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Archive for July, 2011

85 year old  woman raped in toilet

‘for a thrill’

Mex Cooper

July 29, 2011 – 11:04AM

'Spine chilling' ... Allan Richard Hodson captured on CCTV after the attack.‘Spine chilling’ … Allan Richard Hodson captured on CCTV after the attack. 

A judge has described the rape of an 85-year-old woman at Southern Cross railway station as “uniquely ferocious”.

Allan Richard Hodson, 65, pleaded guilty in the County Court today to an attack on the woman in a public toilet on January 27.

Judge Duncan Allen said that Hodson’s account of the rape to police had been “truly spine chilling”.

The County Court heard the white-haired Bairnsdale pensioner had sexually propositioned a younger woman at Flinders Street railway station before the assault but when he was rebuffed had gone to Southern Cross and planned the attack.

Judge Allen said Hodson then chose an older vulnerable victim and “violently, in horrific circumstances, in a terrifying way” assaulted her.

Hodson initially told police he was “too bloody old to be violent” especially to an old woman and wasn’t interested in sex because he couldn’t get an erection.

But he later confessed, telling police he though: “Well here’s a good opportunity, I suppose, to have a bit of a cheap thrill.”

“You’re masterful, you’re the hunter, you know what I mean?” he said in a police interview.

Hodson pleaded guilty to rape, recklessly causing serious injury and threatening to inflict serious injury.

The pre-sentence hearing heard the victim was repeatedly struck during the assault and had $20 stolen from her purse.

Following the rape, Hodson told her he knew where she lived, and he would “come back and cut you” if she spoke about the attack.

Hodson, a father of four, gave his wife his jewellery to clean after seeing images of himself on the internet as police hunted for the woman’s attacker.

But the court heard, despite his rings being cleaned, one had revealed DNA that linked him to the crime.

Prosecutor Chris Ryan, SC, said Hodson should be jailed for up to 10 years and serve a minimum of six to eight years for the crime committed in a public place in broad daylight.

Dermot Dann, for Hodson, said his client had no way to explain his “despicable” behaviour for which he was deeply ashamed.

He said Hodson had a history of psychiatric illness and alcohol abuse, and had suffered post traumatic stress disorder after being involved in a road accident in which a woman died in the late 1990s.

Hodson had travelled to Melbourne on the day to see his psychiatrist and had drunk beer before the trip.

The court heard Hodson’s wife of more than 40 years had left him since the attack, and his three sons and one daughter had disowned him.

The pensioner sat in the dock with his head bowed during most of the hearing. He was wearing a brown leather jacket, black shirt and black pants.

Judge Allen said it appeared Hodson had purposefully gone to Southern Cross with a plan to assault someone and had chosen a particularly frail victim.

“It’s hard to imagine many rapes of this type…raping a stranger in a public place, that could be a lot worse than this,” Judge Allen said.

“It’s a horrific example of rape.”

The court heard Hodson had no relevant prior convictions, had pleaded guilty early and any lengthy jail term would represent a significant portion of his remaining life.

He will be sentenced on August 8.


Samaritan shot while feeding

homeless loses fight for life

July 29, 2011 – 1:27PM

The man shot while on his nightly mission with his family to feed the homeless has died from his wounds, police say.

Paris Powell, 29, was removed from life support late on Wednesday after the attack in the Californian suburb of Oakland.

He was shot in the head during a drive-by shooting early as he and his pregnant 35-year-old wife and her three- and seven-year-old daughters were serving a hot meal to a 61-year-old former homeless man they had befriended more than a year ago.

His wife and the three-year-old suffered arm wounds. The other child and the older man were not hurt. No arrests have been made, and police still do not have a motive.

Distributing food to the homeless was something Powell, known as “Brother John”, and his wife had been doing for a while.

His aunt, who asked that her name not be used, said her nephew, who she helped raise and saw before he died, was doing volunteer work instilled in him since he was a little boy.

“This is just tragic,” the aunt said. “He didn’t bother anyone. He was doing the right thing and to be taken out like that, it’s not right. No one has the right to take another person’s life.”

She said Powell, who met his wife about three years ago, was looking forward to the birth of his child.

He worked construction jobs and as a hauler, and they used their own funds and got donations to buy the food they cooked for the homeless and others.

MCT


MAN SHOT IN THE FACE IN HOME INVASION

A man has remarkably survived and is talking to police after being woken from his sleep and being shot twice in the face during a violent home invasion in the south-west WA town of Busselton.

