Australian criminals and their Crimes. Con artists, scum bags, murderers, corrupt cops, pollies, rapists and paedophiles will find themselves in this blog. It was expanded to also cover those that ought to be charged for their idiotic disgusting behaviour. Usually high-profile people who think they are above the law
Category: Disgusting Acts
Disgusting acts and behaviours that deserve highlighting and criminal punishment
The Fitzgerald Inquiry | Crime & Corruption QLD | 1989 – The Fitzgerald report was tabled in Parliament in July 1989. It made over 100 recommendations covering the establishment of the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission and the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) and reform of the Queensland Police Force. Download the report here: http://www.ccc.qld.gov.au/about-the-ccc/the-fitzgerald-inquiry
Beyond Bethany | 3 Mar 2008 – Twenty years on Chris Masters assesses the Joh Bjelke-Petersen legacy. Watch Online
The Moonlight State | 11 May 1987 – Chris Masters’ investigation into Queensland police corruption led to the Fitzgerald Inquiry, resulting in over 100 convictions and the police commissioner being jailed. Watch Online
“The Joke” was a system of protection involving illegal gambling, bookies, and brothels in QLD for more than a decade, probably decades
Updated June 12, 2017 14:19:00
It was Queensland, the year was 1987, and the State’s police force was riddled with corruption. The brotherhood of crooked cops who gave the green light to illegal gambling and prostitution believed they were untouchable.
“The level and systemic nature of it, reaching to all levels, including the highest political levels, was truly a shock to me.” Leading Criminal Investigator
There was a conspiracy of silence, from within the Queensland Government and all the way up to the highest levels of the force. The nature and the extent of the corruption sickened the honest cops, who operated in a world where they could trust no-one
Breaking the Brotherhood – Monday 12 June 2017
“‘Break his camera and break his mouth too!’ was the order.” Chris Masters, ‘The Moonlight State’ (1987)
It was Queensland, the year was 1987, and the State’s police force was riddled with corruption. The brotherhood of crooked cops who gave the green light to illegal gambling and prostitution believed they were untouchable.
“The level and systemic nature of it, reaching to all levels, including the highest political levels, was truly a shock to me.” Leading Criminal Investigator
There was a conspiracy of silence, from within the Queensland Government and all the way up to the highest levels of the force. The nature and the extent of the corruption sickened the honest cops, who operated in a world where they could trust no-one.
“There were times that I actually feared for my life and for the life of my family. It was clear to me that we had institutionalised corruption taking place.” Undercover Operative
A small band of brave crime fighters, and their families, took the enormous risk to trust a journalist with the State’s darkest secrets. The result was ‘The Moonlight State’, perhaps the most explosive true story ever told on Australian television.
“There is another side to the Sunshine State. Despite some wholesome attempts to pretend otherwise, the Queensland Government has not managed to stop the devil at the border. In the Sunshine State, sex is a great little earner.” Chris Masters, ‘The Moonlight State’ (1987)
Chris Masters’ landmark report prompted one of the most important anti-corruption investigations in Australian history, the Fitzgerald Inquiry, which led to the jailing of the Queensland Police Commissioner.
But the whole story of how the whistle was blown has never fully been told. Now the key players who put their trust in Chris Masters have come forward to tell their story, on camera, for the first time.
“I’m sitting there with my wife at home, because I knew when it was going to air, and I’m watching it. And I had this silly grin on my face, but it was also teary because we actually made it, we survived. The story got to air.” Whistleblower
“I believe that fate brought (us) together and that something had to be done.” Undercover Operative
The program also reveals the shocking lengths corrupt police went to, to try to silence the whistleblowers, and reporter Chris Masters.
“My son had been walking home from school and a car had pulled up beside him and told him that his father was going to be killed.” Undercover Police Officer
“Things got very scary, and a very powerful syndicate of organised criminals and corrupt police realised that they had an illicit empire to protect and they started to play nasty.” Chris Masters
Thirty years on from ‘The Moonlight State’, leading law enforcement figures warn that every police force today must remember the lessons of those dark days so they can never be repeated.
Breaking the Brotherhood, reported by Mark Willacy and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 12th June at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 13th June at 10.00am and Wednesday 14th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
First posted June 12, 2017 13:43:00
Moonlight State: The honest cop who helped blow the whistle on Australia’s most corrupt police force – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Moonlight State: The honest cop who helped blow the whistle on Australia’s most corrupt police force
To Mr Moore, babysitting a journalist was not part of his remit.
“I’ll be honest, I told [my assistant commissioner] I didn’t want to do the job,” he said.
But an order was an order.
It was 1987, and the AFP hierarchy had information that Masters was in danger.
He wasn’t at risk from the criminal underworld, but from the corrupt members of the Queensland police.
“It was made very clear that they were concerned for Chris’s safety,” said Mr Moore, speaking for the first time about the AFP’s secret role in protecting the Four Corners reporter.
“So we put the resources of the AFP, discreetly, behind keeping a lookout for Chris.”
‘We were being watched and shadowed’
Masters was getting too close to a brotherhood of bent cops and their network of graft and corruption, an arrangement known as “the Joke”.
What was the Joke?
The Joke was a vast system of graft and protection involving illegal gambling, starting price bookmakers, brothels and massage parlours that stretched back decades in Queensland.The dirty money flowed to the police, particularly to several senior members of the infamous Licensing Branch, who in exchange for regular cash payments turned a blind eye to vice.
In its later and most lucrative form, the Joke was administered by Jack Herbert, who, by the time it all came crashing down, was passing on nearly $60,000 a month in protection money to police.
Herbert was estimated to have received more than $3 million in payments.
In early 1987 The Courier-Mail ran a series of articles about unchallenged vice in Brisbane.
Then in May, The Moonlight State program was broadcast on Four Corners, revealing that police were being bribed to protect vice in Queensland.
The next day the acting premier Bill Gunn called a judicial inquiry.
The Fitzgerald Inquiry would run for two years and hear from more than 300 witnesses.
Evidence from the inquiry would lead to four government ministers and police commissioner Terry Lewis being jailed.
