Monthly Archives: August 2019

2019
08/15

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Vic court upholds terror trio’s jail terms

Three Islamic extremists who planned to gun down as many Australian soldiers as possible in an attack on a Sydney army base have lost their bid to overturn their convictions and jail terms.

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Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 36, Saney Edow Aweys, 30, and Nayef El Sayed, 29, had their appeals dismissed in the Victorian Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

The trio planned to go on a shooting spree at Holsworthy Army Base to advance the cause of Islam, which they believed was under attack from the West.

They were jailed for 18 years with a non-parole period of 13 and a half years in 2011.

Each of the men’s failed appeals relied on claims that sentencing judge Justice Betty King erred in her directions to the jury, and that a build-up of errors caused a miscarriage of justice.

But Justices Geoffrey Nettle, Peter Buchanan and Pamela Tate unanimously rejected the grounds of appeal.

The Crown had counter-appealed against the lenience of the sentences but that was also dismissed on Wednesday.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) criticised Justice King’s sentence as inadequate for a plot which it said could have had devastating consequences.

“Her Honour arrived at an inadequate sentence by focusing on the steps taken and giving insufficient weight to the nature of the plan which could have had devastating consequences, involving as it did a planned attack on a selected target with the intention of killing as many soldiers and others found there as possible,” the DPP submitted.

The DPP argued the offending fell into the worst class and the men should have been punished with life in jail.

But the justices said the trio could not be sentenced as if the terror plot had actually been carried out.

They also noted that extremists prepared to commit attacks which involve suicide as a form of martyrdom were unlikely be deterred by harsh prison sentences.

“In our view the sentences imposed were severe but quite properly so,” the justices said.

“We consider that the maximum penalty ought to be reserved for the worst class of case.

“The offending here, regrettably, was not of the worst class.”

The men were arrested in pre-dawn raids at homes across Melbourne in August 2009.

Their group was infiltrated by undercover police officers in February of that year.

Two other men were acquitted of involvement in the plot.

2019
08/15

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Large scale visa fraudster jailed

A fraudster who earned millions by contriving sham marriages, fake university degrees and false English test results for immigrants seeking Australian visas has been jailed.

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Gary Zhou was sentenced to four years and seven months’ jail in the County Court of Victoria on Tuesday after he was identified as a facilitator of large-scale migration fraud.

It’s estimated Zhou charged between $10,000 and $100,000 for counterfeit documents and dealt with more than 1000 clients – most of whom are suspected of receiving forged paperwork.

An exact figure earned by Zhou was not available when AAP contacted the Department of Immigration.

Following a joint Immigration and Australian Federal Police investigation, Zhou was charged with offences relating to conspiracy to defraud and control of forged documents.

Search warrants uncovered evidence of false documents in applications for visas under the general skilled migration program and other visa programs, a statement from the Department of Immigration said on Tuesday.

The scam involved the provision of false Australian university degrees, including statements of results and letters of completion.

Other fraudulent documents included false international English language test results, false work references and documents in relation to arranging contrived marriages for immigration purposes.

Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison said the conviction was a reminder the department and courts will act against those who attempt to defraud the nation’s migration programs.

“Anyone found to have obtained a visa based on fraudulent information can expect to face visa refusal or cancellation and prosecution,” he said.

2019
08/15

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Greenpeace protesters interrupt Champions League match

Play was halted for around five minutes when four protesters wearing orange boiler suits and helmets descended slowly on ropes which they had dropped from the roof after a few minutes of play.

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The banners said “Gazprom, don’t foul the Arctic” and “Free the Arctic 30” and had Greenpeace written at the bottom. The protesters then hauled themselves back onto the roof while officials watched from the touchline and the match continued.

Russian authorities detained all 30 members of the pressure group who were aboard icebreaker the Arctic Sunrise when they broke up attempts to scale state-run Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya offshore oil platform on September 18.

All 30 have been remanded in custody for two months.

Among there are Australian Colin Russell and a British citizen who lives in Sydney, Alexandra Harris.

DFAT says consular officers from the Australian Embassy in Moscow have been in Murmansk since September 26 seeking access to the detention centre. The met Mr Ruseel on Monday, passing on care packs. They confirmed Mr Russell has legal representation.