Sergeant Gerry Cassidy said an intruder brandishing what is believed to be a shotgun burst into the 33-year-old victim’s Hughes Close home in West Busselton about 3am today.

In what police believe was a targeted attack, the intruder entered through the back door and headed straight for the man’s bedroom.

Forensic police were at the house on Hughes Street to investigate.Forensic police were at the house on Hughes Close to investigate.

He then opened fire with several shots, with two striking the man’s face and one entering his body.

The man’s partner was in bed with him at the time and two children, aged three and four, were in the next bedroom.

Sergeant Cassidy said the she tackled the gunman after the first shot, but he managed to fire two more shots at the victim before fleeing the scene.

An ambulance was called to the address and the paramedics reported the incident to police.

Sergeant Cassidy said the man was walking and talking when police arrived, despite sustaining facial injuries and a leg wound in the attack.

He was taken to Royal Perth Hospital after initially being brought Busselton Hospital and his injuries were described as not life-threatening.

Detective Senior Sergeant Jon Munday said the town was shaken by the crime.

“Any home invasion is horrific but this one is particularly disturbing, for the fact that a firearm was firstly taken along and then discharged,” he said.

“We don’t know what the motive behind it was, we are still investigating that at the moment, but it is particularly disturbing for a town in the South-West for something like that to happen.

“That’s not something that is generally heard of in country areas.”

Detective Munday said up to 12 officers were now hunting the intruder.

“It is very unusual and as such we are treating it extremely seriously,” he said. “We have got a lot of resources tied up in it and hopefully we get a better picture as to what’s going on throughout the day.”

He said forensic detectives were at the scene and anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Woman smuggled tablets into jail

BY LOUIS ANDREW, COURT REPORTER
04 Jul, 2011 06:56 AM
A magistrate has warned that penalties facing people who try to smuggle drugs into Canberras prison aren’t strong enough to deter would-be offenders.Magistrate Peter Dingwall made the comments on Friday when sentencing a woman who stashed a banned prescription drug in her bra and tried to sneak it past jail security. 

Naomi Catherine Pegg pleaded guilty to taking a prohibited item into a correctional facility, as well as possessing a drug of dependence, and an unrelated trespassing offence.

The 34-year-old was convicted and fined $750 on the smuggling charge, which carried a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $1100 under the territory’s Corrections Management Act.

Mr Dingwall said it was a surprisingly low penalty and questioned whether the punishment was adequate as a general deterrent.

Pegg arrived at the Alexander Maconochie Centre on the afternoon of March 24, intending to visit an inmate.

Two corrective services officers stopped her as she was entering the visitors centre after sniffer dogs picked up the scent of contraband, according to a statement of facts.

The Florey woman admitted to the officers she was carrying four tablets of buprenorphine in a balloon stashed inside her bra.

Buprenorphine is a prescription medication used to treat heroin addiction which has also found its way into the drugs black market.

Territory law lists it as a controlled substance.

Pegg said she was intending to give the tablets to a prisoner, and was subsequently detained by staff until police arrived.

Mr Dingwall noted inmates often pressured people into trying to smuggle drugs into prison.

Pegg was given 12 months to pay the fine and court costs.

More charges expected

in banknote bribery investigation

BY RICHARD BAKER AND NICK MCKENZIE
04 Jul, 2011 06:41 AM

Australian trade officials met a colonel from a Vietnamese spy agency 18 times before suggesting to a Reserve Bank currency firm that it hire him as an agent in an arrangement that is now expected to lead to more corruption charges as part of the nation’s biggest bribery probe.

Fairfax reports that the Australian Federal Police investigated an Austrade commissioner after uncovering information about their role in helping banknote firm Securency International provide overseas travel for Vietnamese officials.

The revelation of Austrade’s intimate role in Securency’s allegedly corrupt Vietnam dealings comes just hours after German police swooped on a former senior sales executive from Note Printing Australia, the second RBA banknote company accused of bribing overseas officials.

The weekend arrest of Christian Boilott over his alleged role in a conspiracy to bribe overseas officials while working for NPA came just before his yacht was to sail in a European contest in Boltenhagen, in Germany.

Boilott, whom Australia authorities will seek to extradite, is the ninth man to be charged across the globe for their alleged role in the Reserve Bank banknote firms bribery scandal, with six Victorians and two Malaysians arrested on Friday.

The Vietnamese colonel also suspected of playing a key role in a bribery scheme allegedly driven by Reserve Bank companies, Securency and NPA, is yet to be questioned by Vietnamese authorities, who have so far declined to assist Australia in the global inquiry.