Other police would go to prison, while senior officers — including the assistant commissioner Graeme Parker — would give evidence in exchange for indemnity from prosecution.
The Fitzgerald Inquiry would also lead to the establishment of Queensland’s first anti-corruption body.
Stretching back several decades, the Joke was a system of protection payments that flowed from brothel owners, SP bookies and illegal gaming operators into the hands of corrupt police.
It was worth millions, and the Joke’s tentacles reached right to the top of the Queensland force.
In late 1986, early 1987, Masters had been sniffing around Brisbane’s red light district of Fortitude Valley for weeks talking to pimps, prostitutes and disgruntled police.
His inquiries were making the brotherhood nervous.
“We were being watched and shadowed,” Masters recalled.
“I didn’t really know that until Dave started to point out people who were surveilling me.”
Mr Moore says he first met Masters “up at the Tower Mill [Hotel]”.
“It became quite apparent to me that there was someone paying quite a lot of attention to Chris across the road,” he said.
“We later found out it was a hired vehicle which was being used by officers of the [Queensland] Police Force.”
As Masters got closer to cracking the Joke, the police brotherhood knew it had to destroy the Four Corners reporter before he destroyed them.
“They took him extremely seriously, to the point where they were on the brink of literally setting him up,” said Matthew Condon, the author of a three-book series on police corruption in Queensland.
“The plan was that they would plant an underage boy in Masters’ hotel room in the city and ultimately, whether they could prove it or not, the mud would have been thrown against Masters to discredit him.”
Masters would only be told of the plan to stitch him up many months later, after The Moonlight State had gone to air.
“I learnt of it through [former rugby league player] Tommy Raudonikis. He’d heard of it from a police mate and he then tipped off my brother Roy who told me,” Masters said.
“But when it was all supposed to happen I wasn’t in Brisbane, I was back in Sydney.”
The plan revealed the lengths the corrupt Queensland police brotherhood was prepared to go to protect the Joke.
It had flourished for years under the stewardship of a man known as “the Bagman”.
Jack Herbert was a former police Licensing Branch detective who for years was the conduit between the crooks and the cops.
He doled out hundreds of thousands in bribes to corrupt police.
Masters travelled the state speaking to and interviewing people about the Joke.
On May 11, 1987, The Moonlight State went to air on Four Corners.
“The pivotal thing about The Moonlight State and why it caused an earthquake was that for the first time, what Masters achieved, was a link between criminal figures, the underworld and corruption and police,” Condon said.
“That’s what caused so much drama and why it was an astonishing piece of television journalism.”
For Masters, the day after The Moonlight State would bring fresh drama.
“I wake up to the sounds of my own heartbeat,” he said.
“These are scary moments, sometimes the worst moments because you’ve done your best, you’re pretty much exhausted, but then a whole new battle begins.”
That battle would become the Fitzgerald Inquiry.
It would run for two years, hear from 339 witnesses and see the police commissioner, Sir Terence Lewis, jailed and stripped of his knighthood.
Also convicted were senior police and Valley kingpin, Gerry Bellino, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for paying bribes.
As for Jack “the Bagman” Herbert, he escaped jail by rolling over and telling all to the inquiry.
Watch Four Corners’ Breaking the Brotherhood at 8:30pm on ABC and iView.
The Moonlight State, the 1987 report that prompted the Fitzgerald Inquiry, can be viewed in full on the Four Corners website.
The Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (the Fitzgerald Inquiry) (1987–1989) into Queensland Policecorruption was a judicial inquiry presided over by Tony FitzgeraldQC. The inquiry resulted in the deposition of a premier, two by-elections, the jailing of three former ministers and a police commissioner who was jailed and lost his knighthood. It also led indirectly to the end of the National Party of Australia‘s 32-year run as the governing political party in Queensland.
The inquiry was established in response to a series of articles on high-level police corruption in The Courier-Mail by reporter Phil Dickie, followed by a Four Corners television report, aired on 11 May 1987, entitled “The Moonlight State” with reporter Chris Masters. Both reports highlighted prostitution, gambling and possible police corruption. With Queensland‘s Premier of 18 years, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, out of the state, his deputy Bill Gunn ordered a commission of inquiry the day after the television report was broadcast.
The allegations aired in the media were not new; they had surfaced from time to time and some news organisations had been forced to pay damages to aggrieved people who alleged their reputations had been damaged (Bjelke-Petersen himself was notoriously litigious in response to unfavourable press coverage). Ian Callinan drafted the terms of reference for the inquiry as well as appearing before it. While the terms of the inquiry were initially narrow, restricted only to the specific allegations raised against specific persons named in the media over a period of just five years, Fitzgerald used his moral authority to lever the inquiry into a position of being able to inquire into any relevant matter. The terms of reference for the Commission were extended twice.
This enabled him to set a new precedent for commissions of inquiry and Royal Commissions in Australia generally, using innovative methods such as indemnities from prosecution for key witnesses to secure vital evidence. The inquiry was initially expected to last about six weeks; it instead spent almost two years conducting a comprehensive investigation of long-term, systemic political corruption and abuse of power in Queensland. Public sittings were held on 238 days, hearing testimony from 339 witnesses.
The inquiry would eventually outlive the Bjelke-Petersen government. Mike Ahern became the new Premier after Bjelke-Petersen was deposed by his own party. Evidence revealed by the investigation (including testimony from Bjelke-Petersen himself) caused significant political damage and an internal power struggle within the National Party, resulting in Bjelke-Petersen resigning as Premier after his unsuccessful attempt to have the Governor of Queensland sack all of his ministers after they deposed him as party leader.
The inquiry’s special prosecutor was Doug Drummond QC. It was Drummond who decided not to retry Bjelke-Petersen after the hung jury.
Fitzgerald’s report was submitted on 3 July 1989. Based on the inquiry’s final report, a number of high-profile politicians were charged with crimes; notably Queensland Police Commissioner (Sir) Terry Lewis was charged with corruption.
