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Archive for May, 2011

Not guilty pleas in Mr Ward

prison van death

May 30, 2011 – 12:19PM

Two security-firm employees have pleaded not guilty to failing to prevent the heat-stroke death of an Aboriginal elder in the back of a prison van in the Goldfields.

Mr Ward, 46, who cannot be fully named for cultural reasons, died in the back of the un-air-conditioned van while being transferred from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in January 2008 to face a drink-driving charge.

The two van drivers, Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell, were charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act with failing to take reasonable care to avoid affecting the safety or health of a person in custody.

In the Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court today, both pleaded not guilty and their cases were adjourned until August 29.

The maximum penalty if they are found guilty of the charges is a $20,000 fine.

The private security contractor G4S, which employed the pair, has previously pleaded guilty under the OHS Act to failing to ensure the health and safety of Mr Ward.

The company is waiting to be sentenced and faces a maximum penalty of $400,000.

WA’s Department of Corrective Services, which had control of the van, has also pleaded guilty of failing to ensure non-employees were not exposed to hazards and also faces a maximum $400,000 fine.

The department has taken steps to prevent a repeat of the incident, including flying people from remote regions to court and taking delivery of 40 improved prisoner transport vehicles.

An inquest completed in May 2009 by WA Coroner Alastair Hope concluded that all parties involved contributed to Mr Ward’s death.

But in June 2010, WA’s director of public prosecutions ruled out criminal charges, finding a prima facie case did not exist.

The following month, WorkSafe WA decided to investigate to determine whether the OHS Act had been breached and subsequently laid charges.

In July 2010, Mr Ward’s widow and her four children received $3.2 million in an ex-gratia payment from the state government.

G4S has not had its contract to provide a prisoner transport service renewed by the government.

AAP  

Doctor faces court

over emergency room sex attack

Aja Styles

May 30, 2011 – 4:04PM

A 20-year-old woman has given a graphic account of a sexual attack, allegedly at the hands of a doctor, during a medical examination in the Royal Perth Hospital emergency department in February last year.

RPH endocrinologist Suhail Ahmad Khan Durani, 35, denies twice sexually penetrating the woman with his fingers and fondling her breasts on three occasions on February 20 while she was being treated for a diabetic illness.

He faces a judge-only trial in the Perth District Court before Judge Allan Fenbury.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, broke down in tears as she testified how the doctor had not worn gloves as he put his fingers inside her on two separate occasions.

“When he first put his hand down there he said ‘I like it shaved’ … in reference to my pubic hair, because I was shaved,” she told the court.

“I just felt really shocked when he said that.”

She told the court she did not react immediately because he had told her he wanted to examine whether she had an infection in her reproductive system stemming from her Type 1 diabetes.

When questioned by state prosecutor Paul Yovich whether doctors had ever examined her in that way she said no, despite having been to hospital numerous times for her diabetes.

She told the court how he had earlier cupped her breast and tweaked her nipples in a scissor-like action while using a stethoscope to check her breathing.

“I did not take any notice because he was like an authority figure and I had my trust in him,” she told the court.

The woman had been a diabetic since she was nine years old and on that day had suffered diabetic ketoacidosis, a severe sickness brought on when her blood-sugar levels got too high.

She told the court she was taken to hospital by her parents after she began vomiting that morning. She had been out the previous night at a fancy-dress party and alcohol and a cannabis-related drug, THC, was found in her system.

She told a different doctor that she smoked cannabis daily and had suffered from depression and asthma.

She testified that despite her poor health, she was alert and aware of her surroundings and could identify the doctor who had allegedly sexually assaulted her.

Mr Yovich told judge Fenbury that after the assault nurses found her “visibly distressed and crying”.

Defence lawyer George Papamihail questioned the woman’s credibility in his opening address, labelling her a drug user who did not take care of herself or her diabetes treatment.

Mr Papamihail said the woman ”has a need to be felt sorry for”.

The trial before Judge Allan Fenbury continues.

– with AAP 

Afghan police chief killed

in Taliban blast

May 29, 2011 – 8:37AM

The police commander for northern Afghanistan and two German soldiers were among six people killed in a suicide bombing at a provincial governor’s office, officials said.

The attacker struck shortly after a meeting at the office regarding security in Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province, had finished. The Taliban claimed responsibility in what was its latest example of high-profile target selection.

