Sunday, March 04, 2018

Former police officer found not guilty of misconduct after leaking footage

The vindictive prosecution of a whistleblower who should in fact have been praised casts a dark shadow over the reputation of the QPS.  It shows the police as having no morality at all.  They were furious that Flori revealed the ugly truth about them and desperately wanted to get back at him. 

Now that their prosecution has failed, it is surely time to ask some very challenging questions of ‎Ian Stewart, the Queensland police chief.

The prosecution was undoubtedly stressful for Flori -- as would have been intended -- but there was a silver lining to his dark cloud. After her own victory over a crooked cop and his QPS defenders, Renee Eaves has done a lot to help other innocent victims of the police. So she flew to Fiori's side when his prosecution was announced and has given him support ever since. And as well as a her strength of character and iron will, Renee is absolutely gorgeous. A former bikini beauty, she is a dream walking. Having her nearby would soothe most troubled male souls.

You see her walking beside Fiori below.  I had the great privilege to help her once when she badly needed it

A FORMER Queensland police sergeant who leaked footage of officers bashing a handcuffed man in a Gold Coast station basement has been found not guilty of misconduct.

Rick Flori, 47, was acquitted of the charge by a majority 11-1 verdict by a jury on Wednesday following a six-day trial at the Southport District Court.

Flori, who has since resigned from the Queensland Police Service, says he released the footage of the January 2012 arrest to cast a spotlight on illegal practices within the force.

Flori released footage of police at the Surfers Paradise station bashing a handcuffed man, Noa Begic, in a basement car park in January 2012.

Once the footage was run by The Courier-Mail, an internal investigation lead to a search of Flori’s home where the footage was located on an SD card.

Flori told investigators he’d acquired the footage for “training purposes” and denied knowing anything about the email address used to arrange the leak with a journalist.

Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller said Flori was upset at being overlooked for a promotion to senior sergeant in 2011.

Once he realised the footage included the man who had been given the promotion at his expense, Senior Sergeant David Joachim, he’d set about leaking it to discredit his rival, Mr Fuller argued.

Mr Fuller said in the email sent to the journalist, Flori failed to mention any of the other officers involved except for Sen Sgt Joachim, despite Senior Constable Ben Lamb being the man who kneed and punched Mr Begic.

“The email doesn’t even mention Constable Lamb,” Mr Fuller said. “His attack is on David Joachim. Rank. Name. Position.”

Mr Lamb was later disciplined for his actions, receiving a suspended dismissal from the police service.

Flori’s barrister, Saul Holt QC, labelled the accusation of a vendetta by his client against Sen Sgt Joachim as nonsense.

Mr Holt said Flori had made complaints about several other officers during his career and his behaviour towards Sen Sgt Joachim wasn’t exceptional.

“Rick Flori is happy to complain about anybody if the complaint is valid,” Mr Holt said.

“David Joachim is no more than a mild irritant in Rick Flori’s history of making complaints.” Mr Holt said Flori’s motivation to leak the footage was “pure” and intended to ensure those responsible for the violent arrest were exposed.

“This incident is astonishing ... the fact we know about it through the leak is a good thing.”


Australia's internet speeds over the next ten years with peak below the 50mb/s threshold that NBN says it will provide

The Green's NBN Spokesperson, Senator Jordon Steele-John, says the speeds in the report are already below international standards, and would cement Australia’s position as a second-rate digital player globally.

The report has been described by the Greens as "sloppy, unfounded and deliberately vague".

Senator Steele-John says connecting to the Turnbull government's "mixed technology mongrel" National Broadband Network has "overwhelmingly been a negative experience – in terms of cost, connectivity and speed – for individuals and businesses."

"What this report suggests, almost comically, is that the requirements of Australian internet users will plateau at or near current speeds over the next decade, with an average peak requirement of 49mb/s conveniently peaking just under the 50mb/s promise of this government."

Senator Steele-John says there is no historical data on Australia's bandwidth requirements and therefore no real accurate predictions on what might be needed into the future.

He points out that 24 hour trends are not reliable data sets for a decade-long prediction.

"What the report fails to acknowledge, in basing its predictions on current uptake, is the extremely cost-prohibitive nature of the speed packages offered by the NBN and their ability to actually achieve those claimed speeds," Senator Steele-John said.

"Australians are fed up with the NBN compromise and want access to a network that meets our current and future digital needs."


Bupa strips extras payments for budget custoners

Australia’s largest health fund has told almost a million members their ­restricted cover for procedures such as hip and knee replacements has been removed.

A consumer group has expressed alarm at the decision by Australia’s largest health fund to downgrade the policies of more than a third of its members.

From July, Bupa will amend about 720,000 policies so the restricted cover those members have for certain services, paying minimal benefits, becomes an outright exclusion. This will ­include hip and knee replacements, pregnancy, IVF, cataract procedures, obesity and some plastic surgery, areas in which insurers have for years allowed members to downgrade in an ­effort to reduce their premiums.

The specialties that perform these procedures leave patients with some of the biggest average gap fees, or out-of-pocket expenses, after insurance benefits are paid. Restricted cover also means the insurer would only pay for private hospital care at a rate equivalent to that of a shared room in a public hospital.