Bjelke-Petersen himself was charged with perjury in respect of evidence given to the inquiry. The jury in the case remained deadlocked, bringing about a mistrial. In 1992 it was revealed that the jury foreman, Luke Shaw, was a member of the Young Nationals, was identified with the “Friends of Joh” movement and had misrepresented the state of deliberations to the judge. According to an ABC TV analysis, “A later inquiry conducted by Justice Bill Carter found the selection process had been manipulated by …ex-police officers …helping to put Joh before a jury led by Young Nationals member, Luke Shaw.” A special prosecutor announced in 1992 there would be no retrial because Sir Joh, then aged 81, was too old.
Jack Herbert had been the bagman, collecting bribes for police commissioner Terry Lewis from 1980. Lewis himself had been a bagman for former commissioner Francis Bischof. Lewis was convicted (and subsequently stripped of his knighthood).
Leisha Harvey former health minister, was charged with misappropriating of public funds as part of an investigation resulting from the findings of the inquiry. She spent one year in jail.Don Lane, former transport minister, was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment for falsifying expense accounts. Lane’s resignation resulted in the 1989 Merthyr state by-election. Brian Austin, another former health minister, was convicted of misappropriating public funds. Hinze’s resignation led to the 1988 South Coast state by-election.
The Queensland Police Special Bureau was formed on 30 July 1940 and renamed Special Branch on 7 April 1948. It was criticised for being used for political purposes by the Bjelke-Petersen government in the 1970s and 1980s, such as enforcing laws against protests (sometimes outnumbering the protesters or using provocateurs to incite violence so the protesters could be arrested) and investigating and harassing political opponents. It was disbanded in 1989 following a recommendation by the Fitzgerald Inquiry. Special Branch destroyed its records before Fitzgerald could subpoena them.
The two most significant recommendations were the establishment of the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) and the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission which was to review electoral boundaries. The need for Freedom of Information legislation in the state was noted, as was the need to review laws relating to public assembly and guidelines for the disclosure of pecuniary interests of parliamentarians. The CJC was to be responsible for investigating specific individuals mentioned during the inquiry.
The police culture of the state was also criticised. Aspects such as loyalty to fellow police officers, police not enforcing laws against other police and criticism of other police being impermissible[clarification needed] were condemned because they led to misconduct, inefficiency and contempt for the justice system. Many of the inquiry’s recommendations were implemented by Wayne Goss, the first Labor Party Premier of Queensland in 32 years.
Bjelke-Petersen’s trial was later the subject of a TV movie, “Joh’s Jury“.
FOR more than three decades, Queensland Police simply called it “The Joke”.
And for the crooked cops who were in on it, along with a cavalcade of pimps, gamblers, prostitutes, drug dealers and politicians, being part of the punchline was lucrative business.
When The Courier-Mail finally exposed the system of corrupt payments with the landmark reporting of journalist Phil Dickie in 1987, it was clear the operation had penetrated the highest echelons and darkest recesses of life in the Sunshine State.
The main beneficiaries were the police. Courier-Mail journalist Matt Condon, who has written a best-selling trilogy about that era, wrote The Joke was an “elaborate, multi-million dollar scheme of kickbacks from illegal gambling, SP bookmakers, brothels and escort services”.
At its zenith in the mid- 1980s, the system’s meticulous bookkeeper Jack “the Bagman” Herbert was raking in so much cash he was running out of places to store it in his luxury, riverfront apartment at East Brisbane.
By 1987, he was channelling about $56,000 a month to police to protect SP bookmakers, casino and brothel operators from any serious law enforcement.
By then, the system was brazenly operating in the open, secure in its institutional hold on the police force and protection from the National Party government of then premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
Dickie’s investigative skills eventually shattered The Joke’s sense of impunity as he exposed the chain of money flowing to the police’s notorious Licensing Branch.
Reports in The Courier-Mail and an expose by ABC journalist Chris Masters on Four Corners led to the Fitzgerald inquiry, which finally finished The Joke in 1989 as three government ministers and police commissioner Terry Lewis were jailed.
In the final instalment of his trilogy, All Fall Down, Condon details a 1984 document written by serving police that provided forensic insight into The Joke’s structure, operation, breadth and membership.
It traced the system back to the 1950s, when the force was riven by factional fighting between Irish Catholics and the Masons.
The Joke then flourished under Frank Bischoff, who was commissioner from 1958 to 1969. Bischoff initiated Lewis, who was a young detective at the time, into the system and groomed him as a future successor.
Lewis readily accepted his new duties, becoming one of the notorious Rat Pack, which included Herbert and detectives Tony Murphy and Glen Hallahan.
Murphy, who later rose to be assistant commissioner, allegedly coined the term The Joke and ensured that the Rat Pack controlled its operations. He was known as The Godfather.
The rest of The Joke operated as a series of autonomous cells led by an officer known as a “control”. Controls answered to another control on the level above them but would not deal with any other person, insulating the Rat Pack from being exposed. Citing the document, which was sent to then opposition police spokesman Kevin Hooper, Condon said the Rat Pack used police resources to corrupt politicians, government departments and leaders of industry.
“Illegal tapping of phones and use of sophisticated electronic surveillance gear, control of illegal gambling, prostitution at all levels and the keeping of comprehensive files on citizens of prominence are all ways in which this group of men are able to get appointed to high rank in the department,” the document said.
“There is not a level of society that these men do not have contacts and informants who work for them either through fear of exposure or for monetary gain.”
The ICAC is investigating corruption allegations concerning Emman Sharobeem, the former CEO of the Immigrant Women’s Health Service(IWHS) and the Non-English Speaking Housing Women’s Scheme Inc (NESH).
The allegations include that Ms Sharobeem dishonestly exercised her official functions as IWHS CEO by: between 1 July 2009 and 17 February 2016, submitting invoices for reimbursement for goods and services to which she was not entitled and using an IWHS credit card to pay for personal expenses; between 2014 and 2015 submitting, and authorising payment by IWHS of, false invoices for facilitation fees and other services to herself and other persons to which they were not entitled; between 2011 and 2015, submitting, and authorising payment of, invoices by the IWHS for the renovation of her property in Fairfield; and between 2012 and 2014, falsifying IWHS statistics to NSW Health.