Former Australian diplomatic and trade officials have privately confirmed that Securency’s agent Anh Ngoc Luong’s status as a colonel in Vietnam’s spy agency, the Ministry of Public Security, was well known to the Australian embassy in Hanoi when Austrade suggested Securency appoint him and his company, CFTD, as its agent in 2002.

Information issued by Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs to Liberal senator Russell Trood show that Australian officials in Hanoi met or spoke to Colonel Luong 18 times between 1999 and 2001.

It is illegal for an Australian company to hire a foreign official as its paid agent, and Colonel Luong’s appointment is suspected to have begun one of the highest paying bribery arrangements that Securency set up across the globe, paying the colonel up to $20 million, much of it in suspected bribes.

In return, he helped Securency win a massive contract to turn Vietnam’s banknotes from paper to plastic.

Australian embassy staff in Hanoi continued to have close dealings, including intimate dinners, with Colonel Luong even after an Austrade commissioner formally warned the Australian Government and the RBA in 2007 and 2008 that he was a high-ranking Ministry of Public Security officer. The Ministry of Public Security is Vietnam’s internal security and counter espionage agency.

This information was also made available to the Securency board at that time. The board did not ask Securency management to end its arrangement with Colonel Luong.

The Austrade commissioner investigated by the AFP over Securency’s Vietnam dealings is understood to have helped arrange visas for Vietnamese officials to enter the US on a Securency-funded holiday.

The Austrade official has not been charged. Other Austrade officials have given statements to the AFP.

The revelation of Austrade’s intimate involvement with Securency’s Vietnam affairs is likely to increase pressure on the Gillard Government to agree with a push by Greens leader Bob Brown for a parliamentary inquiry into the roles of the trade agency and the RBA in the bribery scandal.

A senior federal government official has said that if an inquiry was held into Austrade’s relationship with Securency and Note Printing Australia ”it would emerge that the Australian Government has sanctioned and engaged in corruption”.

A high-ranking Austrade manager has told Fairfax that ”in the case of Securency … there is no doubt as to Austrade’s complicity as the agency not only made the introductions to CFTD but advised on how to deal with them”.

The RBA owns half of Securency and all of NPA.

During the period of the bribery offences, both companies were chaired by former deputy RBA governor Graeme Thompson and had RBA officials as directors.

In Vietnam, Securency has been charged with bribing the former Vietnamese central bank governor, Le Duc Thuy, by providing a scholarship for his son to study at an exclusive English university.

Mr Thuy remains a senior figure in the Vietnamese Government and chairs the National Committee for Financial Supervision.

Colonel Luong is believed to have used some of the commissions paid to him and CFTD by Securency to fund the education of Mr Thuy’s son. Bribery in Vietnam carries the death penalty.

Austrade deemed the partnership between Securency and Colonel Luong’s CFTD firm to be so successful that it presented them with a special export award in 2004.

In November 1999, Colonel Luong was invited to Australia as part of an Austrade seminar on the Vietnam market.

In August 2008, he was part of an Australia-Vietnam Joint Trade and Economic Cooperation Committee delegation months after Austrade’s commissioner in Vietnam warned of his links to the Ministry of Public Security.

Colonel Luong also attended several lunches and dinners hosted by the Australian embassy.

The AFP’s investigation into Securency and NPA remains ongoing and further charges against other former executives are expected.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office is investigating Securency’s contracts in Nigeria, which involved nearly $20 million in payments to agents and offshore bank accounts.

Austrade declined to comment, citing the ongoing police investigation.

Stolen property from

‘floor to ceiling’

BY HENRIETTA COOK
04 Jul, 2011 05:01 PM
Police will spend days cataloguing what is believed to be one of the largest seizures of stolen property in the Australian Capital Territory
The stolen property was discovered this morning at 11.30 am following a search warrant on a house in south Canberra. 

Criminal Investigations members were surprised to find every room of the house filled with stolen items, with many of the rooms clogged from floor to ceiling with CDs, DVDs, clothing, stationery, computer hard drives and software.

Sergeant John Giles said he had never located such a large quantity of stolen property.

“The amount of property involved makes the mind boggle; and I envisage that we will be cataloguing property for many days to come,” he said in a statement.

Police are in the process of determining the exact value of the stolen property.

Sergeant Giles said he estimated the stolen property to be worth more than $800,000.

It is believed the items were shoplifted from stores across Canberra over a number of years.

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