Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale charged with extortion amid CCC investigation


Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has been arrested and charged with extortion amid an investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).

Mr Pisasale was arrested by the CCC this afternoon in Ipswich and was taken to the Brisbane police watch house where he was formally charged with extortion and two other offences.

The CCC said the investigation was ongoing.

Prior to being charged, acting Ipswich Mayor Paul Tully said he and his colleagues were shocked by Mr Pisasale’s arrest.

“As I understand it, these are strictly personal matters — have nothing to do with the Ipswich City Council,” he said.

“It is a matter for Paul and his legal advisors and the Queensland judicial system.

“We had no warning that this could happen, but the city must go on and we’re going to provide positive leadership into the future,” Cr Tully said.

“Our sympathies do go out to Paul’s family who are obviously very concerned at this difficult time.

“I think people will still remember Paul whatever happens as the person who put Ipswich on the map, did a lot of economic development for the city.

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Breaking the Brotherhood-Digging up the bad old days of systemic police corruption and graft supported by the Government of the time


Background Information

FEATURE Moonlight State: The honest cop who helped blow the whistle on Australia’s most corrupt police force by Mark Willacy | ABC News | 12 Jun 2017 – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-12/four-corners-moonlight-state-afp-protected-chris-masters/8607314

FEATURE The Bagman, the secret codes, and the payments to a secret brotherhood of bent cops by Mark Willacy | ABC News | 12 Jun 2017 – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-12/fitzgerald-inquiry-files-reveal-inner-workings-of-corrupt-cops/8600046

Fact Check: Did Joh Bjelke-Petersen instigate the Fitzgerald inquiry? | ABC Fact Check | 20 Nov 2014 – http://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/2014-11-20/did-joh-bjelke-petersen-instigate-the-fitzgerald-inquiry/5889002

Journalism Matters: Fitzgerald inquiry resulted from basic reporting | The Courier-Mail | 7 Oct 2014 – http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/journalism-matters-fitzgerald-inquiry-resulted-from-basic-reporting/news-story/f34f2b0a95d86007fe12a9bd1a5c6c8a

Moonlight Reflections by Chris Masters | Griffith Review | Aug 2008 – Chris Masters reflected on the making and remifications of the Moonlight State investigation. https://griffithreview.com/articles/moonlight-reflections/

Queensland: Ten Years After Fitzgerald | Background Briefing | 16 May 1999 – http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/queensland-ten-years-after-fitzgerald/3565808

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

Police inquiry turns blowtorch back on accusers by Paul Bongiorno | The Bulletin Archives | 26 May 1987 – https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1363645-the-bulletin-police-inquiry-turns-blowtorch-back.html

Sir Joh says PM has dingoed out on electorate | SMH Archives | 28 May 1987 – https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1363976-smh-sir-joh-says-pm-has-dingoed-out-on.html

RELATED 4 CORNERS PROGRAMS

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

June 12th, 2017 Updated about 2 hours ago

It was an unusual assignment, and Australian Federal Police officer Dave Moore wasn’t happy about it.

“I had a call to go and visit the assistant commissioner,” he recounted.

“He asked me to keep a lookout for a bloke by the name of Chris Masters from Four Corners.”

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.”

The plan to frame Chris Masters

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.

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, police, qld, australia

First posted about 4 hours ago

Contact Mark Willacy


en.wikipedia.org

Fitzgerald Inquiry – Wikipedia


The Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (the Fitzgerald Inquiry) (1987–1989) into Queensland Police corruption was a judicial inquiry presided over by Tony Fitzgerald QC. 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.

History

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[1]

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.[1]

On 28 August, a Licensing Branch sergeant, Harry Burgess implicated Jack Herbert, and assistant commissioner Graeme Parker. Parker confessed and implicated police commissioner Sir Terry Lewis on 16 September.[3]

The inquiry would eventually outlive the Bjelke-Petersen government. Mike Ahern became the new Premier after Bjelke-Petersen was deposed by his own party.[4] 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.

Findings

Fitzgerald’s report was submitted on 3 July 1989.[1] Based on the inquiry’s final report,[5] 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.[6] 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.”[7] 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.[3] 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.[4] Don Lane, former transport minister, was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment for falsifying expense accounts.[4] 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[8]) and investigating and harassing political opponents.[9] It was disbanded in 1989 following a recommendation by the Fitzgerald Inquiry.[9] Special Branch destroyed its records before Fitzgerald could subpoena them.[9]

In large part due to public anger over the revelations in the Fitzgerald report, the National Party was heavily defeated in the December 1989 state election, which brought the Australian Labor Party to power for the first time since 1957.

Recommendations

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.[1] 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.[1] Many of the inquiry’s recommendations were implemented by Wayne Goss, the first Labor Party Premier of Queensland in 32 years.

Cultural depictions

Bjelke-Petersen’s trial was later the subject of a TV movie, “Joh’s Jury“.[10]

Margot Hutcheson painted a picture of the inquiry, Wasn’t the Fitzgerald Inquiry Fun?[11]

In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, the Fitzgerald Inquiry was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as a “Defining Moment”.[12]

See also

References

Bibliography

  • Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct, “Fitzgerald Inquiry report”, Government Printer, Brisbane, 1989.

Further reading

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.

Police Commissioner Terry Lewis and other corrupt officers were caught taking bribes from a pool fed by bookies and brothel owners, such as Geraldo Bellino.

Vic Conte

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.

Bagman Jack Herbert

Detective Sergeant Tony Murphy

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.

Want to see more?( 6 more photos in collection )Continue to full gallery

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.

Police Commissioner Frank Bischoff.

Notorious poker machine king, businessman and yachtsman Jack Rooklyn.

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.”

Hector Hapeta

Graeme Parker

 

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Cassandra Sainsbury: Accused cocaine smuggler


So many questions on this one folks. I waited and hung back a few days to see what else was revealed to the public. Shame the way is being trickled out…

Not to sell papers or anything surely?

I personally feel she has been busted red handed and used a well-drilled script when caught.