Ms Sharobeem is also alleged to have dishonestly exercised her official functions between 2006 and 2016 by claiming to be a psychologist holding two PhD degrees and a masters degree, and further using those qualifications to treat IWHS clients and gain promotion to the position of CEO of the IWHS and the NESH. As NESH CEO, Ms Sharobeem is alleged to have dishonestly exercised her official functions between 17 December 2013 and 23 November 2015 by authorising payments from NESH to be made to her own account, to which she was not entitled.
Between March 2011 and November 2016, Ms Sharobeem is also alleged to have fraudulently obtained and retained appointment as a Board member of the Community Relations Commission (now Multicultural NSW) and the Anti-Discrimination Board (now part of the Department of Justice) by using false academic qualifications.
The IWHS was a not-for-profit non-government organisation (NGO) women’s health service, primarily funded by NSW Health via South West Sydney Local Health District, while the NESH was a not-for-profit NGO contracted and funded by the Department of Family and Community Services to provide affordable housing to women and children. In her capacity as CEO, Ms Sharobeem was a public official for the purposes of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.
What so obvious (Did you see her on the news grabs last night going into ICAC)
Looked a different woman. Facelifts, liposuction, new teeth, body shaping, tens of thousands on designer handbags etc.
Can we see where this is going? She thought she was as entitled as some of the biggest over the top diva women in the poor countries who DESERVE all this material bullshit way pretending to stand up the poor and vulnerable women.
How disgusted must they be when to let’s say they asked her for help with a bill or their hair falling out from stress.
IT was a BIG NO.
While she got new teeth, got lipo, got skinny, wore the best, dined and the best. Even sold the property of the agency and kept around $600,000 profit to herself.
Flew all over the world, wearing clothes way beyond her means. I just want to be sick at the gall of this bitch. Regards Robbo
‘Why are you torturing me?’ Eman Sharobeem lashes out over ICAC psychology claim
Former Australian of the Year finalist Eman Sharobeem has lashed out at a public inquiry into claims she illegally practiced as a psychologist, saying she was being “tortured”.
Under heavy questioning from counsel assisting the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Ramesh Rajalingam, about client booking lists for the Immigrant Women’s Health Service, Ms Sharobeem insisted she did not treat anyone.
Eman Sharobeem accused of theft and fraud
Corruption watchdog hears Eman Sharobeem pretended to be a pillar of society helping the vulnerable but instead she was stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for her lavish lifestyle.
She was shown video of an appearance on SBS television program Insight and played audio from two ABC Radio National programs in which she claimed to be a psychologist.
The commission has also been shown patient referrals from doctors and religious figures who sent people to her for treatment.
Go figure this one. A pathetic sentence that gives no adverse heat on the size of the crime. Let’s all steal from people that trust us, that legal system does nothing anyway. Check this one out and tell me your thoughts folks!… Cheers Robbo
Property manager Mark Kolodynski stole rental bonds for his TAB account
A Sydney real estate agent who embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from renters’ bonds and trust accounts to make bets on sports has been jailed for 18 months.
The door closed on Tuesday for 29-year-old Panania property manager Mark Kolodynski to appeal against an 18-month jail sentence for stealing $370,000 from trust accounts of two real estate agents.
Details released by the state government show the former property manager systemically and unlawfully withdrew money for his own purposes from trust accounts held by real estate agents Northern Strata Management Services and Bevans Wollongong for customers.
A NSW Fair Trading investigation followed a trail of money that ultimately led to Kolodynski’s personal gambling account at the TAB.
“If you choose to do the wrong thing, Fair Trading will come after you, and you will be prosecuted,” said the NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean. “This result reflects the hard work of Fair Trading’s investigators.”
Kolodynski created fictitious expenses to justify his withdrawal of money from strata accounts. He also funnelled money held in rental bonds and deposits while working as a property manager.
Kolodynski was ordered to repay $100,000 each to the agencies from which he embezzled funds.
The real estate companies were forced to repay the trust accounts at their own expense.
Kolodynski pleaded guilty to stealing property as a clerk or servant and Magistrate Tim Keady sentenced him to a minimum non-parole period of 12 months on March 30.
His real estate qualifications had expired but he will be banned from holding any real estate credentials for 10 years. Friggin life might be better, how would a new young couple have any idea they are trusting their life savings into this thief’s hands??? Seriously…Robbo
Former Property Manager Mark Kolodynski has been jailed for 18-months for stealing $370,000 from trust accounts of two real estate agents. An investigation by NSW Department of Fair Trading found the trail of money led to his personal TAB account. “If you choose to do the wrong thing, Fair Trading will come after you, and you will be prosecuted,” said the NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean. “This results reflects the hard work of Fair Trading’s investigators.”
Man secretly filmed more than 200 people in Sydney public toilets, court told
A man secretly filmed more than 200 people, including a girl and boy, in Sydney public toilets for his own “sexual gratification,” a court has been told.
Benjamin Moorhouse allegedly placed secret cameras under the sink of toilets at Parramatta and North Sydney train stations, and at a disabled toilet at Westfield Parramatta shopping centre, in February and March.
Man secretly filmed in public toilets
Benjamin Moorhouse allegedly placed secret cameras under the sink of Sydney toilets and filmed more than 200 people.
The 40-year-old, who was arrested on March 22, appeared at Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday, where his lawyer indicated he would plead guilty to all charges.
Moorhouse is charged with five counts of filming a person in a private act for the purpose of “sexual arousal or sexual gratification”.
Two of those charges are aggravated because the alleged victims, a boy and a girl, were under 16.
Moorhouse is also charged with three counts of installing a device to film people without consent.
It is further alleged Moorhouse “engaged in a private act” without the consent of the victims.
The 40-year-old, who was dressed in a suit when he appeared before a magistrate on Wednesday, later ran from the court complex wearing a hooded jumper, jeans and sunglasses.
One of the devices police allege was used for the filming Photo: NSW Police
Police say they found Moorhouse with a camera similar to those uncovered at the stations when they arrested him outside his Parramatta home a month ago.