“With it’s oil drilling projects, Gazprom is putting the fragile Arctic ecosystem on the line,” said Nadine Berthel of Greenpeace’s Arctic campaign.

“Gazprom has no experience on the high seas and is playing Russian roulette with the Arctic. The question is not if, but when, Gazprom will make history with a full-scale oil disaster in the Arctic.”

Gazprom are sponsors of both the Champions League and Bundesliga club Schalke.

Basel could be disciplined for inadequate organisation after the protesters managed to get on the roof with their bulky equipment.

“With this action, the defenders of the Arctic showed the red card to the Russian sponsors of the Champions League and German club, and to their oil-drilling and dirty tricks in the Artic,” said Greenpeace in a statement.

2019
08/15

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Bail for alleged Qld bikie brawler

Bandidos members who entered a Gold Coast restaurant on Friday could simply have been looking for a bite to eat, the lawyer for an alleged bikie rioter says.

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Senior Bandidos member Jacques Teamo, 44, faced Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday charged with entering a premise with intent, and rioting.

Teamo was granted conditional bail despite a prosecution objection and will return to court on November 14.

The court was shown video from CCTV, despite an objection from Teamo’s lawyer Chris Hannay, which showed Teamo leading a group of up to 20 Bandidos into Aura restaurant at Broadbeach.

Mr Hannay said the footage failed to reveal any intent other than a group of people looking for somewhere to eat on a Friday night.

“There’s no evidence they went there for anything other than a feed,” Mr Hannay told the court.

Mr Hannay said a brawl that broke out as Teamo and the other men left the restaurant was not his client’s fault.

The brawl involved Jason Trouchet and Matthew Sward, who were granted bail on charges of affray on Monday.

During their court hearing, it was alleged Trouchet had initiated the fight when he realised dozens of bikie gang members were waiting outside the restaurant.

“A person punched him in the back of the head,” Mr Hannay said of his client Teamo.

“He’s got a right to defend himself.”

In opposing bail police prosecutor Sergeant Jim Pedlow told the court Teamo – who was shot during a dispute with another rival bikie gang member at a Gold Coast shopping mall last year – posed a significant risk to the community.

“He went to confront two persons with a gang, putting the whole public at risk,” Sgt Pedlow said.

Magistrate Kerry Magee agreed footage of the incident was “alarming” and made Teamo’s bail conditional on him not having any contact with other Bandidos members.

“It does look quite frightening in the footage,” Ms Magee said.

Mr Hannay said his client’s appearance, which includes several facial tattoos, was intimidatory by itself but is not a sign of any malicious intent.

“It’s intimidating just to look at him,” he said.

“That’s not his fault … that doesn’t make this man number one in the bikie world, as he’s being made out to be.”

Teamo was arrested and charged along with three other members of the Bandidos gang on Tuesday.

The other three men, who are facing riot charges, were all granted watch-house bail and will appear in court later this month.

2019
08/15

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Mechanical fault suspected in tanker crash

A mechanical fault is believed to have caused a fuel tanker to overturn and explode on Sydney’s northern beaches, killing two people.

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Emergency crews have removed the charred remains of the truck from Mona Vale Road where it lost control on Tuesday, ploughing into a power pole and four cars before erupting in a fireball.

Two men, one a local and one from Western Australia, died in the blaze and six people were taken to hospital.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner John Hartley told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday it appeared the roadway was not at fault.

“It appears to be a mechanical fault, not the fault of the roadway,” he said.

As investigations continued Superintendent Ian Krimmer of NSW Fire and Rescue said the clean-up at the site of the accident was going smoothly.

He said about 300 litres of petrol spilled onto the road in the process of getting the truck upright but the spill was contained by an earth dam.

Energy and traffic authorities were working on repairing powerlines and cleaning up the road, he said.

Fuel contamination has been contained within a 1.5km radius of the crash site.

An unknown amount has run into local drains, but does not pose a threat to residents, Supt Krimmer said.

He said the clean-up could be complete within days.

“Petrol is one of the easiest contaminants to deal with because natural forces such as warm weather and wind will evaporate the fuel very rapidly,” he said.

Police said the truck appeared to have lost control, hit a power pole and four cars before turning on its side and dousing the road in fuel.

It’s likely the huge explosion that followed was caused by a spark from the friction of the crash, Supt Krimmer said.