Shame the family in OZ was NOT aware of it and spilled their guts as a family would do. Not smart though…Cheers Robbo

Please Make comment


ACCUSED Australian drug smuggler Cassie Sainsbury posted a series of cryptic social media comments in the lead-up to her ill-fated world trip, which culminated in her arrest at Colombia’s biggest airport last month.

It has already been reported that the 22-year-old Adelaide woman made a series of international

trips to and from Australia in the six months preceding her journey to South America, where authorities allegedly found almost 6kg of cocaine inside her suitcase on April 11.

But early this year an opportunity apparently arose that seemed too good for the former personal trainer to pass up.

In a strangely prophetic Instagram post, Ms Sainsbury appears to have been counting down the days until a life-changing event.

The now deleted January 10 post read: “50 days until I make the biggest move I’ve yet to do … 50 days until everything changes.”

She added the following hashtags: #newbeginnings #newyearnewme #2k17 #dreamjob #bondiliving #life #change #love #50daysleft #goodthingsarecoming.

On January 24, she wrote another post, which has also since been deleted, which read: “Moving interstate driving me cray cray! #save me! Not long before the big move now, super excited and can’t wait to leave so much baggage behind.”

Cassie Sainsbury pictured following her arrest at El Dorado International Airport on April 11. Picture: Supplied Source:AFP

Cassandra Sainsbury Instagram images. cassieleigh_p_t Source:Instagram

 

It is not clear when Ms Sainsbury departed from Australia or from which port but both Instagram posts contain hashtags indicating travel or relocation to Sydney, possibly around March 1 (when the 50 day count down ended).

Her social media trail places her in China later that month and in the US in early April.

On April 3, Ms Sainsbury instagrammed from Los Angeles airport, complaining about the temperature contrast between the two countries: “LAX — so busy yet, so organised. On another note. Going from China’s lovely 27 degree weather to LA’s 7 degree weather is killing me!”

She appears to have caught a connecting flight to Bogota from LA because authorities record her as having arrived in Colombia on the same day — April 3.

On April 8, she posted a photograph from Bogota along with the comment: “Can’t complain about an all expenses paid work trip, in which (sic) is mainly holiday very little work. It’s the simple things that are the true beauty in the world. Mother Nature has been putting on quite the show for me over here.”

This Jan 24 post mentions a move interstate.Source: Supplied

Cassie’s cryptic but prophetic January 10 Instagram post.Source: Supplied

 

Ms Sainsbury’s family has claimed she was on a working holiday to promote her personal training business — a claim which appears to be supported by Ms Sainsbury’s Instagram posts which are riddled with fitness-related hashtags.

But her fiance Scotty Broadbridge has told a completely different story, claiming she hadn’t done any personal training work for months and that her most recent job involved “helping to manage” a cleaning company.

“Although Cassie is a PT, she is not currently personal training and hasn’t been for 6 months. I don’t know why that was mentioned at all,” Mr Broadbridge wrote on Ms Sainsbury’s fundraising page before it was deactivated on Monday night after raising more than $4000.

“She helped manage a commercial cleaning business that had both national and international clients. Unfortunately it’s very easy for tourists to get targeted, especially in Colombia.”

Ms Sainsbury’s April 3 post from LAX.Source: Supplied

 

Ms Sainsbury’s April 3 post from LAX.Source:Supplied

 

Mr Broadbridge’s sister Jasmin also defended Ms Sainsbury on social media.

“We’re all supposed to unite in times like this but I’ve been reading the most hateful and negative comments that people have been writing about someone who is a total stranger to them,” she wrote on Facebook.

“You can assume what you want, but Cassie is a beautiful and strong person and everyone who knows her, even just a little bit, knows that there is absolutely no way she is guilty.”

Ms Sainsbury was moments from arriving at Gate 32 at Colombia’s El Dorado International Airport when narcotics police swooped on a tip-off from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Her luggage tags show she had successfully checked in to board Flight AV120 from Bogota to London’s Heathrow Airport, flying with Avianca Airways, Colombia’s national airline since 1919.

Cassie Sainsbury, 22, and her fiancee Scotty Broadbridge. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

 

Police allegedly found 5.8kg of cocaine wrapped in black plastic and stuffed into 15 boxes of headphones that she claimed to have bought on the cheap from a man she befriended who had been acting as her translator in the Colombian capital.

Ms Sainsbury told her mother Lisa Evans that she packed the headphones into her suitcase without checking them and had no knowledge of the hidden contraband.

“I can’t believe this has happened to an innocent young woman,” her grandmother Barbara Johns said.

“Anyone who knows Cassie, knows she did not do this. It can happen to anyone.”

Ms Sainsbury is currently awaiting trial in Bogota’s most notorious women’s prison, El Buen Pastor (which means “The Good Shepherd”), on drug trafficking charges and faces up to 25 years if convicted.

However that sentence is likely to be reduced to six years if she pleads guilty and four years if she agrees to identify others involved. The latter option puts Ms Sainsbury between a rock and a hard place, given that spilling the beans on alleged drug syndicate members could see her labelled a snitch, thereby endangering her life inside jail.

Accused drug mule’s fiance and lawyer address the media

Cassie Sainsbury’s fiance Scott Boradbridge says he will support the accused Adelaide drug mule

THE fiance of accused Adelaide drug mule Cassie Sainsbury has told a packed media conference he believes she is innocent and had no involvement with the drug trade.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Scott Broadbridge said he had “no doubt that Cassie is innocent of these charges and I will support her no matter how long this takes”.

But her Adelaide lawyer, Steven Kenny, who was hired by Ms Sainsbury in a phone call, said her court date could be two to three years away if her case went to trial.

“It won’t be speedy, that’s the advice I’ve had from Colombia,” he said.

Mr Broadbridge, who kept his head down as he read from a prepared statement, said he and “Cass” were engaged and he intended to marry her.

“I know that there are many unanswered questions in this case and I intend to work with the lawyers to get to the bottom of them,” he said.