Almost 100 people were filmed at a Parramatta train station toilet between February 13 and 14, while another 23 were filmed on the morning of February 10 in a toilet at North Sydney station, according to court documents.
The cameras were found by train staff.
About 100 people were also allegedly filmed in a Westfield Parramatta disabled toilet between March 17 and 20.
Moorhouse’s bail was continued until his next court appearance on May 31.
The man accused of killing six people and injuring dozens of pedestrians during a driving rampage through Melbourne’s CBD has told a court he is “the saviour”.
For the first time since he allegedly drove his car through the Bourke Street mall in January, Dimitrious Gargasoulas appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court via video-link on unrelated charges.
The 26-year-old’s lawyer had previously told the court that he had been too ill to attend.
Dressed in a black jumper and white t-shirt, Gargasoulas smiled during the brief hearing and interjected on several occasions.
He said, “Your Honour, I wanted to tell you something”, and later spoke about the Bible and the Koran, yelling, “Aboriginal law is identical to Muslim law”.
His lawyer spoke over the top of him, warning him that members of the media were in court.
Gargasoulas then said: “All the law is illegal.”
Later, he said: “Your Honour, did you know the Muslim faith is the correct faith according to the whole world? And I am not guilty.”
Before his video-link was switched off, he called out: “I am the saviour.”
Gargasoulas faces charges for theft and other offences allegedly committed in early January and late last year, including driving on the wrong side of the road to evade police in St Kilda.
The matter has been adjourned until May.
Gargasoulas is also due to reappear in court in December, for a separate hearing in relation to six charges of murder, 28 of attempted murder and conduct endangering life following the Bourke Street tragedy in January.
2017 Melbourne car attack
Police arrest the alleged perpetrator at 555 Bourke St
On 20 January 2017, around 1:30 pm AEDT, a car was driven into pedestrians in the CBD of Melbourne, Australia. Six people were killed and at least thirty others wounded, three of whom sustained critical injuries. Police have alleged that the victims were intentionally hit, and have charged the driver of the vehicle, Dimitrious Gargasoulas, with six counts of murder.
The red Holden Commodore car used in the attack was stolen from a man who lives in the same block of flats as Gargasoulas. Upon being interviewed, the car owner alleged that on the night of 18 January 2017, Gargasoulas entered his flat with a bible, sat down, started burning it and threw it into his face. After this, he said that he flicked it on the floor and was then punched by Gargasoulas.
It is alleged that Gargasoulas stabbed his brother in a flat in Windsor in the early hours of 20 January 2017, leaving the brother in critical condition. He then took his pregnant girlfriend hostage; she was later released on the Bolte Bridge.
There are videos of the man driving and behaving erratically at the intersection of Flinders Street, St Kilda Road and Swanston Street, outside the entrance of Flinders Street railway station. Two men, year 12 student Tevita Mahina and his cousin Isaac Tupou attempted to stop him, hitting the windscreen with a baseball bat. The driver continued north-bound up Swanston St western-side footpath at speed towards the Bourke Street Mall, turned left onto Bourke Street southern-side footpath and struck more than 20 pedestrians. The car was brought to a halt and the driver was shot in the arm by a police critical incident response team and arrested in front of 555 Bourke Street. A child and two adults died at the scene, while another man died in hospital before the end of the day, and a three-month-old baby boy the evening after the attack. A sixth person died on 30 January.
Floral tributes to victims of the attack at a memorial at the Western end of the Bourke Street Mall.
Among the victims was a 10-year-old girl, who died on 20 January, as well as a three-month-old baby boy who died on 21 January. The others were a 25-year-old man, a 22-year-old woman, a 33-year-old man, and a 33-year-old woman.
A memorial for the victims was held in Federation Square on 23 January, and floral tributes were left by members of the public at nine locations along the Bourke Street Mall. On 30 January it was announced that a permanent memorial garden would be established, and that donations approaching AU$1,000,000 had been made to the Bourke Street Fund for the families of the victims. On 31 January, the inorganic tributes were removed from the mall for storage by the Melbourne City Council, and the floral tributes taken for composting for the Victims of Crime memorial near State Parliament.
In the days before the attack, Gargasoulas began to post messages on Facebook about “religion, God, Satan, heaven and hell”, which writers for The Age described as “rambling and often nonsensical”. According to the Daily Express and Greece based TornosNews.gr, the perpetrator is a Greek–Tongan Australian.
Gargasoulas’ father told Seven News “he’s not the Jimmy I used to know” and he would “scratch his son off his books”, while his mother told News.com.au she is ashamed to be his mum, and she wanted her son to “die in hell”.
Police reported that the perpetrator was “not on our books as having any connection with terrorism … He has been coming to our attention more recently, over recent days, in relation to assaults, family violence related assaults”. The perpetrator had allegedly stabbed his younger brother for being gay.
According to an eyewitness, Gargasoulas repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar”, often linked to Islamic terrorism. Police later asked Melbourne Herald Sun reporter Andrea Hanblin to remove her video interview of the eyewitness who made these claims.
Timeline of events
14 January 2017
Police charge Gargasoulas at Prahran police station with speeding on the wrong side of the road and ignoring a police direction to stop. Police oppose bail, but Gargasoulas is granted bail for a 20 January court date.
18 January 2017
Gargasoulas attacks Gavin Wilson, his mother’s ex-partner, by thrusting a burning Bible in his face and stealing his car.
19 January 2017
9:26 pm: Gargasoulas ‘checks in’ at Dogs Bar, St Kilda, on Facebook, posting: “Thinking. About what to do with them lol.”
10:00 pm: Gargasoulas is refused entry to Dogs Bar as he is suspected to be under the influence.
20 January 2017
12:30 am: Gargasoulas returns to Dogs Bar, in a maroon-coloured car believed to be the same car he stole from Wilson, later to be used in the attack. Patrons report that he smashes glasses and plates.
2:15 am: Police are called to an address in Raleigh Street, Windsor, after reports are lodged of two men fighting. Both victim and Gargasoulas are gone by the time police arrive.
