Friday, September 17, 2021

Greenie teacher guilty of common assault after putting a plastic bag over handicapped student’s head

A demonstration of what can happen to marine animals caught in plastic bags has left a Sunshine Coast teacher awaiting sentencing for common assault.

Jesslee Ann Regmi, 56, was demonstrating to a class the impacts of plastics on wildlife, specifically turtles, when she placed a plastic bag over the head of a young teenager without his consent on July 25, 2019.

Magistrate Rod Madsen found Regmi guilty of common assault after the matter went to a hearing in May.

During his judgment in Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Thursday, September 16, Mr Madsen said he found Regmi’s actions to be unlawful.

The court heard Regmi had approached the teen from behind and placed the bag over his head to show the class what can happen if plastics end up in the ocean and how marine animals can be harmed.

Despite Regmi giving evidence she had approached the teen in his line of vision before she placed the bag over his face, and not his head, Mr Madsen said the evidence given by the teacher aides who were in the class gave a clear picture of what occurred the day of the offence.

“All of the witnesses say the plastic bag was completely placed over the head of the complainant,” Mr Madsen said.

The court heard Regmi had in her defence argued the teen had given her permission to place the bag over his face and stood up during the presentation.

However, Mr Madsen said the teen, who had the intellectual capabilities of a six-year-old and was non-verbal according to evidence given by his mother, could not have implied any form of consent during the interaction with the plastic bag.

“In my view, I think it would not have been reasonable for the defendant to rely upon a non-verbal response of an intellectually impaired person to the demonstration, given she had some knowledge and experience with him,” he said.

The court heard the teacher aides present in the class had alerted the school principal the following day after they had felt the demonstration was “a bad idea”.

“The clear and overwhelming evidence was that in conducting the lesson, the defendant grabbed a plastic bag, placed it completely over the head of the child and then removed it without his consent,” Mr Madsen said.

“In my view, clearly a child like (the victim) should never have been exposed to that demonstration, particularly as he had limited capabilities.

“Clearly as he had an intellectual impairment, clearly he was never reasonably able to give consent.”

Regmi, who remains on bail, will be sentenced on Thursday, September 23.


Voluntary assisted dying ["euthanasia"] will become legal in Queensland following a historic and emotional victory in State Parliament

Queensland MPs voted 61-30 to legalised assisted dying on Thursday evening.

From 2023 Queenslanders suffering a terminal illness that is expected to cause death within 12 months will be able to choose when to end their life.

Clem Jones Trust chairman David Muir said there was an “overwhelming sense of relief” for terminally ill patients and their families. “Terminally ill patients are the centrepiece of this legislation and their families too, this is for their benefit,” he said.

“For many years polling in the community has shown this legislation and this issue is very popular with around 80 per cent approval.”

Deputy Opposition Leader David Janetzki attempted to amend the Bill, introducing 54 clauses including the provision to expand conscientious objection to include doctors and health practitioners.


Religious schools in Victoria are banned from sacking or refusing to hire staff because they are LGBTQ

New rules will come into effect in Victoria which bans religious schools from discriminating against staff who identify as LGBTQIA+.

The schools will no longer be able to sack staff or refuse to hire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Under current laws, 'faith-based' organisations are allowed to discriminate employees based on their sexuality, gender and marital status due to a gap in legislation.

Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said the state government would now look to close the 'unfair, hurtful' loophole that allows schools to use religion as the basis for its decision. 'People shouldn't have to hide who they are to keep their job,' Ms Symes said in a statement.

'We're closing this unfair, hurtful gap in our laws so that Victoria's LGBTIQ+ community won't have to pretend to be someone they're not, just to do the job they love.

'These laws strike the right balance between protecting the LGBTIQ+ community from discrimination and supporting the fundamental rights of religious bodies and schools to practice their faith.'

The new legislation means teachers and staff will be protected from getting the sack from religious institutions when disclosing their sexual orientation.

Foreseeably the move has sparked heated debate amongst the religious community with Lobby group Christian Schools Australia describing the state's proposal as an 'attack on people of faith'.

The group's public policy director Mark Spencer said it would oppose the legislation that he believed could 'change the nature of Christian schools'. 'Why is the Government trying to dictate to a Christian school who it can employ or in what role?' Mr Spencer said.

'The Attorney-General can choose all her staff on the basis of their political beliefs – why can't Christian schools simply choose all their staff on their religious beliefs?'

Ms Symes told The Age under the new reforms any discrimination against potential employees would need to be 'reasonable' and an important part of the job.

'For example, a school couldn't refuse to hire a gay or transgender person because of their identity but might be able to prevent that person being a religious studies teacher because of their religious belief,' she said.


Push to make sexual consent education compulsory in Australian curriculum to stem assaults

Sexual assault survivors and advocates say consent education needs to be compulsory, explicitly about intimate relationships and taught much earlier in all Australian schools.

And with the Australian curriculum undergoing its once-in-a-six-year review, they believe the opportunity for change is now.

In February 2021, then-university student Chanel Contos asked on Instagram, "have you or has anyone close to you ever been sexually assaulted by someone who went to a single sex school in Sydney?"

In the six months since then, her website, "Teach Us Consent", has received more than 6,000 testimonies and about 43,000 people have signed her Petition For Consent To Be Included In Australian Schools' Sex Education Earlier.

"The majority of signatories are now at university or in their early years of the workforce," Ms Contos said.

"They understand all too well the long-lasting impacts sexual assault has not just on the victim, but on their friends, family and wider community, so they're advocating for younger generations to receive the education that they were either deprived of or received far too late."

On Thursday, Teach Us Consent convened a roundtable, bringing together experts, political leaders and people with lived experience to discuss how respectful relationship, sex and consent education is best embedded in the national curriculum.

Ms Contos said consent needed to be mandated and taught in a way explicit to romantic relationships, at the same time children learnt about the biology of sex, in years 7, 8,9 and 10.

"We can save school-aged kids from experiencing sexual violence by introducing holistic, well-supported sexuality education earlier in the Australian national curriculum," she said.

Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia chief executive Hayley Foster said the ramifications of sexual assault could be lifelong, particularly for the victim.

"Children as young as 10 are getting their sex education from mainstream pornography, the vast majority of which depicts aggressive, non-consensual, violent, and degrading behaviour, and we're not stepping in to provide them with a reality check," Ms Foster said.

"Through our inaction, we're putting young people in harm's way and stealing their futures in the process."




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