Calling her “the delight of his life” he said he knew she was not a drug smuggler.

“I know that she is not involved in the drug trade, I know that she was not deliberately taking drugs or carrying drugs anywhere,” he said.

Mr Kenny, who defended former detainee David Hicks and was the first lawyer to visit Guantánamo Bay, said he had great faith in the Colombian legal system, which carried the presumption of innocence, and he asked the media to not prejudge his new client’s guilt or innocence.

“I would like to think Cassie’s defence will be run in a court in Colombia, not in the Adelaide media,” he said.

Scott Broadbridge, fiance of Cassie Sainsbury, with Adelaide lawyer Steven Kenny. Picture: Greg Higgs

Mr Broadbridge said he hoped to fly to Colombia to visit her soon, and to prove her innocence.

Mr Kenny could not answer questions about which cleaning company Ms Sainsbury worked for, who bought her ticket out of Colombia in Hong Kong or how long she had been travelling, and said detailed questions such as this would be followed up through her Colombian legal team.

He said the first thing he could do from Adelaide was to make sure she had good defence in Colombia. Mr Kenny accepted the job pro bono because he had legal friends in Colombia and felt he could help.

“We are working with them and taking what we think are appropriate steps,” he said.

The aspiring model and fitness trainer was arrested at an airport in Colombia with 5.8kg of cocaine in her luggage. Despite the evidence against her, Mr Broadbridge said he loved her and believed in her and was doing everything to try to get her out.

Ingrid Hernandes, Bogota hotel manager discusses Cassandra Sainsbury stay

Ms Sainsbury, 22, is being held in Bogota’s El Buen Pastor women’s jail after she was busted with the cocaine — which was hidden inside packages of headphones — in her luggage as she was about to fly out of Colombia.

Mr Broadbridge said that despite the collapse of her gym, personal trainer Ms Sainsbury was debt-free when she jetted overseas on the ill-fated trip.

“There absolutely were no debts. She ran a business and it didn’t work out. She’s just an ordinary girl with aspirations,” he said.

“I’m just scared for her and don’t want to jeopardise anything as it’s early stages. We’re worried for her future, she’s not doing great.”

But his decision to “break his silence” drew criticism from members of Ms Sainsbury’s family, who have been told not to comment by her Colombian lawyer. Mr Kenny said some of the reporting in the media could damage Ms Sainsbury’s case and that he and Mr Broadbridge were having discussions with Ms Sainbury’s family.

Mr Kenny said he was asked by Ms Sainsbury in a brief phone call to act for her and he had no argument with Sydney lawyer, Jay Williams, who had until now been her only Australian lawyer.

“Jay is a barrister, he’s not a solicitor, and he is not in Adelaide which I think is why Scott came to see me,” he said.

Asked about her state of mind, he said it was a short call but that Ms Sainsbury was “a young woman in a foreign jail, in a foreign country, you can draw your own conclusions from that.”

She was being visited regularly by Australian consular officials who were reporting back to the family on her welfare.

Cassie Sainsbury with the 5.8kg of cocaine she is accused of smuggling out of Columbia. Photo: Columbia Antinarcotics Police.

Sister Khala Sainsbury said the truth would come out soon.

“It has gone too far,” she said of rumours coming out of Yorketown, on Yorke Peninsula.

The allegations first emerged when a woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Advertiser Ms Sainsbury left the Yorke Peninsula owing several people money.

Others have backed the claims.

But the landlord of the Yorketown gym previously used by Ms Sainsbury, and the father of her ex-boyfriend, say she had no debts with them.

On Thursday, Nick Paphitis said Ms Sainsbury had paid all her rent before she moved to Adelaide.

Claims she owed ex-boyfriend Luke Tape money borrowed to help set up Yorke’s Gym were rejected by his father, Richard.

Cassie Sainsbury: What we know so far

 

It comes as her Bogota lawyer Orlando Herran said Australian diplomats were trying to convince Colombian authorities to let Ms Sainsbury serve her almost certain jail sentence at home.

She is being advised to accept the charges against her in order to reduce her sentence after she was caught with the drugs.

Mr Herran said diplomats were working on a deal that would see her move from El Buen Pastor women’s jail to one in Australia, but only after a conviction was recorded.

Ms Sainsbury posted a series of cryptic social media comments in the lead-up to her ill-fated world trip, which culminated in her arrest at Colombia’s biggest airport last month.

It has already been reported that the Adelaide woman made a series of international trips to and from Australia in the six months preceding her journey to South America.

But early this year, an opportunity apparently arose that seemed too good for the former personal trainer to pass up.

Cassandra Sainsbury with her fiance Scott Broadbridge. Picture: Facebook

In a strangely prophetic Instagram post, Ms Sainsbury appears to have been counting down the days until a life-changing event.

The now deleted January 10 post read: “50 days until I make the biggest move I’ve yet to do … 50 days until everything changes.”

She added the following hashtags: #newbeginnings #newyearnewme #2k17 #dreamjob #bondiliving #life #change #love #50daysleft #goodthingsarecoming.

On January 24, she wrote another post, which has also since been deleted, which read: “Moving interstate driving me cray cray! #save me! Not long before the big move now, super excited and can’t wait to leave so much baggage behind.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said Australian consular staff were continuing to provide assistance to Ms Sainsbury, but did not have an embassy in Bogota and the assistance was being organised “from outside Colombia”.

update

How Cassandra Sainsbury’s ticket reportedly got her caught

Cassandra Sainsbury’s father wants his daughter to come home
Charis Chang and Sarah Blake in Bogota

THE father of accused Aussie drug smuggler Cassandra Sainsbury has broken his silence, three weeks after his daughter landed in a Colombian prison.

 

Stuart Sainsbury told Nine News he is standing by the 22-year-old because “a father’s love is unconditional and never stops, regardless of what happens”.

He said he does not believe she is “a drug mule”.

“I don’t believe she was a drug mule, she’s just my kid. What parent thinks their kid is a drug mule? I just love her and I can’t change what’s happened. I just have to be here when she comes home.”

