CRAIG THOMPSON ARRESTED

Federal MP Craig Thomson declined an offer to surrender himself before he was was arrested at his electorate office and charged with 150 fraud offences, police say.

Members of the NSW fraud squad on Thursday executed an arrest warrant on behalf of the Victorian Fraud and Extortion Squad. Craig Thomson leaves Wyong Court. Photo: Mick Tsikas Victorian detectives flew to Sydney this morning where they accompanied NSW police to Mr Thomson’s Central Coast electorate office. He was arrested about 1pm.

The head of the NSW Fraud Squad, Detective Superintendent Col Dyson said that Mr Thomson was arrested on Thursday because he refused an invitation before Christmas to surrender himself. ”I believe that from reading the warrant he was invited to travel to Victoria to surrender himself prior to Christmas, he didn’t do that,” Supt Dyson told reporters.

[…]

Mr Thomson was bailed to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 6. “Every fibre of my being is screaming out to say how wrong this is,” he said outside the Wyong Local Court. He said he would be “vigorously defending the charges”. “As I have said from the start, I have done no wrongdoing,” he said. The Victorian police have spent almost 18 months investigating claims that Mr Thomson improperly used Health Services Union funds to spend on prostitutes, air travel, entertainment and cash withdrawals in excess of $100,000. In October last year police raided Mr Thomson’s Bateau Bay home as well as his electorate office.

Full story here.

Murder Charge Information

Murder
[Section 18 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)]     

Maximum Penalty: Life imprisonment
Offence: Murder is committed when the act of the accused the caused death of another. This can be done:
1.   Through reckless indifference to human life
2.   Through an intention to do grievous bodily harm or kill
3.   Whilst attempting, during or after the act of such an offence that carries a maximum term of
    25 years imprisonment or more.

Non-Parole Period:  If the offence arose due to the victims occupation and they were any of the listed below there is a standard non-parole period of 25 years.
a.    Police officer
b.    Emergency services worker
c.     Correctional officer
d.    Judicial officer
e.    Council law enforcement officer
f.      Health worker
g.     Teacher
h.    Community worker
i.      Public official

Sentence: A long-term prison sentence is expected for any murder conviction. If the culpability is
extreme it is mandatory that a life sentence be given.

Recklessly Cause Grievous Bodily Harm Or Wounding Information

Recklessly Cause Grievous Bodily Harm Or Wounding
[Section 35 Crimes Act 1900]
Maximum penalty: 10 years imprisonment if heard within the District court (2 years if dealt with summarily) or 14 years if the offence was committed in the company of others.
Offence: Causing grievous (serious) bodily harm (GBH) or wounding through reckless actions.
1.   Recklessly: No proof of intent is needed, although still has some foresight to the actions. The accused understood and realised the possibility to GBH behind their actions
2.    Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH):
a. the destruction (other than in the course of a medical procedure) of the foetus of  pregnant woman, whether or not the woman suffers any other harm, and
b. any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person, and
c. any grievous bodily disease (in which case a reference to the infliction of grievous bodily harm includes a reference to causing a person to contract a grievous bodily disease)
3.    Wounding: involves the cutting or breaking of the interior layer of skin.
Defences: Possible defence to this charge is self-defence. In order to raise self defence the following must be established:
-That the accused believed that their conduct was necessary to defend himself, herself or another.
-What the accused did was a reasonable response in the circumstances as the accused perceived them.
Sentences: Factors affecting penalties can include the extent of the injuries caused, the degree of violence and force used, intent or recklessness, or any other aggravating circumstances such as the presence of a minor at the offence. Other considerations include remorse, criminal record, and other personal circumstances such as health and employment.


Simon Tedeschi "Comes Clean"?

In a bizarre post on the Limelight magazine online, Simon Tedeschi, son of NSW’s senior Crown Prosecutor (who, incidentally also has a wikipedia article, though it’s substantially longer than his performing artists son), does a “tell all” about the use of beta-blockers by musicians in the classical music industry. In a tongue-in-cheek/or-is-it? style piece he criticizes the industry’s permissive attitude while excoriating himself for not having done things differently. Make up your own mind about just what sort of a confession this is:

“I’ve been living a lie.

