Friday, April 24, 2009

Man wins $300,000 after vicious assault by NSW police goon

A NSW man is set to receive more than $300,000 in damages after successfully suing the State for assault and malicious prosecution. Allan Frederick Hathaway, now 45, sued the State over his arrest in Wagga Wagga in February 2003, which resulted in his admission to hospital and surgery for facial fractures.

Justice Carolyn Simpson accepted the evidence of Mr Hathaway, who complained he was beaten with a baton by a constable who discovered him hiding in the bedroom of a stranger's house after a police pursuit. Mr Hathaway has admitted to refusing to stop after being seen driving while disqualified in an unregistered car, sparking the pursuit.

The NSW Supreme Court judge concluded Mr Hathaway had been maliciously prosecuted by police on charges of possessing a knife with intent to prevent lawful apprehension, and breaking and entering a dwelling house and stealing a knife. The judge concluded the knife, which belonged to the absent householder, had been placed in the bedroom by a police officer or officers after Mr Hathaway was taken from the scene.

But she said Mr Hathaway failed to demonstrate he had been maliciously prosecuted in relation to charges of assaulting two officers and resisting another. The judge awarded $100,000 in damages in relation to the malicious prosecution. The overall damages figure, which is yet to be calculated, will be above $300,000 and will include $65,000 for general damages.


More details of this appalling episode and the gross police misconduct -- including both destruction and planting of evidence -- here. The goon involved was eventually arrested and charged but got off! It's very hard to nail a crooked cop -- particularly when his superiors are as crooked as he is and do all they can to protect him -- as happened in this case according to the official inquiry.

The charming NSW government ambulance service again

Culture of sarcasm familiar to another victim

THE sarcasm and insensitivity of ambulance call operators towards dying teenager David Iredale is all too familiar for Gareth Redshaw, who was called a "blatant hoaxer" when he called for help minutes after the Waterfall train disaster. Mr Redshaw, then 19, managed to kick a hole in the glass door of the overturned train carriage and climb up an embankment to call triple-0 from his mobile phone about 7.30am on January 31, 2003.

But the operator who took his first call told a clearly distressed Mr Redshaw that his story was unbelievable and a second, more senior operator also accused him of a hoax. In alarming parallels to evidence given at the inquest into Mr Iredale's death, call operators behaved as if Mr Redshaw was a teenage prankster when he could not provide an exact location of the derailment, which occurred in thick bushland between Waterfall and Helensburgh stations.

The Ambulance Service later apologised for questioning the validity of Mr Redshaw's calls and he was told by divisional management that operators would be given more information to help them distinguish between genuine and hoax calls. But yesterday Mr Redshaw, now 25, said the organisation had clearly failed to implement measures that would ensure the situation did not arise again. "I was promised that the issue of failing to deal with people who couldn't provide a cross-street would be rectified and I am disappointed that management has again failed to act. "The whole culture of the ambulance service needs an overhaul."

Mr Redshaw later told police attending the scene the operators "didn't seem to understand that it was on a railway". "They were saying, 'What suburb, what street' and I was saying there was no suburb, it's on a train line, the train's derailed." But a recording played at the special commission of inquiry into the disaster shows the two operators were sceptical.

Leyla Spinelli admitted she did not take the call seriously as she had found the idea of a whole train overturning "incredible". She had been suspicious after a spate of similar prank calls in the days before the accident and because Mr Redshaw's mobile number did not show up on her screen. "You rang up yesterday and told me … about someone hurting themselves in Queanbeyan, didn't you?" He said: "Queanbeyan? No, I told you I'm serious. F---in' train derailed here."

When Brad Deering took over the call he said: "Gareth, you're not mucking us around, are you mate?" and "Well, if this really happened the railway will know about it."

An Ambulance Service spokesman said procedures for incidents in remote or isolated areas with no street address were changed in 2008.


Criminologist appeals against biker laws

I don't always agree with "Narcissus" Wilson but he is right on this

Evidence, not emotion, should dictate new bikie laws, warns an Australian criminologist. Professor Paul Wilson from Bond University has written to the Queensland government branding proposed new bikie laws draconian and undemocratic. "The Queensland government's proposal to impose tough legislation on bikies sets a dangerous precedent," Prof Wilson said. "It opens up the potential for government to arbitrarily apply these criminal 'association' laws to any political opponents or religious groups to whom it takes a dislike."

His warning follows a push for states to adopt tough new laws after the Hells Angels and Comancheros were involved in a fatal brawl at Sydney airport last month. The laws would mean a club could be deemed illegal if police believe its members are involved in criminal activity.

But Prof Wilson said official figures showed gang-related violence represented just 0.6 per cent of all crime, with biker gang-related violence only amounting to 0.3 per cent of crime in total. "In deciding how to deal with any type of organised crime, including biker crime, modern democratic governments should not be persuaded by political propaganda or lobbying by interest groups, but rather, by evidence-based research and best practice," Prof Wilson said. "Rigorous investigation of individual offenders and effective crime-prevention schemes should be encouraged. "There is no evidence that supports the effectiveness of tougher laws targeting groups rather than individual criminals."

The NSW and South Australian governments have already passed tough new bikie laws.


The United Nations facilitates illegal immigration to Australia

People smugglers are using the chaotic registration process of the UNHCR to make it easier for asylum seekers to get to Australia by boat.

Since the beginning of March, 483 Afghan asylum seekers have turned up at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Jakarta but none has been formally registered with Indonesian authorities. The Indonesians were unaware precisely where the asylum seekers were living and, in some instances, had not even been told they had arrived, said Ade Endang Dachlan, a senior Indonesian immigration intelligence officer who heads the department's Bogor office.

"This should not happen," Mr Dachlan said. "The UNHCR office should only issue refugee processing status based on the recommendation from the immigration office. "Since we can't get hold of them [the asylum seekers] and closely monitor their whereabouts, they have plenty of chance to escape and use illegal ways to enter a third country such as Australia."

Raids this month in Bogor netted 22 asylum seekers who carried genuine UNHCR papers but were not registered with the Department of Immigration. Mr Dachlan said it was only the tip of the iceberg, adding that people smugglers were exploiting the "loophole" - staying in touch with asylum seekers until "such time as the syndicates can get them access to Australian borders".

Ali Khatri, one of the Afghans snared in the Bogor raid, said a people smuggler had given him the address of the UNHCR office, told him to go straight there when he arrived in Jakarta, and he was assured that, by turning up, he would have protection as a refugee. He denied he planned to go to Australia, though others at the same villa said they were prepared to make the crossing. They asked not to be named. "The UNHCR gave us some papers, like an appointment slip," Mr Khatri said, adding he was not told to register with Indonesian police or immigration. "We just left and went back to our hotel in Jakarta. Then we came to Bogor because it was cheaper."

Bogor is a mountainous holiday area 1½ hours' drive from Jakarta and a favoured hideout for asylum seekers. The 22 caught in Bogor were only a small fraction of an estimated 2000 Afghans in Indonesia looking to come to Australia.

A spokeswoman for the UNHCR in Jakarta, Anita Restu, said 483 Afghans had come to its Jakarta office in the past seven weeks alone. "Because of this influx, we have just given them appointment slips," she said. They were not formally registered because "it takes too long to go through our system and there's so many people". Even if Indonesian authorities were told of the arrivals, "we cannot give out the address of the asylum seeker", she said.


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