Earlier, he told reporters “I don’t want to be tied up in all this,” the Mail Online reported.

“Listen, whatever is going on has nothing to do with me, and I have nothing to say about it,” he said from his home in Yorketown, South Australia.

“You can ring my lawyer if you don’t understand me. It’s got nothing to do with me.”

He told the Adelaide Advertiser that his “love doesn’t change no matter what (your children) do” and said no Australian officials had been in touch with him.

The comments follow revelations that Cassie was caught because the US Drug Enforcement Agency alerted Colombian authorities to their suspicions about her plane ticket, reports suggest.

Ms Sainsbury, 22, was arrested at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota on April 12 after a tip-off about the 5.8kg of cocaine allegedly hidden inside what she thought were 18 boxes of headphones in her suitcase.

The South Australian is now being held in a women’s jail in Colombia and is reportedly struggling to adjust to her new life inside prison.

An American woman who walked free from El Buen Pastor prison on Tuesday after serving a 17 month sentence, told Newscorp she had helped support Cassie, along with another woman inside the jail.

“Because she is so young there are a lot of people trying to take advantage of her,” said the woman, who did not wish to be named.

Stuart Sainsbury, the father of accused Aussie drug smuggler, Cassandra. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

“Not only that, when she was at the police station they took most of her stuff — all of her clothes, her money.”

The woman said Cassie was receiving some support from Australian consular staff but was told she would only receive a visit every few months.

“She’s just wearing a sweater and pants and a top, the same ones. I offered her something but she said no thank you.”

Meanwhile it has emerged that Ms Sainsbury may have been arrested after a tip-off from US authorities.

“We found her because of an alert from the DEA (US Drug Enforcement Agency),” Bogota airport’s narcotics chief, Commander Rodrigo Soler, told News Corp Australia Network.

He said she had cleared security, checked her bag and was minutes away from boarding her flight when the alert came up.

“The alert said check this person so we pulled her aside and we searched her luggage and we arrested her. We asked ‘is this your bag, did you pack this?’. She said ‘yes’.”

Soler told The Australian Ms Sainsbury’s ticket, which was bought at the last minute by an unknown party in Hong Kong for a trip from Australia to Bogota via London, was one of several red flags that caused North American agencies to alert Colombian police.

The Adelaide woman’s family insists she is innocent and was set up by a Colombian man she met after arriving in the South American country on April 3 during a working holiday.

They say she bought the headphones from him to give as gifts to family and friends at her upcoming wedding.

A photo released by Colombia's National Police press shows Australian Cassandra Sainsbury in handcuffs after she was arrested at the international airport in Bogota, Colombia. Picture: Colombia's National Police via AP

A photo released by Colombia’s National Police press shows Australian Cassandra Sainsbury in handcuffs after she was arrested at the international airport in Bogota, Colombia. Picture: Colombia’s National Police via APSource:AP

An expert on the South American drug trade says there was no way the former fitness trainer would have the connections to sell almost $2 million worth of cocaine, and someone must have been waiting to receive it in Australia.

Rusty Young, wrote the book Marching Powder and is about to release a book Colombiano after living in Colombia for eight years. He said the South Australian woman’s story didn’t add up.

“Her version of events is not consistent with the way drug rings operate,” Mr Young told news.com.au yesterday.

“If you were planting $1 million worth of drugs in someone’s baggage, how were you intending to recover the drugs back in Australia?”

Ms Sainsbury’s sister Khala posted on a fundraising page that the 22-year-old was detained for drug trafficking at the airport in Bogota “waiting to depart back to Australia”. But it’s since been reported that Cassie may have intended to continue on her working holiday to make presentations in London, France and Hong Kong.

Her sister said she was not due back in Australia until Easter Saturday, April 15.

It’s unclear where the drugs were ultimately headed but Mr Young believes if they were being shipped to Australia, someone would have been waiting for them to come in.

“There’s no way a 22-year-old could have the connections to distribute and sell almost 6kg of cocaine,” he said.

“There must have been someone in Australia to receive those drugs.”

Mr Young also dismissed fears that Ms Sainsbury could be targeted by cartels while imprisoned in Colombia.

“That’s absolute nonsense,” he said. “Cartels don’t run drug mules through airports, they run tonnes of cocaine. There’s no professional Colombian organisation behind this.”

Despite concerns about Ms Sainsbury’s safety, Mr Young said he thought she would be physically safe in the overcrowded El Buen Pastor women’s jail.

“They would have put her in the foreign section with foreign inmates,” he said.

Australian diplomatic staff have also reportedly delivered her a mattress and blanket to use in her cell.

Mr Young said he also thought Ms Sainsbury would get a fair trial in Colombia, although justice would be slow.

Even if she plead guilty, Mr Young said it would probably still take six to nine months for her to go through the justice system. A trial would probably take three years just to reach a verdict and would cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Mr Young said his thoughts were with Ms Sainsbury and her family.

“They are in for a long and difficult journey,” he said.

A handout photo made available by the press office of the Colombian Anti-narcotics Police, on 01 May 2017 shows Australian citizen Cassandra Sainsbury during her detention with 5.8 kilos of cocaine at the International Airport the Dorado, in Bogota, Colombia, on 11 April 2017. Picture: EPA/Col Anti-narcotics Police

A handout photo made available by the press office of the Colombian Anti-narcotics Police, on 01 May 2017 shows Australian citizen Cassandra Sainsbury during her detention with 5.8 kilos of cocaine at the International Airport the Dorado, in Bogota, Colombia, on 11 April 2017. Picture: EPA/Col Anti-narcotics PoliceSource:AAP

Ms Sainsbury’s family has previously said the 22-year-old travelled to Colombia on April 3 for a working holiday. It’s unclear what visa she was travelling on and what job she was doing overseas.

There is no working holiday maker visa arrangement between Australia and Colombia, and working visas require Australians to prove they have a skill set Colombians don’t possess.

“The most common work visa would be for English teachers,” Mr Young said.

