Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Four killed in Darwin shooting

Four people have been killed in a shooting spree in Darwin. A 45-year-old man was arrested yesterday after the shooting of several people at Darwin’s Palms Hotel, before allegedly driving to several other locations and trying to enter police headquarters. Northern Territory chief minister Michael Gunner said the shooting was “not a terrorism event”. NT Police commissioner Reece Kershaw said the man had been released on parole in January. The man is being held at Royal Darwin Hospital, where a woman is also being treated for gunshot wounds from the rampage.

Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for child sexual abuse will begin today. The two-day hearing will take place at Melbourne’s Supreme Court building, and be open to the public. Pell’s legal team has cited three grounds for appeal, the most substantive of which is that the jury reached an “unreasonable verdict” on the evidence provided. Pell was convicted of five charges of child sexual assault in March for sexually abusing two teenage choirboys in 1996. The hearing will be streamed live on the Supreme  Court of Victoria’s website.

Australian Federal Police officers have raided the home of a News Corp journalist over her reporting on federal government plans to expand powers of digital spy agencies. Officers served a search warrant at the home of News Corp political editor Annika Smethurst yesterday, accessing her laptop and mobile phone. The story, published in April last year, included correspondence between home affairs and defence officials about giving the Australian Signals Directorate power to monitor Australian citizens. In a statement, the AFP said the raid was part of an “investigation into the alleged unauthorised disclosure of national security information”, but that “no arrests are expected”.

And in China, authorities have marked the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre with online censorship, increased surveillance and a crackdown on pro-democracy activists. Foreign journalists were barred from entering the square yesterday, while locals and tourists were subject to identity screening. Speaking in Singapore on Sunday, Chinese defence minister General Wei Fenghe defended the Chinese government’s actions at the time, saying “that incident was a political turbulence and the central government took measures to stop the turbulence which is a correct policy”.



“It was Halloween 2013, and the station’s cells were badly crowded. The whole place was combustible. One prisoner, a sculpted giant weighing 100 kilograms, was experiencing withdrawal from methamphetamines, cocaine and steroids. Another was badly agitated by the scabies he assumed his cellmate was carrying. Officers thought most prisoners were experiencing cabin fever.”


“First Australians know that more is needed. There are deep wounds that must be healed to advance genuine understanding, and they have said so, politely but forcefully, in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The plea for Voice, Treaty and Truth was dismissed summarily by Malcolm Turnbull, and initially Morrison echoed the rejection. Now he seems prepared to revisit the idea, but not with any urgency.”


“Unlike jurisdictions requiring automatic prison terms for crimes regardless of circumstances, the law in Australia generally, and Victoria specifically, safeguards judicial discretion to tailor sentences to individual offenders, thereby deploying correctional resources where they can be most effective.”


“Two Australians were injured when a cruise ship ploughed into a busy dock in Venice, according to Italian officials ... The collision, about 8:30am on Sunday (local time) on the Giudecca Canal, a major thoroughfare that leads to Saint Mark’s Square, has reignited calls for a ban on cruise ships and large vessels in Venetian waterways.”


“The world’s largest cruise line company, Carnival, has agreed to pay a $US20 million penalty because its ships continued to pollute the oceans despite a previous criminal conviction aimed at curbing similar conduct ... Carnival admitted violating terms of probation from a 2016 criminal conviction for discharging oily waste from its Princess Cruise Lines ships and covering it up.”


“US president Donald Trump and first lady Melania are receiving a ‘royal welcome’ for a three day visit to the UK, which includes a private lunch with the Queen and a guided tour of the royal collection. But some Brits are staging less than welcoming protests against his presence.”

A mistake of fact
A law that allows drunkenness as a defence against criminal behaviour is the subject of a campaign for reform. But government is not listening and the legal establishment is not interested in seeing it change. Bri Lee talks about what is called “Mistake of Fact”.

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.