The police chief, General Mohammed Daoud Daoud, was a key figure in Afghanistan’s recent history. A former military commander of Ahmad Shah Massoud’s Northern Alliance, he oversaw the siege of Kunduz, the final major battle of the US-led invasion that followed the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Afghan security officers stand at the site where a suicide bomber blew himself up inside the provincial governor's compound in Taloqan, north of Kabul.
Afghan security officers stand at the site where a suicide bomber blew himself up inside the provincial governor’s compound in Taloqan, north of Kabul. Photo: AP

 

A former deputy interior minister, when he was the top counter-narcotics official in Afghanistan, Daoud had accused the Taliban of profiting from the opium trade by forging an alliance with drug smugglers and taxing farmers.

He also served at one point as governor of Takhar, reportedly at the request of the British, who considered him the country’s cleanest governor.

The commander of NATO forces for northern Afghanistan, German general Markus Kneip, survived the attack, suffering slight injuries, German defence minister Thomas de Maiziere, who confirmed the two fatalities, said in Berlin.

Three other German troops were wounded, he said.

A provincial government spokesman said four Afghans, including General Daoud, were killed and that the governor, Abdul Jabar Taqwa, was wounded.

Qutbuddin Kamal, a senior aide to the governor, confirmed that Daoud had been killed. “At the end of the meeting, when we wanted to leave, a suicide bomber waiting in the corridor blew himself up,” he said.

According to a spokesman for the interior ministry, 12 people were wounded.

A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force confirmed that it had troops among the victims, while not specifying their nationality or whether they had been killed or injured.

“The chief of the northern regional command was inside the building and survived the attack,” the spokesman said, referring to Kneip.

Daoud was appointed chief of police for northern Afghanistan last year.

Earlier, he had been part of the Afghan mujahideen fighting against occupying Soviet troops.

The Taliban has been fighting an insurgency against the government in Kabul and its Western allies since it was ousted from power a decade ago.

“One of our mujahideen carried out the attack inside the Takhar governor’s complex during a meeting about security,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said.

“Most (of the participants) were killed, including General Daoud Daoud, who was chairing the meeting, the chief of police (for Takhar province)” and German and American soldiers, he said.

Takhar is normally a relatively quiet part of the insurgency-racked country, although earlier this month 12 people were killed in Taloqan when police opened fire on 2000 demonstrators protesting against a NATO raid.

Neighbouring Kunduz province has become a Taliban bastion in recent years, and has seen an increase in the frequency of insurgent assaults.

Daoud’s killing comes two months before international troops are due to start handing over control of security to local forces and withdraw from the country, a process due to be completed by 2014.

The past week has seen a series of similar suicide attacks or bombings. Eight US soldiers were killed on Thursday in two successive blasts in the southern city of Kandahar, the spiritual hub of the Taliban, in one of the worst such incidents in months.

This month’s killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US troops in Pakistan has led to calls for the process of handing control to Afghan forces to be speeded up.

AFP   

Phone app tells tales on murderer

SEOUL | Thu May 26, 2011 8:55am EDT

(Reuters) – It began with a simple phrase — “brace yourself” — sent by a university professor to his mistress via a South Korean messaging service app used by millions every day.

But now the message has become key evidence in a murder investigation, with the professor arrested for killing his wife and his mistress sought as an accomplice, police said.

The professor, whose full name was not given, went to the head office of the “Kakao Talk” messenger service provider after the murder and asked them to delete the message. But the message was saved for a month and police were able to retrieve it as part of an investigation of his phone records.

Eventually the professor confessed to strangling his wife, using his mistress’s car to transport the body, and dumping it into the sea. He and his wife were in the process of getting a divorce.

“The message helped us discover that the woman was his accomplice,” a spokesman at a police station in the southern city of Busan said. A warrant has been issued for her arrest.

“Kakao Talk” is a relatively new free smartphone app with over 14 million users that allows them to send messages, chat, take part in group chats, and send photos.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park, editing by Elaine Lies)

FBI says “mullet bandit”

holds up another bank

(Reuters) – The Ohio bank robber dubbed the “mullet bandit” by federal authorities appears to have struck again.

The latest heist took place on Wednesday morning at a Key Bank branch on Stringtown Road in Grove City, Ohio.