But Australians can enter Colombia for 90 days as a visitor without a visa.

It has also emerged that Ms Sainsbury was reportedly arrested following a tip-off from international drug agencies and her travel plans had raised suspicions, anti narco trafficking control, Colonel Rodrigo Soler, told The Australian.

The South Australian was arrested minutes before she was due to fly back to Australia from El Dorado International Airport in Bogota.

Colombian police have released a photo of the young Aussie in handcuffs standing in front of a table lined with 18 packages, which Ms Sainsbury thought were headphones she bought as wedding gifts and presents for her friends and family.

Jorge Mendoza, the ports and airports director for Colombia’s anti-narcotic police, says he doubted Ms Sainsbury didn’t know the drugs were hidden inside the packages.

“She could possibly be a drug mule,” Mendoza told ABC radio through an interpreter on Tuesday.

“In going through security we found she had 18 packets inside her luggage, which even before opening it we found covered in plastic.

“Her explanation is not credible. Everyone we catch says they didn’t know it was in their luggage.”

Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Triana, head of the anti-narcotics police at Bogota’s international airport was also sceptical about the Australian’s innocence.

He said Ms Sainsbury’s claims that she was deceived are probably untrue and in any case don’t excuse her actions.

“Everyone who is caught says exactly the same thing,” said Lt Colonel Triana, who added that many foreigners are lured by false promises of fast fortunes.”

As tourism to Colombia has boomed over the past decade, the country’s drug cartels are increasingly recruiting foreigners to smuggle cocaine out of the country. Police have arrested 19 foreign drug mules this year alone, Lt Colonel Triana said.

The Adelaide woman’s family insists she is innocent and was set up by a Colombian man she met after arriving in the South American country on April 3 during a working holiday.

But public comments made by her family about her case may have unwittingly put the 22-year-old in danger, The Australian has reported.

Senior Australian lawyers familiar with the case told the paper that if the cartels found out what Ms Sainsbury’s mother had been saying, she could be in danger inside the notorious El Buen Pastor jail where she is being held.

El Buen Pastor prison for women in Bogota, Colombia. Source: Roger Triana

El Buen Pastor prison for women in Bogota, Colombia. Source: Roger TrianaSource:Supplied

El Buen Pastor is Bogota’s biggest women’s prison, and inmates live in overcrowded and filthy conditions alongside violent criminals, their children and babies and corrupt guards who steal food brought to prisoners by their families.

On Monday, Ms Sainsbury’s mother Lisa Evans told KIIS that her daughter was facing a potential jail sentence of between 18 to 25 years, but if she pleaded guilty this would be reduced.

She said the minimum sentence was six years but this could be reduced to four if Ms Sainsbury provided information about the man who gave her the drugs.

Ms Evans said Cassie had trusted the man who gave her the drugs, and he had been acting as her translator in Colombia.

“He had been helping her all week, taking her around and showing her places, and just being a nice guy,” Ms Evans said.

It is understood lawyers in Australia have now advised the family not to make any further public comments and to take down an online fundraising campaign on FundRazr.

The campaign has raised more than $4000 for Ms Sainsbury and remains active, although many of the posts express scepticism about Cassie’s story.

Cassandra Sainsbury was arrested on drug charges in Colombia.

Cassandra Sainsbury was arrested on drug charges in Colombia.Source:Instagram

Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine and its police among the best-trained to detect and stop drug smuggling thanks in part to billions of dollars in US anti-narcotics aid that has strengthened law enforcement.

— With AP/AAP


Cassie Sainsbury Faces Up To 25 Years For 5.8kg Cocaine Haul

The Adelaide personal trainer says she was set up by a man she had just met.

01/05/2017 10:22 AM AEST | Updated 01/05/2017 2:30 PM AEST

GoFundMe

An Adelaide based personal trainer and volunteer firefighter is facing up to 25 years in a Colombian prison after 5.8 kilograms of cocaine was found in her suitcase.

Cassandra Sainsbury was arrested for drug trafficking offences at El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá when she went to catch her flight back to Australia following an eight-day working holiday in Colombia on April 11.

But her family say she is “naive” and had been set up by a man she had met who gave her what she believed was a package of headphones.

Sainsbury’s sister, Khala, told the media that a man she met while travelling offered to bulk buy the headphones cheaply for her, which she wanted as gifts for her bridal party at her upcoming wedding to fiance Scott Broadbridge.

Anyone that knows her would say she is a kind, loving, happy kind of girl.”

“Cassie, being young, said she’d do it. And it came to her already packaged and sealed so she put it straight in her suitcase not thinking,” Khala said. “She’s very naive.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to HuffPost Australia that they are assisting an Australian woman arrested in Colombia, but declined to give further details “due to our privacy obligations”.

Colombia is the world’s largest cocaine producer, providing more than half of the world’s illicit supply — 487 tons annually. Profits from the drug amount to around 1 per cent of the nation’s GDP and provide livelihoods for around 65,000 farming families in remote areas, according to UN estimates.

But the Government has cracked down on the drug trade in recent years in an attempt to clean up its image, with heavy penalties for those caught trafficking. The maximum penalty for trafficking cocaine is 25 years.

The Adelaide woman’s mother, Lisa Evans, told KIIS FM that Sainsbury is innocent, but is considering pleading guilty to reduce her sentence.

Facebook
Cassie Sainsbury with her fiance and “love of her life” Scott Broadbridge. The couple were preparing to wed early next year.

“If she pleads guilty the minimum is six years,” Evans said.

“If Cassie gives information about the person that gave her the package it may come down to four.”

Evans reportedly told Channel Nine’s Today Show she could not believe someone could do this to her daughter.

“Cassie is just, ‘I didn’t do it mum, you have got to get me out’ and crying hysterically,” Evans said.

Sainsbury has been denied bail and is currently in the notorious El Buen Pastor women’s prison, where she is sharing a cell with up to 250 women in squalid conditions. She is due to face trial in two months’ time, her family says.

The 22-year-old’s sister has set up a fundraising page to raise money towards Cassie’s legal costs.

