United States President Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he would say Russia was not involved in the hacking of Democratic party emails, a court in London has been told. Lawyers acting for Assange made the claim at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, arguing that the effort to extradite the Wikileaks founder to the US is about politics not criminality. A statement from lawyer Jennifer Robinson referred to US Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher in 2017 visiting the Ecuadorian Embassy ($) where Assange was claiming asylum “and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange … said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC [Democratic National Committee] leaks”. The judge presiding over the pre-trial hearing said the allegation would be admissible during Assange’s extradition hearing, due to begin next week. Liberal Nationals MP George Christensen and Independent senator Andrew Wilkie visited Assange in prison on Tuesday to lobby to stop his extradition.
Family killed in car fire: A 31-year-old Brisbane woman has died in hospital on Wednesday evening, after her estranged husband allegedly set her car alight in an event that also claimed the lives of the couple’s three children. Detective Inspector Mark Thompson said police are determining whether the event was a murder-suicide or accident, and suggested further crime scenes would be declared. Witnesses claimed to The Courier Mail ($) that Brisbane man Rowan Baxter forced his way into his wife Hannah Baxter’s vehicle on Wednesday morning, dousing the family in petrol before stabbing himself. It is understood police were called to a family violence incident in January, with Queensland’s Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women aware of the family due to recent violent behavior from Rowan, a former rugby league player.
Sexual assault investigations: An ABC investigation has found police in the Northern Territory are less likely to pursue a sexual assault report than police in any other part of the country. In the NT 19 per cent of sexual assaults reported were “not pursued” in 2018, a rate three times higher than in New South Wales. Jonathan Crowe, professor of law at Queensland’s Bond University, said: “This is obviously a pressing issue for the NT, given that the NT has the highest rate of sexual assault per capita in Australia.”
Aged care discrimination: New research from La Trobe University finds that older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people fear discrimination in aged care services. Interviewees reported that they feel they must hide their sexual orientation in care facilities, and lack families of origin, such as children, young relatives, or partners who are legally recognised to advocate on their behalf.