In one email to members, Bupa said “feedback from customers has shown the value of ‘minimum benefits’ (restricted cover) included in their health cover was not clear”.

The CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, today urged dissatisfied Bupa members to shop around and said the decision reflected everything that was wrong with the industry.

“This change by one of Australia’s biggest health funds, highlights how the twin demons of out of pocket costs and policy complexity are adding up to a poor deal for consumers,” Ms Wells said.

“It highlights how complicated the whole process of private health cover has become and how out of pocket costs are forcing both individual members and the health funds to make changes that in turn diminish cover.

“It also raises the question of the declining utility of health insurance if people are being forced to consider less expensive policies which have the effect of leaving them with cover for the very treatments they may need in the future.”

Several authorities, including the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, have warned the rise in restrictions and exclusions in cover has exposed members to the risk of having no cover when they need it. The highest number of consumer complaints in the past quarter were about restrictions and exclusions.

A Bupa spokesman would not say how much would be saved but insisted the insurer was “redistributing that money into a lower premium increase and additional benefits such as introducing gap free dental care on a number of common preventive dental services at selected dentists”.

The spokesman said Bupa would waive hospital waiting periods for any members who wanted to continue being covered for any of those procedures and upgrade their policy before July.

Insurers are required to notify the Department of Health of any significant policy changes, although last month the reporting system was closed down, meaning there are now only emails.

The department, or minister, can only block policy changes if they breach legislation. At present, the only services required to be covered by insurers, at least at minimum benefit (restricted cover) level, are psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care.

Senior federal health bureaucrat Charles Maskell-Knight yesterday said he understood the industry had seen a need to ­convert restrictions to exclusions, perhaps to clarify what policies covered. “Bupa’s late coming to this,” Dr Maskell-Knight said. “There’s lot of other insurers that already offer policies that do exactly that.”

The Turnbull government has promised Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic Bronze categories of insurance from April 2019, with standardised clinical definitions. It is understood only policies in the Gold category would have no restrictions, and the areas affected by the Bupa changes could even be restricted in, or excluded from, ­Silver policies.

A ministerial advisory committee, headed by Chief Medical ­Officer Brendan Murphy, is examining out-of-pocket expenses. Professor Murphy yesterday said all stakeholders “agree that there is a problem with out-of-pocket costs” and it was hoped that GPs, and patients, could have more information on high-charging specialists before referral.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has promised reforms to improve transparency and contain costs. Some Bupa members who received the email about their restrictions were notified of 10 per cent fee increases at the same time. Other insurers have reportedly slugged some members with 25 per cent rises.


People on Centrelink benefits to face drug tests

A controversial plan to drug test welfare recipients is set to be trialed in three locations across Australia. New laws were set to be introduced to parliament Wednesday after the coalition endorsed new proposed laws.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan told parliament on Tuesday the trial was 'not about taking away payments', but rather 'helping those people with a problem get treatment'.

'This is about helping them help themselves and then get a job,' Mr Tehan said.

Mr Tehan said an extra $10 million would be set aside for drug and alcohol treatment support at the three trial sites in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

Sites were set to be established in Canterbury-Bankstown (NSW), Logan (QLD) and Mandurah (WA).

'We will also provide $1 million for an independent, third party to evaluate the trial while it is in operation,' he said. 'If there are serious unintended consequences, the government will act.'

The Turnbull government had originally hoped to drug test 5000 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients from January.

But the government acknowledged in December it did not have the numbers in the Senate to pass it, and the trial was stripped out of a welfare reform bill.

Doctors and community groups were deeply critical of the drug tests, arguing they would prove an expensive, paternalistic and potentially damaging waste of time.

Under the plan, anyone who tested positive would be shunted onto cashless welfare cards, while those who failed more than once would be referred to medical professionals for treatment.

Mr Tehan said the bill included measures to help victims of domestic violence and the homeless.

'I say to those opposite that this is a trial. We encourage you to work with us,' he said.

Labor said there was no change to its opposition to the proposed laws, while Greens senator Rachel Siewert said the 'overwhelming evidence' from experts showed it would not work. 'It has already been rejected by the Senate, and for good reason,' Senator Siewert said in a statement.

Penington Institute chief executive John Ryan called for the bill to be scrapped.

'These are people who rely on these social security payments for the bare necessities and this plan risks pushing them into crime or homelessness,' he said.    

A Parliamentary Budget Office report found the largest group of new disability support pension recipients were people with psychological conditions, which was often linked with substance misuse.

They were also found to be far younger than average recipients and could receive the pension for more than 20 years.

Previously unpublished data also showed 260 jobseekers had chosen to enter drug and alcohol rehabilitation or treatment instead of finding jobs.

The most 'work ready' unemployed - who were typically on the dole or youth allowance - were allowed to receive addiction treatment in lieu of looking for work as part of the regime introduced on January 1.

Meanwhile, those who were in Stream C - typically receiving the DSP - were already allowed to select this option and were doing so in large numbers.

There were more than 520 welfare recipients in the category receiving treatment, according to The Australian. 

Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon said more people with mental health problems were seeking help because of a lifting stigma.

'But I think we are seeing an increased burden in society more generally and a greater demand for services,' he said. 


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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