“Cassie would never do anything like what she has been accused off,” Khala wrote on the page.

“Anyone that knows her would say she is a kind, loving, happy kind of girl. She would help anyone out in need.”

But the page has drawn criticism from some posters, who accused the family “begging” for money

After four days, the campaign had only raised $2,610 towards its $15,000 goal.


Cassandra Sainsbury: Accused cocaine smuggler ‘would have known drugs were in her bag’

03/05/17

An Australian woman used unsophisticated methods to try to conceal 18 packets of cocaine in her luggage and her family’s claims she was set up are not believable, Colombian drug authorities say.

Key points:

  • Colombian drug police say Australian woman would have known the drugs were in the bag
  • Cocaine in headphones “not really a very sophisticated mode of concealment”
  • Cassandra Sainsbury faces up to 20 years in jail

Adelaide’s Cassandra Sainsbury, 22, was arrested minutes before boarding a flight at Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport with 5.8 kilograms of cocaine wrapped in plastics bags and packed within boxes of headphones.

Family of the former personal trainer said she was an unwitting drug mule and the headphones were bought as gifts for bridal party guests.

Colonel Jorge Mendoza, the head of ports and airports for the Colombian drug enforcement police department, dismissed the family’s version of events, saying she would have known the narcotics were in her bags.

“There was not really a very sophisticated mode of concealment,” he said.

“The drugs were wrapped in bags, 18 packets as I said previously, inside her suitcase.

“So, it is difficult to say that she did not know that the substance was inside her suitcase.”

Ms Sainsbury’s sister Khala said the 22-year-old was in Colombia for a working holiday and the headphones were purchased from a contact.

Colonel Mendoza has previously said the arrest came as the result of a tip-off and was indistinguishable from a growing number of drug cases involving foreigners.

Colonel Mendoza has said he was confident the seizure would lead to jail time and depending on the quality of the drugs, the maximum penalty could be 20 years’ imprisonment.

A Colombian lawyer advised the family she plead guilty to reduce the sentence to a possible six years.

Ms Sainsbury’s family has raised thousands of dollars online to fund her legal defence and support her.

Ms Sainsbury has been transferred to the Colombian capital’s notorious El Buen Pastor women’s prison.

Joanna Adams, the daughter of a lawyer who has given legal advice to Ms Sainsbury, has told the ABC’s AM program her father said the Australian “has her up and downs”.

“Some days she’s good and some days she’s very bad,” Ms Adams said.

The 22-year-old was preparing to board a flight to London on her way back to Australia when she was arrested.

AP/ABC


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Benjamin Moorhouse filmed more than 200 people in Sydney public toilets, court told


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.

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 filmingOne 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.

AAP


 

Bourke Street Mow down Tragedy by Dimitrious Gargasoulas…. Standby (lost last edit)


Accused Bourke St driver Dimitrious Gargasoulas tells court ‘I am the saviour’

Posted about 5 hours ago

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

2017 Melbourne-Bourke Street Car Attacks Arrest.jpg

Police arrest the alleged perpetrator at 555 Bourke St

Location Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Date 20 January 2017 (2017-01-20)
1:30 pm (AEDT)
Attack type Vehicular attack
Deaths 6
Non-fatal injuries 36
Perpetrator Dimitrious Gargasoulas[1]

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.[2][3] Police have alleged that the victims were intentionally hit, and have charged the driver of the vehicle, Dimitrious Gargasoulas, with six counts of murder.[4]

Background

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.[5]

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.[5] He then took his pregnant girlfriend hostage; she was later released on the Bolte Bridge.[6]

Attack

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.[7] A child and two adults died at the scene,[8] while another man died in hospital before the end of the day, and a three-month-old baby boy the evening after the attack.[9] A sixth person died on 30 January.[10]

Victims

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,[11] 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.[12][13][10]

A memorial for the victims was held in Federation Square on 23 January,[14] and floral tributes were left by members of the public at nine locations along the Bourke Street Mall.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17]

Perpetrator

Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Graham Ashton confirmed that 26-year-old Dimitrious “Jimmy” Gargasoulas[18][19] had previously been remanded into custody and was known to police having a history of illicit drug use, family violence, and mental health problems.[20]

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”.[5] According to the Daily Express and Greece based TornosNews.gr, the perpetrator is a GreekTongan 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”.[21]

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”.[19] The perpetrator had allegedly stabbed his younger brother for being gay.[22]

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.[23][24]

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.[25]
18 January 2017
  • Gargasoulas attacks Gavin Wilson, his mother’s ex-partner, by thrusting a burning Bible in his face and stealing his car.[26]
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.”[27]
  • 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.[27]
  • 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.[28]
  • 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.[29]
  • 1:30 pm: Emergency services are flooded with calls with reports of a car doing burnouts outside Flinders Street Station.
  • 1:33 pm: The car in question drives north up Swanston Street.[30]
  • 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. [31]
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.[32]
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.

Responses

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.[33] 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.[34] 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.”[35]

Politicians

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten offered their prayers and deepest sympathies to the victims of the attack and their families.[36]

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews stated that “this was a terrible crime – a senseless, evil act” and promised that “justice will be done”.[37] 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.[38]

A review of the Victorian bail law will be undertaken.[39]