The FBI said a man matching the physical description of the mullet-wearing suspect sought in two previous holdups walked into the bank and handed a teller a note, saying he was robbing the bank, had a gun, and would hurt the teller if she did not cooperate.

The robber was dressed in the mullet bandit’s garb, including Seattle Mariners baseball cap and large dark sunglasses.

Initial surveillance photos suggested he had shed his distinctive hairdo to evade detection, swapping out his mullet — a style popular in the 1980s that is short on the top, tight on the sides and long in the back — for something more up to date.

But subsequent images revealed the suspect had merely tucked his mullet up underneath his baseball cap.

“Tricky guy,” said Harry Trombitas, the FBI agent tracking him.

The suspect is described as a white male, in his late 30’s, about 6 feet tall, with a medium build, a scruffy appearance and dark hair cut in a mullet.

He is wanted in connection with the two previous bank robberies in Columbus on May 18 and May 5.

BOSNIAN SERB GENERAL RATKO MLADIC UNDER ARREST

By Aleksandar Vasovic

BELGRADE | Fri May 27, 2011 6:18pm EDT

(Reuters) – Ratko Mladic is fit enough to face genocide charges in The Hague, a Belgrade court ruled on Friday, after the Bosnian Serb wartime general’s son said he appeared too frail after more than 15 years on the run.

The court said Mladic, arrested Thursday in a Serbian village, had until Monday to appeal against extradition to the international criminal court to be tried over a massacre in Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo during Bosnia’s 1992-5 war.

European officials hailed his capture, at a farmhouse belonging to his cousin, as a milestone on Serbia’s path toward the European Union and said they expected his extradition within 10 days.

His son, speaking after what he said was his first meeting with his father in years, said he was too ill.

“We are almost certain he cannot be extradited in such condition,” said Darko Mladic. “He is in very bad shape. His right arm is half paralyzed. His right side is partly numb.” Perhaps because of an alleged stroke he was said to have had.

The once burly and aggressive Mladic, 69, moved slowly and with a slight limp when he appeared before an investigative judge at the special war crimes court in Belgrade Thursday.

Mladic’s lawyer later told waiting reporters the court had halted the questioning because his client was “in a serious condition. He is hardly responsive.” An official described him as looking disoriented, tired & sickly.

“Dead man arrested,” ran several Serbian newspaper headlines Friday, with a picture showing a pale and wizened Mladic, the last of the three men accused of instigating ethnic cleansing during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia to be held accountable.

Officials say Mladic has high blood pressure, heart disease and a kidney stone and his son said he had suffered strokes which had left two scars on his brain, although he said his father recognized the family and knew he was in detention.

Judge Maja Kovacevic said the medical team had determined that he was fit for further proceedings. “Mladic’s lawyer was delivered the extradition papers and he has until Monday to appeal that decision,” she said.

NO RESISTANCE

Mladic’s lawyer Milos Saljic said he would appeal against the extradition Monday and insisted that Mladic could not be handed over to The Hague until his health was stable enough to make such a trip.

“He must be provided with adequate treatment before the extradition,” he told reporters.

Rasim Ljajic, the Serbian minister in charge of the search for fugitive war criminals, said Mladic, often quoted declaring, “The Hague will not see me alive!” had not resisted arrest.

“Mladic had two loaded guns he did not use,” Ljajic said.

“Mladic was dressed in several layers of clothes, he was hardly recognizable, he was not attracting attention. He looked pale as if he hadn’t left confined spaces for a very long time,” he said on Serbian television.

The deputy war crimes prosecutor said the court would continue to question the general, accused of orchestrating the brutal 43-month siege of the Bosnian capital and the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica in 1995.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she expected Mladic to be extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague within nine or 10 days.

Mladic, whose Bosnian Serb Army was armed and funded by the late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, is still seen as a hero by many Serbs. Milosevic died in 2006 while standing trial in The Hague for war crimes.

Nationalists in Serbia, which was under international sanctions over the war in Bosnia and then bombed by NATO to stop atrocities in Kosovo in 1999, condemned the arrest as a blow to national interests.

MASSACRE

Several dozen rallied in Belgrade to protest, clashing briefly with police who dispersed them from the main square and the authorities increased security in certain areas of the country, including around foreign embassies.

The arrest may have come too late to place Mladic jointly on trial alongside former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic, the Yugoslavia tribunal’s prosecution office said, since doing so would delay the Karadzic trial.

