 35 years for social media posts deemed defamatory to the monarchy.

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Woman charged with manslaughter after head-on crash


A woman has been charged with manslaughter after a head-on crash killed a 66-year-old.

Two vehicles were travelling along Wagner Road at Griffin, north of Brisbane, on December 11 when they collided.

A 66-year-old woman behind the wheel of one of the cars died at the scene.

The second woman, a 47-year-old from Griffin, had to be removed from the car and was taken to Royal Brisbane Hospital in a critical condition.

Queensland police charged her with manslaughter on Monday.

She was released on bail and is expected to appear in Pine Rivers Magistrates Court on February 15.

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FBI hunt for woman accused of stealing Nancy Pelosi’s laptop to sell to the Russians


Williams’ mother, who lives with her in Harrisburg, told ITV reporters that her daughter had taken a sudden interest in President Donald Trump’s politics and “far-right message boards”. Her father, who lives in Camp Hill, told local law enforcement that he and his daughter went to Washington on the day of the protest but didn’t stay together, meeting up later to return to Harrisburg, the FBI said.

FBI officials said they believe Williams “has fled”. Her mother told local law enforcement that she packed a bag and left, saying she would be gone for a couple of weeks. She also changed her phone number and deleted a number of social media accounts, the FBI said. Court documents don’t list a lawyer for her.

But the FBI have arrested a heavy metal guitarist who is accused of spraying police officers with a pepper-based bear spray irritant.

Jon Schaffer, guitarist with heavy metal band Iced Earth, turned himself in after seeing his face on a wanted poster.

Jon Ryan Schaffer turned himself in Sunday after he was featured on an FBI poster seeking the public’s help in identifying rioters, said Chris Bavender, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Indianapolis office. He has been charged with several felony counts, including engaging in an act of physical violence and knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful entry.

It wasn’t immediately known if Schaffer, a member of the band Iced Earth, had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf and online federal court records Monday didn’t yet list his case.

The Indianapolis Star reported that Schaffer had been sought after, according to a federal statement about his case, he was seen in photographs and on video “engaging in verbal altercations with Capitol Police inside the Capitol building” and holding a container of bear spray.

Schaffer is a supporter of President Donald Trump and has voiced various conspiracy theories, once telling a German news station that a shadowy criminal enterprise is trying to run the world under a communist agenda and that he and others are prepared to fight with violence.

According to a statement filed in federal court by an FBI agent, Schaffer “has long held far-right extremist views”. The statement said that: “During an interview in 2017, Schaffer … referred to the federal government as a ‘criminal enterprise’. During that same interview, Schaffer stated that the 2016 presidential election was ‘rigged.’”

Four of Schaffer’s “Iced Earth” bandmates put out a statement on Instagram and Facebook condemning the violence that rioters were involved in, saying: “We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions.”

Federal charges of assault, destruction of government property and obstruction were also laid against 24-year-old Colorado man Robert Gieswein, who is alleged to have attacked US Capitol police with a spray cannister and a baseball bat.

Gieswein appears affiliated with a radical militia group known as the Three Percenters, which advocates for resistance to government policies it believes infringe on individual rights, according to the affidavit, and runs a private paramilitary training group he calls the Woodland Wild Dogs.

AP, Bloomberg

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Man and woman hit during Australia Day event at Lake Hume | The Border Mail


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A man with a history of serious assault matters has avoided spending another stint in jail following an Australia Day attack against two people. Tyrone Mallory, 25, appeared before Albury Local Court on Monday almost two years after the 2019 assault. He had been at The Boat Shed Lake Hume for an event featuring pool access and DJs to celebrate the national day, with multiple Master King security guards rostered to work the gathering. Mallory had been with friends near a bar about 7.45pm, and another group of three men arrived. The group ordered drinks and walked to a grass area near the pool when one of the men lit a cigarette. The group was approached by security guards who told them they had to smoke on the other side of the fence. Police told magistrate Richard Funston some of the men jumped the fence before a fight broke out. “Not long after this, an altercation has started between the group of males the accused was with and another group of males who were sitting near the fence,” an officer said. “As a result a large brawl has taken place between both parties.” A man who worked at the venue saw the fight start and went over to intervene. As he approached, Mallory punched him in the right side of his face. The man immediately felt discomfort and could feel his face begin to swell up. A female security guard saw Mallory throw the punch at the man and got him into a headlock to take him to the ground. Mallory broke free and swung his right hand at her. The guard managed to pull back to miss the full strength of the blow, but was still struck in the cheek. Police took statements following the 2019 incident. IN OTHER NEWS: Mallory, who was jailed in Wodonga in September 2019 following a different assault, was eventually charged by police. The Wodonga man pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault. Magistrate Richard Funston imposed $1500 in fines and recorded a conviction. Mallory has a history of violent offending. During the incident which saw him jailed in Wodonga for six months, the 25-year-old attacked his friend and continued to strike him after he fell to the ground. The man’s injuries were so severe, he had to go to Melbourne for facial surgery. His nose, eye socket and jaw were damaged and the man had to live with his mother for weeks to receive care. He was unable to eat and lost eight kilograms. Mallory also had to be escorted from the Wodonga races in 2017 and has been involved in other altercations.