See also

References

  1. Jump up ^ David Hurley, Shannon Deery, Cassie Zervos and Kara Irving (21 January 2017). “Melbourne CBD rampage driver Dimitrious Gargasoulas allegedly warned ‘I’ll take you all out’ in chilling Facebook post”. Herald Sun. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  2. Jump up ^ Butt, Craig (20 January 2017). “As it happened: CBD horror, four dead, 31 hospitalised as car knocks down pedestrians”. Retrieved 20 January 2017. 
  3. Jump up ^ “Four dead in man’s Melbourne crime spree”. Retrieved 20 January 2017. 
  4. Jump up ^ “Bourke Street attack: Sixth murder charge for Dimitrious ‘Jimmy’ Gargasoulas”. The Age. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  5. ^ Jump up to: a b c “Bourke Street driver identified as James ‘Jimmy’ Gargasoulas”, Tammy Mills, Beau Donelly and Chris Vedelago, The Age, 20 January 2017.
  6. Jump up ^ “‘Die in hell’: Parents disown alleged rampage driver”. au.news.yahoo.com. 21 January 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2017. 
  7. Jump up ^ “Four dead in man’s Melbourne crime spree”, AAP, 20 January 2017.
  8. Jump up ^ “Death toll could rise from Vic car attack”. yahoo.com. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  9. Jump up ^ “Melbourne car attack: Bourke Street death toll reaches five after three-month-old baby dies”. ABC News. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  10. ^ Jump up to: a b McKay, Zervos, Holly, Cassie. “Blackburn South woman dies in hospital after Bourke St rampage”. Herald Sun. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  11. Jump up ^ https://www.theage.com.au/victoria/bourke-street-chaos-10yearold-girl-thalia-hakin-killed-in-cbd-carnage-20170121-gtw40v.html
  12. Jump up ^ Miletic, Carolyn Webb, Daniella (22 January 2017). “Bourke Street attack: City in mourning after baby boy dies, taking death toll to five”. 
  13. Jump up ^ “Two victims of CDB rampage named”. Herald Sun. 22 January 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  14. Jump up ^ Burin and staff, Margaret (24 January 2017). “Melbourne car attack: Bourke Street victims remembered at vigil in Federation Square”. ABC News. 
  15. Jump up ^ DAVIES, HAMBLIN, FLOWER, HURLEY, BRIDGET, ANDREA, WAYNE, DAVID (23 January 2017). “Love flows for CBD massacre victims”. Herald Sun. 
  16. Jump up ^ “Bourke Street tributes left for victims of attack to be removed as appeal nears $1 million”. ABC News. 30 January 2017. 
  17. Jump up ^ Woods, Emily (31 January 2017). “One bunch at a time, Bourke Street’s floral memorial is carefully moved on”. The Age. 
  18. Jump up ^ “How The Bourke Street Rampage Was Quickly Claimed To Be ‘Islamic Terrorism'”. 
  19. ^ Jump up to: a b “Driver accused of deadly carnage in Melbourne CBD named”, Herald Sun, Andie Hamblin, Padraic Murphy, Mark Buttler, 20 January 2017.
  20. Jump up ^ Ltd, Australian News Channel Pty. “Four killed in Melbourne CBD attack”. Retrieved 20 January 2017. 
  21. Jump up ^ “‘His dad called me an Aussie sl*t,’ says old friend of Melbourne driver”. NewsComAu. Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  22. Jump up ^ “‘No one could’ve predicted what he did'”. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  23. Jump up ^ “BREAKING: Terror Attack in Australia? Vehicle Plows into Pedestrians in Melbourne”. Homeland Security. Retrieved 2017-04-12. 
  24. Jump up ^ Lion, Patrick (2017-01-20). “Police deny Melbourne rampage was terrorism after witness ‘heard Allahu Akbar”‘”. mirror. Retrieved 2017-04-12. 
  25. Jump up ^ Cooper, Adam (23 January 2017). “Bourke Street: Alleged killer refuses to appear in court”. The Age. Retrieved 23 January 2017. 
  26. Jump up ^ “Melbourne CBD attack: Timeline that led to Bourke Street tragedy”. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  27. ^ Jump up to: a b “Melbourne CBD horror: Driver seen at Dogs Bar before Bourke Street attack”. 21 January 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  28. Jump up ^ “Bourke Street tragedy: Driver appeared on TV hours before pedestrians killed”. 21 January 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  29. Jump up ^ “Melbourne car incident: What happened where?”. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  30. Jump up ^ “CCTV footage shows pedestrians dodging Melbourne driver”. ABC. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2017. 
  31. Jump up ^ “Five deceased following Bourke Street Mall incident in Melbourne”. Victoria Police. 21 January 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  32. Jump up ^ Cooper, Adam (23 January 2017). “Bourke Street: Alleged killer refuses to appear in court”. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  33. Jump up ^ “Melbourne car attack: Leaders pay respects to Bourke St victims, Premier mulls changes to bail laws”, Loretta Florance and Frances Bell, ABC News, 22 January 2017.
  34. Jump up ^ “Four dead after shots fired and car rampage in Melbourne CBD”, Andrew Koubaridis, Debbie Schipp, Matt Young, Emma Reynolds, news.com.au, 22 January 2017.
  35. Jump up ^ “Four killed, 30 injured after car mows down pedestrians in Melbourne”, Helen Davidson, Calla Wahlquist and agencies, The Guardian, 21 January 2017.
  36. Jump up ^ “Australian leaders react to the car rampage in Melbourne’s CBD”. The Canberra Times. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  37. Jump up ^ “Statement on Bourke Street”, Daniel Andrews, 20 January 2017.
  38. Jump up ^ “The Bourke Street Fund”, State Government of Victoria.
  39. Jump up ^ “Deadly Bourke St rampage prompts bail law reform in Victoria”. ABC News. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017. 

Save

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39 dead in New Year ‘terror attack’ on Istanbul nightclub Reina


January 1 2017 – 9:06PM

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

Some witnesses spoke of multiple attackers, but officials have not confirmed this.

 

“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 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.

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.

 

Her husband Lutfu Uyanik was wounded in the attack.

 

 

 

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.

DPA/Reuters/AP/New York Times/Washington Post


abc.net.au

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.

Key points:

  • 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.

ABC/wires

Topics: terrorism, unrest-conflict-and-war, turkey

First posted about 11 hours agoSun 1 Jan 2017, 10:25am

Drug ring raids net historic $360m cocaine haul


abc.net.au

Drug ring raids net historic $360m cocaine haul

By Siobhan Fogarty

Updated 18 minutes ago

Thu 29 Dec 2016, 12:17pm

A former NRL player and a Bondi businessman have been linked to a drug ring after New South Wales Police recorded the biggest cocaine haul in Australia’s history.