Mladic was indicted in 1995 together with Karadzic, who was arrested in July 2008 and went on trial in October 2009.

“Dr. Karadzic is sorry for General Mladic’s loss of freedom. He looks forward to working with him to bring out the truth about what happened in Bosnia,” Peter Robinson, one of Karadzic’s legal advisers, told Reuters by email.

Russia, which vehemently opposed the 1999 NATO bombing of Milosevic’s Serbia and has accused the West in the past of bias against Bosnian Serbs, called for a fair trial for Mladic.

“We are counting on the upcoming judicial process to be fair and unprejudiced and not to be used with the aim of artificially dragging out the activity of the (ICTY),” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The tribunal is scheduled to close down in 2014.

Bosnian Muslim survivors expressed mixed feelings.

“This represents a small bit of justice for my heart, my soul and my pain,” said Sabaheta Fejzic, 55, who lost her only son, her husband and many other male relatives in the massacre.

“It’s long overdue but better than never. This is, in the end, a good move and it will work toward reconciliation,” Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj said.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, whose administration brokered the deal that ended the Bosnian war, said: “The capture of Ratko Mladic enables the Bosnian people to close another chapter of one of the most terrifying conflicts of our time.

“As the military commander who systematically carried out brutal atrocities and mass murder, Mladic will finally be held accountable — to Bosnia and the world,” Clinton said.

The World’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives
Nathan Vardi 04.25.08, 4:05 PM ET

pic
DEAD

The whole world is the playground of today’s criminal masterminds. The worst thieves and thugs have found the dark side of globalization, exploiting the same technologies that make the Earth seem small and ripe for legitimate international commerce and trade. They have unleashed an unprecedented crime wave that is truly borderless.

Less hierarchical, and operating as elusive networks, today’s criminal gangs are able to nimbly take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. They hack, steal, smuggle, launder and kill on a global scale, working with different partners and evading various law enforcement units and agencies. The most troubling convergence: the merging of international criminal activity with violent terrorism.

No surprise then that Osama Bin Laden tops Forbes.com’s first-ever list of the world’s 10 most wanted fugitives. The most wanted man in the world is believed to be hiding in Pakistan, perhaps in the Waziristan region. U.S. President George W. Bush has said Bin Laden is wanted dead or alive. But for six years, Bin Laden has been able to evade the largest manhunt in international history by sticking to the unruly tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Video: Criminals On The Run

Others on the list may not be as familiar. Among them: Joaquin Guzman. Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficker, Guzman has taken over the narcotics racket once dominated by Colombians like Pablo Escobar. Guzman, known as el Chapo, or shorty, heads the Sinaloa Cartel, specializing in importing cocaine from Colombia, and smuggling it into the U.S., often through elaborate tunnels. Ruthless and determined, Guzman has lorded over a bloody power struggle in Mexico over transport corridors to the U.S. that have left thousands dead.

Others on the list include Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, the face of the modern Russian mob; Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, India’s most wanted man, who heads D-Company, an organized crime group based in Mumbai; Félicien Kabuga, arguably the driving force behind the Rwanda genocides; and Matteo Messina Denaro, the Italian mafia’s playboy, with a taste for Porches and Rolex watches.

Various law enforcement agencies have their own most wanted lists that usually focus on crimes that took place in their local or national jurisdictions. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list, created in 1950, is the most famous of its kind. But given the current state of globalized crime, an international most wanted list makes more sense now than ever.

Forbes.com consulted with law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and around the world to identify these 10. With the exception of Osama Bin Laden, there is little consensus over who should be included on a list that is ultimately subjective in nature. But we tried to come up with basic ground rules.

Everyone on the list has been criminally indicted or charged, some in national jurisdictions and some by international tribunals. They all are accused of a long history of committing serious crimes and are considered a dangerous menace to the world. Each of the members on the list also represent a type of criminal problem that legal institutions are grappling with in diverse jurisdictions.

“What they all have in common is that whether their crimes have occurred principally at the national or international level, their crimes have been so significant that they should be pursued globally,” said Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble after taking a look at the Forbes.com list. “With regard to the world’s most wanted criminals, it is always easy to see the tremendous local impact that their crimes have had.”

Indeed, most of the Forbes.com top 10 most wanted fugitives in the world have been criminally indicted in U.S. courts and are wanted by the U.S. government, which has expended serious resources investigating and chasing them. Forbes will periodically review the list to determine whether a replacement is warranted and will scratch off those fugitives who are put out of action.