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Helicopter rescue for 61-year-old woman after kayaking mishap on Franklin River


A helicopter rescue team has airlifted a woman from Tasmania’s rugged Franklin River system after she injured herself during a kayaking expedition.

A member of Tasmania’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter team surveys the terrain over the kayaking party.(Supplied: Tasmania Police)

Search and Rescue members in the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Tasmania responded to a personal locator beacon activation in the Great Ravine area of the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park on Saturday afternoon.

In a statement, police said a 61-year-old woman from Tasmania’s north-west was flown to the Royal Hobart Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

She had been part of a group kayaking on the Franklin River, which is popular with adventure tour companies and private parties who visit the 129-kilometre-long system’s white water attractions and gorges.

Kayaking party in a river as seen from a helicopter.
The kayaking party as seen from Tasmania’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter.(Supplied: Tasmania Police)

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21-year-old Toronto woman who loved solo travel dies on Vancouver-area mountain trail


A 21-year-old Toronto woman who posted online about her love for solo travel has died after getting lost on a mountain trail on Vancouver’s rugged north shore.

Nikki Donnelly was “the type of person you’ll only meet once in a lifetime,” longtime friend Dana Morvan told the Star Saturday.

Donnelly went missing on a hike north of Vancouver earlier this week. On Friday, Squamish RCMP said she was removed from a steep gully about five kilometres from the Cypress Mountain ski area on Friday morning after an overnight search.

The Mounties said Donnelly was taken back to the base of North Shore Rescue, a volunteer search-and-rescue team that operates in the area, and medical staff pronounced her dead.

Donnelly documented her travels on an Instagram account that included posts from Mexico, Morocco, the U.S. and several recent images from the backcountry in Western Canada.

“She travelled the world by herself,” said Morvan, who used to work with Donnelly as a lifeguard. “This was just another hike for her,” she said.

Morvan described her friend as the kind of person she could open up to. “She was actually the first person that I came out to,” Morvan said. “I felt so comfortable around her.”

When they no longer worked together, Morvan said they continued spending time together, going to concerts and bonding over travel and triathlons. She said Donnelly was inspired to travel by photos of Morvan in B.C., and reached out for recommendations on places and activities to look out for.

Officials with North Shore Rescue said Donnelly was found about 20 hours after she contacted a friend in Toronto to report she was lost.

That friend reported that the woman called to say she was returning from St. Mark’s Summit and realized she had strayed from the trail.

North Shore Rescue scoured the area using night-vision equipment, but poor weather and snow conditions complicated their efforts.

In a news release, the RCMP they will work with the B.C. Coroners Service to determine all the facts surrounding the death.

North Shore Rescue receives about 130 search-and-rescue calls a year, according to its website, which offers guides to educate hikers planning trips in the mountains near Vancouver.

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RCMP Sgt. Sascha Banks urged anyone heading into the backcountry to research the Sea to Sky area, take the necessary gear, assess their skill level and know the conditions.

“Please know this: if you are in the backcountry and need help, stop and call 911, ourselves and our very experienced search teams will do everything we can to find you.”

With files from The Canadian Press



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Queensland Health says ‘all protocols followed’ when woman left hotel quarantine to accompany father to hospital


Health authorities say “all protocols were followed” when a woman in Brisbane hotel quarantine accompanied her father to and from hospital wearing full PPE before she later tested positive for the UK strain of COVID-19.

A report by the Courier Mail on Thursday afternoon said the woman had been left unattended at the hospital and travelled back to the hotel in either a taxi or ride-share.

In a statement on Thursday night, a Queensland Health spokesperson said, “some early reporting has misrepresented this situation”.

“In circumstances where a person accompanies a relative to hospital for medical treatment, full PPE [personal protective equipment] and safety guidelines are followed,” the spokesperson said.

“This occurs even if a patient is being transported for non-COVID-related medical issues.

“Quarantine guests are transported to and from the hospital by Queensland Ambulance Service, who have been safely transporting hotel quarantine guests for almost a year.

“All protocols were followed in this case. Guests were transported from and returned to the hotel by Qld Ambulance Service while in appropriate PPE.

“The suggestion the person caught a ride-share back to the hotel is untrue. Full and proper COVID-19 PPE protocols were followed while these guests were in the hospital.” 

Just hours after the woman went back to quarantine in the hotel, she and her father were formally notified they were carrying the mutant UK strain of COVID-19.

The woman, aged in her 20s, arrived from Lebanon with her father, aged in his 40s, on New Year’s Day.

They had been quarantining at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in inner-city Brisbane where four cases of the mutant strain have now been detected, along with a hotel cleaner and her partner.

The spread of the virus on level seven of the hotel sparked a mass evacuation of all 129 guests in a major medical emergency on Wednesday.

It is understood police are investigating after Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said earlier she could not be confident all guests stayed inside their rooms during the 14-day isolation, as per Queensland Health’s hotel quarantine protocol.

Overnight on Wednesday, all guests were moved by ambulance to other quarantine hotels, including The Westin in Brisbane’s CBD.

The Westin in Brisbane's CBD.
Overnight all guests were moved by ambulance to other medi-hotels including The Westin in Brisbane’s CBD.(ABC News: Liz Pickering)

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