For that I’m sorry. I’m sorry to budding young pianists who looked up to me as a role model. I’m sorry to all my audiences. I’m sorry to piano teachers everywhere. I’m sorry to Lane Cove Music Club who booked me when I was 9 in the hope I would turn into something special. I’m sorry to the late Fred Blanks for writing a mean article about him in this very magazine. He was right all along. I am sorry to the charity of which I am patron, the MicroLoan Foundation, and especially its beneficiaries: the toiling women of Malawi who must resort to cruel ingenuity to provide a plate of rice for their kids, to whom I am also sorry (even though, strictly speaking, they did come out on top as a result of my recitals). I don’t have any children yet, but I’m pre-emptively sorry to them as well. Mostly, I’m sorry to God.

For the last decade, I’ve doped. From Sydney Opera House to Campsie RSL, my performing career has been an exercise in subterfuge. Peruse my CV; let your eyes rest on a competition victory. I doped for that too. My childhood competitors probably remember an awkward, gangly-eyed boy with scant hair and a preternaturally calm demeanour. I was high even then. The plastic trophies I captured during Eisteddfod runs in the 90s were pawned to Happy Hockers in exchange for a fix. During the filming of Shine in which I was the hand double for the young David, I was embroiled in my own private psychodrama (currently being negotiated for the big screen, Charlie Sheen set to star). My recordings, noted for their slow tempi, should have had another name on the liner notes. Its scientific name is Metropolol, but is most commonly known by its generic name: Beta Blockers.

[…]

Even though I am one, I don’t want to be seen as a hero – merely a man who wanted to be a pianist but lost himself along the way. This announcement is going to be gut-wrenching for those closest to me, but no more so than for my family who will bear the brunt of my duplicity for years to come. For the moral luminaries out there baying for my blood – am I not a man too? If you prick me do I not bleed? I expect the establishment’s response will be swift and permanent. As of this article’s publishing, I am persona non grata in everywhere but my own lounge room. All this from the very powerbrokers who always made a point of looking the other way. Who are the real villains here?

Even though my career is in the doghouse, I do not want to bow out of public life without trying to make something positive out of all this. I submit that nothing less than a full scale, zero tolerance crackdown is needed. Heads will need to roll.

My recommendations:
– Compulsory stagefright checks at all stage doors throughout Australia.
– An inquiry headed up by Justice George Palmer to examine and weed out collusive behaviour by members of the classical music hierarchy.
– A media campaign titled ‘Beat da Blocker,’ figure-headed by Australian Rugby League legend Blocker, designed to rehabilitate classical music in the public’s eyes and simultaneously open it up to younger audiences.
– A televised interview between me and Oprah which will lend this cause the profile it needs in order to truly permeate the public consciousness. With the funds I have illicitly gained through doping, I will give each live audience member a house.

In the meantime, I hereby announce my retirement from public life. I intend to spend more time with my close family and pursue my other great passion: cycling.

With regret

Simon Tedeschi”

“Even though I am one, I don’t want to be seen as a hero?” Really?

Full article here.


Robbery Offence Information

Robbery
[Section 94 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)]
Maximum Penalty: 14 years imprisonment
Offence: There are three elements to this offence, they are:
1.     Intent to steal
2.     Threat or force putting the other person(s) in fear
3.     Taking property from the person(s)
This offence must be heard within the district court.
Evidence: Evidence that may be used includes, evidence from the victim or witnesses, CCTV footage, interviews between accused and police, and more.
Defences: An option for defence is claim of right. That the accused believed they were entitled to take the property.
Sentence: Custodial sentences are generally given for this offence. Consideration is given to prior criminal record and personal circumstances are taken into account.

This Offence can be elevated with the addition of weaponry or wounding, the offence has the same three elements to establish robbery. With all of these offences both aggravating and mitigating circumstances affect the outcome of the penalty. These offences include:
1.    Robbery whilst armed with an offensive weapon [Section 97(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)]-
Offensive weapon includes: a dangerous weapon, anything made/adapted for offensive purposes, anything intended to be used for offensive or threatening purposes or anything capable of causing harm.
Maximum penalty is increased to 20 years imprisonment.
2.    Robbery whilst armed with a dangerous weapon [Section 97(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)] –
Dangerous weapon includes: a firearm, or imitation firearm, a prohibited firearm, or a spear gun.
Maximum penalty is increased to 25 years imprisonment.
3.     Robbery with wounding. [Section 96 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)]-
Wounds- A break of the interior layer of skin
Grievous bodily harm- Serious injury but needn’t be permanent or life threatening.
Maximum penalty is increased to 25 years imprisonment.

MALE JURORS don’t like FAT PEOPLE

More “good” news from the land of statistics, science and other research as to apparent psychology with the revelation that appearances count. Well, to a certain extent: male jurors aren’t fond of obese female defendants. 