Government brings in law firm

to probe defence abuse

May 21, 2011 – 6:56AM

The government has commissioned a law firm to conduct an external review of allegations of sexual and other abuse of past and present defence force members, some dating back decades.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith said the review would be conducted by the law firm DLA Piper (formerly DLA Phillips Fox).

It will make an initial legal assessment of all complaints and allegations of abuse raised with the defence minister’s office, Defence Department or reported in the media since April 1.

Mr Smith said that would put the government in a position to make further decisions about how to deal with these matters.

“Current and former Defence personnel (including members of the Australian Defence Force) may make or refer allegations relating to sexual or other forms of abuse in Defence to the review until June 17,” he said in a statement.

The review is one of a series launched in response to allegations of misbehaviour at the Australian Defence Force Academy in which one cadet filmed himself having sex with a female cadet and streamed the imagery to fellow cadets in another room.

That prompted an outpouring of other claims of abuse and misconduct in the force.

Mr Smith called on community associations and media organisations notified of complaints or allegations to provide the review with details by June 17.

He said it was important that anyone wishing to provide confidential information should first contact the review team before submitting the information.

The review is being led by DLA Piper special counsel Dr Gary Rumble, assisted by former Commonwealth Ombudsman and DLA Piper special counsel Professor Dennis Pearce and by partner Melanie McKean.

DLA Piper can be contacted on             1800 424 991       or by email at gary.a.rumble@dlaphillipsfox.com or melanie.c.mckean@dlaphillipsfox.com.

Mr Smith said Defence had established support arrangements for those experiencing distress or who felt they need emotional support.

That’s available to current and former Defence force members and to public service personnel and their immediate families who raise or have raised allegations with the external review team.

AAP 

Afghan death charges thrown out

Dan Oakes and Rafael Epstein

May 20, 2011

A MILITARY judge has thrown out manslaughter charges against two Australian commandos facing trial over the killing of Afghan civilians.

At a pre-trial hearing in Sydney yesterday, Judge Advocate Brigadier Ian Westwood ruled the two army reservists did not have a duty of care to the civilians killed when Australian troops raided their compound in Oruzgan province in February 2009.

The two members of the elite 1st Commando Regiment, identified only as Sergeant J and Lance Corporal D, were charged after a months-long investigation into the incident, which resulted in the deaths of five children and one adult.

A court martial set for July 11 will now not proceed and the prosecution will have to decide whether to bring alternative charges against the two or seek a review in the Federal Court.

The decision is a huge blow for the Director of Military Prosecutions, Brigadier Lyn McDade, who has been strongly criticised in the Defence community for charging the men.

Some Defence sources said yesterday her reputation would be tarnished by the result. But others noted that the evidence against the soldiers had still not been made public. A supporter said: ”She has the balls to do her job. She made the decision she is paid to do.”

Defence barrister David McClure said his clients had not had an opportunity to cope properly with an event ”they did on behalf of all of us, and they deserve better treatment”.

University of Melbourne military law professor Tim McCormack, an adviser to the defence legal team, said the prosecutor made the mistake of trying to impose domestic criminal law on the battlefield.

In considering the case, Judge Advocate Westwood said there must be a duty of care in order to determine negligence, but found an “absence of plain words” in relation to a duty of care to non-combatants in the Defence Force Discipline Act.


Bus driver kissed schoolgirl

before sexually assaulting her:

police said

A Sydney bus driver repeatedly kissed a developmentally-delayed schoolgirl before indecently assaulting her while she was alone on a bus, police say.

The 13-year-old girl got on the bus outside a high school about 3pm last Thursday, police said.

She was the only passenger on the bus when the bus driver stopped, possibly on Minto Road, Minto, and approached the schoolgirl, police said.

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“He allegedly kissed her repeatedly before indecently assaulting her,’’ police said in a statement.

Police were told of the alleged assault on Monday and began their investigation, viewing CCTV footage from the bus company.

Officers arrested a 42-year-old man yesterday, where he was later charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault and is due to appear in Liverpool Local Court today.

The Herald contacted Interline Bus Services, which operates in Minto, but a spokeswoman would not confirm whether the man was one of its drivers.

“We’ve got no comment at this stage,” it was  said.


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