8.04 am: Gargasoulas is spotted driving in the background of a Today “live cross” which is reporting on the Windsor stabbing. The man rolls down the car window and waves his hat at the news camera.
11:30 am: Police follow the car along tram tracks in Clarendon Street in South Melbourne and unsuccessfully attempt to arrest Gargasoulas at a South Wharf intersection.
11:45 am: Police spot the car weaving through traffic on Williamstown Road in Yarraville, west of Melbourne. Police pull back due to safety concerns as the car is being driven “erratically and dangerously.” The police air wing tracks the car as it moves toward the city.
1:35 pm: The car then allegedly struck a number of pedestrians in the vicinity of Bourke Street Mall, before proceeding further along Bourke Street, past intersection with Queen Street.
1:37 pm: Reports of multiple shots fired, Gargasoulas is pulled from the car on William Street.
2:30 pm: Ambulance Victoria state that they are treating 20 people in Bourke Street, many of them sustaining serious injuries.
2:30 pm: Victoria Police release a statement confirming that the situation has been “contained”, one person has been arrested and another dead.
3:20 pm: Police confirm at a press conference that three people have died and the incident was not terrorism-related.
9:00 pm: Police confirm that a fourth person had died in hospital.
21 January 2017
10:53 pm: Police confirm that a fifth person (a three-month-old child) had died in hospital. 
23 January 2017
Gargasoulas is excused from court by the magistrate, claiming that he is feeling unwell. He is charged with five counts of murder.
30 January 2017
Police confirm a 33 year old woman has died in hospital due to her injuries. This raises the death toll to 6.
The Royal Children’s Hospital treated many children injured in the attack
Police urged the public to share their testimonies and collaborated with over 300 witnesses. Graham Ashton, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner, was quick to dismiss claims the attack was an act of terror, but supposed it instead a consequence of an alleged stabbing which had developed into a crime spree. Victoria Police maintain religion was not a significant motivation. In an interview the day after the attack, Andrew Crisp, Deputy Police Commissioner, stated that police were hoping to interview and charge the suspect later in the day. He said that the fact that the suspect had been out on bail would be looked into by police. He congratulated everyone who dealt with the situation, stating “We saw the best of people yesterday. The support they gave to people on the street, it was amazing.”
Victorian PremierDaniel Andrews stated that “this was a terrible crime – a senseless, evil act” and promised that “justice will be done”. Then the Victorian Government established a fund to provide financial assistance for the families of the deceased, and made an initial donation of $100,000.
A Sydney magistrate has continued bail for suspended Channel 9 reporter Ben McCormack, who was charged with child pornography offences.
McCormack, who worked as a journalist on A Current Affair, is accused of sending child pornography and engaging in sexually explicit conversations about children with an adult male.
His lawyer Sam Macedone told the Downing Centre Local Court his client was not in court because he was still in hospital, having been admitted for treatment after his arrest.
Mr Macedone tendered a medical certificate to the court.
The 42-year-old reporter was under investigation by detectives who say they were tipped off by the Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team.
They stopped him in his car at Moore Park in April, and shortly afterwards they searched a unit in Alexandria and the ACA office in Willoughby where they seized computers, a mobile phone and electronic storage devices.
Nine Network suspended him from his role as a reporter after his arrest.
The Commonwealth prosecutor told the court the charges were indictable offences carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail.
The case will return to court in July.
A Current Affair reporter Ben McCormack has been charged after he allegedly sent child abuse material and engaged in explicit conversations about children with another man online.
McCormack, a long time on-air talent for the Nine Network program, was stopped on Driver Avenue at Moore Park by detectives from the Sex Crimes Squad at 7.30am on Thursday and taken to Redfern police station.
Channel Nine reporter Ben McCormack is arrested and charged with sending child pornography material.
The 42-year-old had been under investigation by the Sex Crime Squad’s child exploitation internet unit and has now been charged with using a carriage service for child pornography material.
“Police will allege in court the man was engaged in sexually explicit conversations about children with an adult male and discussed child pornography,” NSW Police said in a statement.
A search warrant was executed at McCormack’s home at Alexandria, in the city’s inner-south, and officers also raided the Willoughby office of A Current Affair,at the Nine Network studios in Sydney’s north, on Thursday morning.
Police seized computers, a mobile phone, and electronic storage devices.
McCormack was granted police bail and will appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on May 1.
He has retained the services of high-profile solicitor Sam Macedone, who regularly appears on A Current Affair, where he is often seen commenting on legal matters arising from neighborhood disputes or scam artists
The police investigation into McCormack followed a tip-off from the Joint Anti-Child Exploitation team – a joint agency task force that cracks down on crimes against children.
His arrest and charging was part of Strike Force Trawler, a police operation that is using undercover stings to catch alleged online predators.
The strike force has arrested almost one person per week this year, with many more cases passed to local police.
Those arrested have been diverse: from teenagers to 70-year-olds, school teachers, fathers, defense force members, priests, police academy students and aspiring politicians.
McCormack’s arrest was the lead item on Channel Nine’s 3pm news bulletin.
The network reported that he had been questioned but not charged, although charges might be laid on Thursday afternoon.
Nine’s news and current affairs director Darren Wick confirmed to staff that police officers had been at the network’s Willoughby offices “investigating matters relating to a staff member at A Current Affair”.
He stressed that the investigation “does not relate to the program or Nine”. He said the network was co-operating with the police.
“However, we are not in a position to comment any further as this is an ongoing investigation,” he said in a note to staff sent out following the raid.
As a reporter, McCormack had doggedly pursued child sex offenders on ACA over the years.
In 2014, he sat in court as former Hey Dad! television star Robert Hughes learned of his guilty verdict. He also phoned Hughes’ victim Sarah Monahan, who had told her story on A Current Affair, to tell her.
with Georgina Mitchell
A Current Affair reporter Ben McCormack at centre of many media controversies
April 7, 2017 11:14am
A Current Affair journalist Ben McCormack leaves Redfern police station yesterday. Picture: Adam Yip/The Manly Daily
The scandal has rocked Channel 9, which was raided by police yesterday, but it is not the first time the reporter has made the headlines.