An article in this mornings SMH online reports that a study has revealed that men were more harshly disposed to obese women than they were to obese men and are more likely to convict a female defendant if they are overweight:

“Researchers at the Yale Rudd Centre for Food Policy and Obesity asked 471 people to participate in a mock trial.

Each participant was given an image of either an obese male, a lean male, an obese female or a lean female and asked to rate the guilt of that defendant.

Male participants judged the obese female significantly more guilty than the lean one, but female participants judged them equally.

There was no difference in either gender’s assessment of the men’s guilt, regardless of bodyweight.

”The results … indicate that bodyweight and sex of a defendant have an interactive effect on juror perceptions of guilt and responsibility,” the authors wrote of their findings, published in the International Journal of Obesity.

”Male respondents endorsed greater anti-fat bias than female respondents. In addition, female participants were more likely than male participants to attribute obesity to biological and environmental causes as opposed to personal shortcomings.”

[…]

Jane Goodman-Delahunty, who specialises in psychology and law at Charles Sturt University, said the study corroborated research that found the appearance of defendants, including whether they were baby-faced or attractive, influenced jurors’ perceptions of their guilt.”

Which all adds up to very good news for all the beautiful people guilty people.

Full story here.

Picture Credit: Australian Men’s Health Online.

Affray Offence Information

Affray

[Section 93C of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)]
Maximum penalty: 10 years imprisonment (2 years if dealt with in the Local Court)
Offence: The threat or use of violence towards another individual resulting person of reasonable
firmness present at the scene to fear for his or her safety. This offence is generally Heard by
Magistrate in the local court, but can be elected by the prosecution or accused for hearing in the
district court.
DefencesPossible defence to this charge is self-defence. In order to raise self defence the
following must be established:
-That the accused believed that their conduct was necessary to defend himself, herself or another.
-What the accused did was a reasonable response in the circumstances as the accused perceived
them.

Sentences: For sentencing consideration is given to the conduct and level of violence used. Other 
considerations include remorse, criminal record, and other such as health issues and employment.
More common and alternative sentences to goal include a good behaviour bond or community
service.

LAW NOT BLACK AND WHITE – it’s fifty shades of grey.

The law is not black or white. It’s fifty shades of grey.

Safe words are the new black, or red, or whatever. Always use a safe word, is the lesson of the day…

A fellow who whipped a woman during a Fifty Shades of Grey – inspired sexual encounter was charged with assault but found not guilty by a jury of 10 men and two women.

According to reports, “the woman, who he met on a dating website, had been inspired by the EL James best-seller and started taking part in threesomes and bondage sessions.

Mr Lock said the pair had discussed acting out a master/slave sex fantasy for months before it happened on August 6 last year.

Mr Lock said they agreed to use the code word ‘red’ if either of them wanted to stop the role-play but, he says, the woman never mentioned the word.

She claims he put a rope around her neck, padlocked her wrists and made her bend over on the bed where he whipped her 14 times, cause 14 centimetre bruises on her backside.

After the whipping Mr Lock had sex with the woman and left her tied up while he used his computer.

The woman was able to send a text and a picture of herself tied up to a friend asking him to call the police because she had been ‘chained up and whipped like a dog’.

Mr Lock eventually released her and told her to leave which is when police turned up at his residence and noticed the woman in the street in a distressed state.

Asked by defence counsel Roger Thomson if Mr Lock and the victim had read Fifty Shades of Grey, Mr Lock replied: “That’s where we got the idea from.””

Outside of court, the fellow (who is a jeweller apparently) said that he was relieved at the verdict and that the jury “had seen sense”.

He said: “It’s the right verdict. This case should never have reached court. As far as I’m concerned, it was a consensual activity between adults.”

The court heard the couple took part in group sex and bondage together and the woman had the words “Property of Steven Lock“ tattooed around her genitals.


Full story here and here.

Where did it all happened? Britain. Of course.

Is this the Road Ahead for Wollongong Law?

Despite a recent report in the Illawarra Mercury raising criticism of the faculty of law at Wollongong University, it appears that the Dean of Law has some level of support for planned changes to render the faculty a shadow of its former glory – from some leading figures in Wollongong’s legal profession.