Key points:

  • 1.1 tonnes of cocaine worth $360 million seized by AFP and NSW police
  • Two seizures of cocaine make the biggest haul of the drug in Australian history
  • 15 men arrested including a former NRL player and a Bondi businessman

The joint strike force between Australian Federal Police and the New South Wales Police drug squad arrested 15 men and seized about $360 million worth of cocaine.

Former Roosters player John Tobin is one of the accused smugglers, along with Bondi businessman Darren Mohr.

The criminal syndicate was allegedly using a trawler based at the Sydney Fish Market to meet a “mother ship” from South America to bring drugs into the country.

About 500 kilograms of the drug was seized on Christmas Day at Brooklyn on the central coast of New South Wales.

Police allege 600 kilograms was seized in Tahiti and 32 kilograms of heroin was found in Fiji with both loads destined for the market in Australia.

Acting Assistant Commissioner, Chris Sheehan, said the police operation had been running for almost three years and escalated with the arrests over the Christmas period.

“The criminal syndicate we have dismantled over the last few days was a robust, resilient and determined syndicate,” he said.

“This is the largest cocaine seizure we have had in Australia.

“It posed an ongoing and continued threat to the Australian community and without the work of our police, would still be in action today.”

Tip-off from community led to bust

Assistant Police Commissioner, Mark Jenkins said a member of the community gave them a tip-off two and a half years ago that led to the cocaine haul.

“As a result, over one tonne of drugs has been prevented from reaching the streets of New South Wales and harming the community,” he said.

“That small piece of information has resulted in 15 arrests and a large seizure of drugs.”

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

Video: Police seized 500kg worth of cocaine in NSW (ABC News)

Officers allege the group of men, aged from 29 to 63, are involved in the Australian criminal syndicate responsible for the attempted imports.

They have been charged with serious drug importation offences and eleven of the 15 men have appeared before Parramatta Local Court and were refused bail.

A 49-year-old man and a 63-year-old man are due to appear before Central Local Court today.

Two other men, a 33-year-old and 39-year-old are also expected to front Nowra Local Court today after they were arrested at Ulladulla yesterday.

Police said they were confident all alleged members of the criminal syndicate were in custody.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

Video: Arrests made after $360m worth of cocaine seized (ABC News)

Topics: crime, law-crime-and-justice, drug-offences, nsw

First posted about 4 hours agoThu 29 Dec 2016, 7:48am


smh.com.au

Police smash cocaine ring at Sydney Fish Market in Christmas Day raid

By Rachel Olding, Latika Bourke, Rachel Browne

A former rugby league first grade player, a Bondi entrepreneur and a several fishermen are among 15 men arrested on Christmas Day in a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring bust.

Police will allege the men were imported more than a tonne of cocaine via the iconic Sydney Fish Market and other NSW ports.

Australian Federal Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan described the alleged syndicate as “robust, resilient and determined”.

He told a packed Sydney press conference that the 15 arrested men were “determined to exploit some of the most vulnerable members of the community.”

The seizure of 500kg of cocaine in Sydney, 600kg of the drug in Tahiti and 32kg of heroin in Fiji make it the largest drug bust of its kind in Australia.

NSW Police State Crime Commander Mark Jenkins said all the drugs originated in South America before being transferred across the South Pacific by ship.

Several of the men were arrested on Christmas Day as they docked a shipping vessel named Dalrymple at the Sydney Fish Markets.

It’s alleged the boat was used to ferry drugs between NSW ports and a larger ship stationed out at sea that held drugs smuggled from Chile.

Operation Okesi, comprising officers from NSW Police, Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force, started over two-and-a-half-years after police received a “thread” of information.

Since then, five alleged importations by the sophisticated syndicate have been thwarted.

It includes the seizure of 32 kilograms of heroin by authorities in Fiji in December 2014 and the seizure of 606 kilograms of cocaine by authorities in Tahiti in March.

Officers then observed the Dalrymple depart the Sydney Fish Markets on December 3 and travel to the Central Coast. The vessel was monitored by Maritime Border Command and the NSW Police’s Marine Area Command.

On Christmas night, officers watched the crew launch a small one-man dinghy which allegedly travelled to Parlsey Bay at Brooklyn on the NSW Central Coast and met with two other men.

All three were arrested and about 500 kilograms of cocaine was seized from the dinghy.

Several other men were arrested on board the Dalrymple vessel as it docked at Sydney Fish Market on Christmas night.

A police source told Fairfax Media the syndicate thought they could take advantage of the festive season by striking on Christmas Day.

Authorities valued the total amount of cocaine seized at $360 million.

Among the men arrested is former Eastern Suburbs Roosters player John Roland Boyd Tobin, who played 125 matches as lock forward in the 1980s.

Bondi entrepreneur Darren John Mohr was also arrested. He lists his occupation as the owner Martini Motors and is also the former owner of the Bondi Rescue HQ cafe.

His Instagram profile shows a love of Harley Davidson motorbikes, Rolls Royce cars and being shirtless.

Police also arrested Reuben John Dawe, who lists his occupation as a maritime worker and commercial fisherman Joseph Pirrello, 63.

Other man arrested in the sting include Simon Peter Spero, 56, Graham Toa Toa, 42, Stuart Ayrton, 54, Jonathan Cooper, 29, Richard Lipton, 37, Frank D’Agostino, 54, and Benjamin Sara, 31.

They were all refused bail in Parramatta Bail Court on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Two other men, extradited from Tasmania and Queensland, will appear in Parramatta Bail Court on Thursday as well as two men arrested in the Nowra area.

Footage released by police show multiple men being arrested in the dark from on-board the Dalrymple fishing vessel.

One of the men shown with his hands tied behind his back is wearing only a pair of boxer shorts covered in cartoon pictures of crocodiles.

“This operation has been running for more than two-and-a-half years and culminated over the Christmas period,” a police statement reads.

The men were aged between 29 and 63 years old.  Police are due to address the media at 11am on Thursday.