Nine Network reporter Ben McCormack is released from Redfern police station yesterday after being charged with sending child pornography material. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts Source:AAP
Throughout a 25-year career at the network, McCormack has broken major stories — some of which have been controversial and criticised.
He was the first journalist to confront Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes and grill him about child sex abuse allegations.
McCormack tracked Hughes down for ACA in Singapore in 2010 and questioned him about whether he did abuse children, including cast members of the popular Australian sitcom, which ran for eight seasons in the 1980s and ’90s.
Hey Dad! actor Robert Hughes is questioned by A Current Affair in Singapore. Picture: Channel 9Source: Supplied
“I’m absolutely, totally shocked at the allegations and I deny, absolutely deny, everything,” Hughes told McCormack from his car.
A Current Affair’s reporting on the scandal helped lead to Hughes being sentenced to six years’ jail on 10 charges related to sexually abusing young girls.
While this was a genuine scoop, not all of McCormack’s reporting has been well received.
His bogus report on an “all-Asian mall” was widely condemned as racist and led to the station receiving a deluge of complaints.
Tracy Grimshaw presents Ben McCormack’s ‘All-Asian Mall’ story in 2012. The report turned out to be inaccurate.Source: Supplied
“Just when we thought the soap opera was finally over, the Roxy and Oliver show goes on,” McCormack said in the report.
Ben McCormack on air for A Current Affair. Picture: Channel 9Source: Supplied
“As her insider trader husband awaits classification within the jail system, within hours of his sentence Roxy has taken off. And you won’t believe where.”
So where was Roxy? According to the PR executive, she was hard at work in her office in Sydney.
“Really A Current Affair? … Looks like my bum and feet are firmly placed at my desk in my office. Perhaps stick to people’s fences encroaching on others’ boundaries!” she posted on Instagram.
McCormack’s journalism also made a splash in 2008 when he led a protest of disgruntled game show contestants to ambush David Koch and Melissa Doyle live on air.
ACA aired two segments in March of that year that claimed Channel 7’s short-lived National Bingo Night failed to pay participants on the show because the episodes in which they appeared were not aired.
Sunrise hosts Mel Doyle and David Koch are stunned as Ben McCormack leads a protest claiming that Channel 7 withheld money from contestants on its game show National Bingo Night.Source: Supplied
A security guard obstructed McCormack, while Mel and Kochie were rushed back into the studio.
ACA said contestants were duped out of $15,000 cash and a car, but a Seven spokesman dismissed the stunt as an “act of desperation to try and find an audience”.
McCormack also attracted controversy in 2011 for his part in a fierce ratings war with Channel 7 rival Today Tonight for the story behind a viral YouTube video showing a teenager body-slam a bully in an Aussie school ground.
A Current Affair journalist Ben McCormack on air. Picture: Channel 9Source: YouTube
Istanbul, Turkey nightclub attack: more than a dozen foreigners among the dead, say officials
Istanbul: Police in Istanbul launched a manhunt on Sunday for a gunman who killed at least 39 people, many of them foreigners, at a nightclub packed with New Year’s revellers, in an attack officials described as a terrorist act.
The gunman shot his way into the Reina nightclub at around 1.15am local time, just over an hour into the new year, killing a police officer and a civilian as he entered before opening fire at random inside
Dozens killed in Turkey nightclub attack
RAW: Scenes outside a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey, where at least 35 people have been killed and dozens more wounded after an attacker opened fire on revelers.
Some witnesses spoke of multiple attackers, but officials have not confirmed this.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 15 or 16 of those killed were foreigners but that only 21 of the bodies had so far been identified. He said 69 people were in hospital, four of them in a critical condition.
“A manhunt for the terrorist is underway. Police have launched operations. We hope the attacker will be captured soon,” he told reporters.
Turkey has imposed a media blackout after the attack, although the restriction doesn’t extend to officials, BBC reported.
Australian embassy officials are working with Turkish authorities to determine if any Australians are victims of the nightclub attack.
The attack again shook Turkey as it tries to recover from a failed July coup and a series of deadly bombings in cities including Istanbul and the capital Ankara, some blamed on Islamic State and others claimed by Kurdish militants
The nightclub, one of Istanbul’s most iconic that is popular with locals and foreigners alike, overlooks the Bosphorus Strait separating Europe and Asia in the city’s cosmopolitan Ortakoy district.
Around 500 to 600 people were thought to have been inside when the gunman opened fire, broadcaster CNN Turk said. Some jumped into the waters of the Bosphorus to save themselves and were rescued by police
Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said the attacker had used a “long-range weapon” to “brutally and savagely” fire on people, apparently referring to some sort of assault rifle.
“One person first kills the police officer outside, and then a civilian,” the governor said. “Inside he rained bullets brutally, mercilessly over innocent people who were there just to celebrate the new year and have fun.”
People talk to medics in an ambulance near the scene of an attack in Istanbul. Photo: APThe Hurriyet newspaper cited witnesses as saying there were multiple attackers and that they shouted in Arabic.
Eyewitness Sinem Uyanik told the Associated Press she saw several bodies inside the Istanbul nightclub.
Her husband Lutfu Uyanik was wounded in the attack.
“Before I could understand what was happening, my husband fell on top me,” she said outside Istanbul’s Sisli Hospital. “I had to lift several bodies from on top of me before I could get out.”
Her husband was not in serious condition despite his wounds.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting. The mass killing at the nightclub was at least the fourth major attack in Turkey in less than a month, raising questions about the ability of the government, a NATO member and critical regional ally of the United States, to counter an array of threats stemming from the war across Turkey’s border in Syria, as well as an escalating conflict with Kurdish militants inside Turkey.
An image, reportedly of one of the gunmen involved in the attack at the Istanbul nightclub.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would fight to the end against all forms of attack by terror groups and their backers.
“As a nation, we will fight to the end against not just the armed attacks of terror groups and the forces behind them, but also against their economic, political and social attacks,” Erdogan said in a written statement.