I should note, in fairness, that the Dean has offered to speak with me personally to discuss my concerns. I did e-mail him, but I understand that my concerns are not shared by him at least.
The below message has been sent to me from a former alumni of the faculty who received it (I did not). The message is apparently from the relatively recently appointed Dean who seems to be making quite a splash by either coming up with or inheriting these plans and implementing them with no small amount of earnestness. 
The message continues the sentiments previously expressed in comments to the media by the university (namely that the PLT has been for some time a financial drain on the university). However, it contains no figures, nor details, but a suggestion that the local law society president David Potts and other key local figures are supportive of the faculty into the future. In my opinion it demonstrates a clear philosophy of the University of Wollongong – if you want to be professionally qualified in law, well you can do some of that there, but for the complete package – go somewhere else.  Clearly the faculty intends to abandon one of its key points of distinction for the law faculty among most of its statewide peers.
It’s worth noting, amid the financial pressure (of indeterminate nature) that the faculty has apparently been under because of PLT, the faculty has maintained no less than three postgraduate centres (including the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) and the Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention and Legal Intersections Research). 
It has also been running something of a masters program in prosecution work (?). Not sure what the position will be on postgraduate studies in the future, but one would think qualifying to practice law would be an essential service before indulgence in other areas. Of course, with the below message, you might think the current policy is based on the view that given so few graduates choose to enter the profession through the Wollongong Law School that perhaps it’s not important to provide that pathway to success for future graduates – or at least not in the same way as previously.
One question arises from the statements of the Dean is this: how long has the PLT course at Wollongong been such a financial burden to the university that it has detracted from the undergraduate LLB course to the extent that it now needs to be strengthened in the way described below?
By the way, the new “Executive Dean” of the mega merged faculty (to be named  Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts”” is (up until the merger, I guess) the Dean of Creative Arts at Wollongong.
Here is the message:
“It was announced recently that the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (the Professional Legal Training course) will have its last intake in Autumn session 2013. Our PLT course has always been highly valued. However, for many years the course has been operating at a significant deficit. After examination of various potential options it became clear that we are unable to deliver this high quality course without continuing to incur significant financial loss.

The decision to end the UOW PLT course was not made lightly and had been under consideration for several years. The financial challenges facing the course have increased over the last 5 years to the point where the deficit could no longer be sustained by other programs. The vast majority of Australian Law Schools do not offer PLT courses but those that do face similar challenges as the PLT market has become increasingly competitive. Most recently, the University of Western Sydney closed its PLT course (the College of Law now offers a PLT course at UWS).

Fewer than half of our graduates undertake their PLT at UOW. Some graduates choose not to seek admission as lawyers and therefore do not undertake PLT. Others undertake PLT courses with alternate providers that better suit their circumstances or meet employer requirements.

UOW is confident that the decision to end the PLT course is the most prudent course of action. Our graduates will still be able to seek admission as lawyers through completion of PLT with other providers such as the College of Law and ANU Legal Workshop which offer PLT courses in a range of formats. A number of larger law firms also provide “in house” PLT courses for their trainee lawyers.

Our focus on students and teaching quality remains paramount. We will now be better able to strengthen our primary course – the LLB. We have announced the appointment in mid-2013 of a Director of Clinical Legal Education to lead the reinvigoration of the distinctive practical experience-based components of the UOW law degree. We look forward to continued engagement with alumni and the local profession. I recently met with Mr David Potts (President of the Wollongong and District Law Society) and discussed with him our plans to enhance the skills training and practice-based learning components of the LLB. David kindly offered on behalf of the Society continued and further support for UOW Law which is greatly appreciated. I have also been delighted to receive similar pledges of support from other members of the local legal profession, including from Mr Craig Osborne and Mr Michael McGrath of RMB Lawyers.

You may also be aware that UOW is currently undergoing restructuring in line with its new strategic plan which aims to position UOW in the top 1% of universities in the world (we are currently positioned in the top 2%). The restructure includes a refreshed approach to research (focusing on addressing global challenges) and new Faculty arrangements. UOW will change to a 5-Faculty structure. The Faculty of Law will join with the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Creative Arts with the new name “Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts”. Our current Faculty of Law will become the School of Law within the new larger Faculty. It will continue to have a Dean and will continue to remain a strong and cohesive unit. Professor Amanda Lawson has been appointed Executive Dean of the Faculty.

2013 and 2014 will be important years as this transition takes shape. I am confident that the new arrangements will strengthen UOW Law.

Sincerely
Professor Warwick Gullett
Dean of Faculty of Law
The University of Wollongong”

This blog post is the personal opinion of Aaron Kernaghan.