“They are trying to create chaos, demoralise our people, and destabilise our country with abominable attacks which target civilians … We will retain our cool-headedness as a nation, standing more closely together, and we will never give ground to such dirty games,” he said.
On the European side of the country’s capital, about 12km from Istanbul, the suburb of Ortakoy is an international travel destination known for its food stalls and vibrant night life. The area is a mix of stone, brick and wooden buildings along pedestrian lanes.
Mehmet Kocarslan, the club’s owner, told the Hurriyet.com.tr news site that there had been increased security at the club for the past 10 days after US intelligence officials shared information about the planned attack. He said the attackers used Kalashnikov rifles.
Television footage showed dozens of ambulances rushing to the scene, and people fleeing, some walking with difficulty arm in arm.
Footage from the scene showed at least six ambulances with flashing lights and civilians being escorted out. NTV said police had cordoned off the area and an operation to capture the assailant was ongoing.
An AP photographer says police cordoned off the area about three kilometres away from the nightclub and reported multiple ambulances passing by.
President Barack Obama expressed condolences on Saturday over the attack and directed his team to offer US help to Turkish authorities, the White House said.
“This afternoon the President was briefed by his national security team on the attack in Istanbul,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement.
“The President expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost, directed his team to offer appropriate assistance to the Turkish authorities, as necessary, and keep him updated as warranted.”
Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, responded on Twitter, saying his thoughts were with Turkey after this “cowardly act of terrorism”.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Turkish friends,” he added.
Security measures had been heightened in major Turkish cities, with police barring traffic leading up to key squares in Istanbul and the capital Ankara. In Istanbul, 17,000 police officers were put on duty, some camouflaged as Santa Claus and others as street vendors, state news agency Anadolu reported.
Ankara and Istanbul have been targeted by several attacks in 2016 carried out by the Islamic State group or Kurdish rebels, killing more than 180 people.
Turkey is still recovering from a failed coup attempt that began July 15 in which at least 265 people were killed.
Although the coup effort sputtered in a matter of hours, Mr Erdogan responded with a sweeping, months-long crackdown targeting alleged dissidents across Turkish society.
In addition to arresting thousands of military personnel suspected of involvement in the coup, hundreds of thousands of civil servants, educational staff and journalists were purged.
The coup and the assassination of the Russian Ambassador Andrey G. Karlov in Ankara on December 19 raised concerns that the country’s security establishment had grown ineffective.
The turmoil also raised doubts about how well Turkey would be able to participate in international counter-terrorism efforts, especially with regard to the Islamic State.
39 dead in New Year ‘terror attack’ on Istanbul nightclub
Sun 1 Jan 2017, 9:15pm
A gunman shot his way into an Istanbul nightclub packed with New Year’s revellers early on Sunday, killing at least 39 people and wounding almost 70 others in what the provincial Governor described as a terrorist attack.
Istanbul city governor condemned the “terrorist attack” on the popular Reina nightclub
Around 500-600 people were thought to be in the club when the attack happened
The attacker was believed to have entered the premises dressed as Santa Claus, local media reported
The assailant shot a police officer and a civilian as he entered the Reina nightclub before opening fire at random inside.
“A terrorist with a long-range weapon… brutally and savagely carried out this incident by firing bullets on innocent people who were there solely to celebrate the New Year and have fun,” Governor Vasip Sahin told reporters at the scene.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the attacker was still at large and 69 people were being treated in hospitals following the shooting.
Mr Soylu said of the victims identified so far, 16 were foreign nationals. He did not provide any information on their countries.
In a statement, President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey would fight to the end against all forms of attack by terror groups and their backers.
“As a nation, we will fight to the end against not just the armed attacks of terror groups and the forces behind them, but also against their economic, political and social attacks,” he said.
“They are trying to create chaos, demoralise our people, and destabilise our country with abominable attacks which target civilians … we will retain our cool-headedness as a nation, standing more closely together, and we will never give ground to such dirty games,” he said.
‘I had to lift several bodies from on top of me’
Around 500-600 people were thought to have been in the club when the attack happened at around 1:15am local time, broadcaster CNN Turk said.
The club lies on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait in the Ortakoy district, and some jumped into the water to save themselves and were being rescued by police.
Police with riot gear and machine guns backed up by armoured vehicles blocked the area close to the Reina nightclub.
Witness Sinem Uyanik, whose husband Lutfu Uyanik was wounded in the attack, told AP she saw several bodies inside the nightclub.
“Before I could understand what was happening, my husband fell on top me,” she said outside Istanbul’s Sisli Hospital.
“I had to lift several bodies from on top of me before I could get out.”
The attacker was believed to have entered the nightclub dressed as Santa Claus, private NTV television reported earlier.
Broadcaster CNN Turk initially said the attacker was thought still to be inside the building and that police special forces were preparing to raid it. NTV said the attacker’s whereabouts were unclear.
Dozens of ambulances and police vehicles were dispatched to the club in Ortakoy, a cosmopolitan neighbourhood nestled under one of three bridges crossing the Bosphorus, and home to clubs, restaurants and art galleries.
DFAT determining if any Australians involved
The Department of Foreign Affairs said the Australian embassy in Ankara was liaising with local authorities to determine if any Australians were caught up in the attack.
Reina is one of Istanbul’s best-known nightclubs, popular with locals and tourists alike.
Security measures had been heightened in major Turkish cities, with police barring traffic leading up to key squares in Istanbul and the capital Ankara. In Istanbul, 17,000 police officers were put on duty, some camouflaged as Santa Claus and others as street vendors, Anadolu reported.
Ankara and Istanbul have been targeted by several attacks in 2016 carried out by the Islamic State (IS) group or Kurdish rebels, killing more than 180 people.
Turkey, part of the US-led coalition against IS, faces multiple security threats including spill-over from the war in neighbouring Syria.
It has seen repeated attacks and bombings blamed on IS as well as Kurdish militants in recent months.
US President Barack Obama “expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost”, and said assistance would be offered to Turkish authorities.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag vowed that his country would press ahead with its fight against violent groups.
“Turkey will continue its determined and effective combat to root out terror,” Mr Bozdag said on Twitter.