court – Michmutters

Woman faces court charged with child abduction as Darwin girl Grace Hughes, 5, and mother remain missing

A woman charged with child abduction in relation to the disappearance of five-year-old Grace Hughes has faced court, as police continue to search for the Darwin girl.

Juliet Oldroyd, 50, was charged yesterday with one count of abducting a child under 16 and one count of attempting to abduct a child under 16.

She was interviewed at a property in Anula last week, with police saying she was later arrested for allegedly refusing to provide information about Grace and her mother’s whereabouts.

Police allege Grace was taken without permission by her mother Laura Hinks, also known as Laura Bolt, during a supervised parental visit on the afternoon of August 7.

During her first court appearance today, Ms Oldroyd told Judge Thomasin Opie she would not be seeking legal aid, but had no current representation other than her husband, Craig Oldroyd.

A woman and a young girl smile into the camera.  The photo is in black and white.
Laura Hinks and her daughter Grace Hughes remain missing. (Supplied: NT Police)

Mr Oldroyd told the court he did not have any legal qualifications, but later told media outside court that he had contacted an “international human rights lawyer”.

The accused was supported in court by a group of people who stood and applauded after she was escorted back to the cells when the case was adjourned.

Judge Opie had to instruct members of the public in the courtroom to sit down and “show courtesy to allow the court to proceed uninterrupted.”

A man with a beard and wearing a tie holds a bundle of papers and speaks into two microphones.
Juliet Oldroyd’s husband Craig Oldroyd said he will act on behalf of his wife in court. (ABC News: Melissa Mackay)

Search for Grace continues

A young girl of age five smiles into the camera.
Police are appealing for public information to find Grace. (Supplied: NT Police)

Police said in a statement yesterday they were using “all resources necessary” to find Grace, who has now been missing for more than a week.

They also said Grace and her mother may have traveled interstate.

Anyone with information on the pair’s whereabouts are being urged to contact police.

Ms Oldroyd’s matter will return to court on August 22.



Thor Morgan shooting death results in murder charge laid against Cambodian man

A man will face court today after he was charged with murder over the death of a 25-year-old man in Toowoomba earlier this year.

Police allege Thor Morgan was driving a car on Ruthven Street in Harlaxton when a firearm was discharged from a stolen dual cab and he was shot in the head about 2.50am on March 15.

Mr Morgan succumbed to his injuries at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital two months later on May 16.

Police say divers recovered a firearm from a northern branch of the Condamine River on July 26 which police will allege was the weapon used in the incident.

a police diver holds up a gun found in the river
Police say they found a firearm in the Condamine River in July.(Supplied: Queensland Police Service)

A 24-year-old man has been charged with murder, arson of a motor vehicle, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and unlawful possession of weapons.

Police said they had been searching for the weapon for four months.

A gun sits in a ute tray
Police allege a weapon recovered from the river was used to shoot Mr Morgan.(Supplied: Queensland Police Service)

They allege a number of stolen cars were involved in the incident — a gray station wagon, which had been stolen from a Newtown home in February, and a white SUV stolen from a Mount Lofty address in March.

The cars were later found burnt out — one in Felton and another one in the Oakey area.

Investigations are ongoing.

A police car parked on the left hand side of the road with police tape across the road
Police blocked off a Harlaxton street after the shooting in March.(ABC Southern Queensland: David Chen)



Not guilty plea entered for Adelaide man accused of attempted rape of schoolgirl at bus stop

An Adelaide magistrate has committed a man to stand trial in the District Court for the attempted rape of a 13-year-old schoolgirl after he told the court he “just doesn’t care anymore.”

Anthony James Stengewis, 52, has been charged with attempting to engage in sexual intercourse without consent and assault with attempt to commit rape.

Staff at the secure mental health facility James Nash House, where Mr Stengewis has been in custody, told Magistrate John Wells that he did not want to appear in court this morning.

“He just doesn’t care anymore,” the staff told Magistrate Wells.

His lawyers then conceded Mr Stengewis had a case to answer.

Magistrate John Wells said he would take that as a “not guilty” plea before sending his case to the District Court in November.

In February, the court heard Mr Stengewis asked the schoolgirl, who was waiting at a Gilberton bus stop, if she had a boyfriend before allegedly pushing her into a garden bed and attempting to rape her.

“The male didn’t stop and there was no-one else around,” the prosecutor said while opposing bail in February.

“The victim started kicking the male to the stomach and groin area.”

The court heard Mr Stengewis was living in a rooming house in Medindie – two-to-three minutes walk from the alleged crime scene — and after the alleged attempted rape walked off in that direction.



Gold nuggets, illicit drugs, $250k cash found during raid of Ballarat motel

A man has faced court in Ballarat after police discovered gold nuggets, illicit drugs, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.

Police say they raided a motel on Main Road, Golden Point, about 11pm yesterday.

Mark McKay, 48, was arrested before police allegedly located stolen jewelry, more than $250,000 in cash, and gold nuggets worth about $17,000.

Officers said they also seized a large amount of methylamphetamine, cannabis, and cocaine.

They said the raid was part of a long-running drug investigation.

A metal sign saying Ballarat law Court beneath a symbol of the court.
A Ballarat man has been charged over the discovery.(ABC Ballarat: Laura Mayers)

Mr McKay has been charged with trafficking a large commercial quantity of methylamphetamine, trafficking cocaine and trafficking cannabis.

He is also accused of three counts of possessing drugs of dependence, dealing with the proceeds of crime, and committing indictable offenses while on bail.

The 48-year-old was remanded overnight and faced the Ballarat Magistrates Court today.

He made no application for bail and will return to court for a committal mention in October.



Sydney Water guilty of polluting Prospect Creek with 280,000 liters of sewage

Sydney Water has been convicted of polluting a Western Sydney creek by discharging hundreds of thousands of liters of untreated sewage into the waterway.

The guilty verdict relates to an incident on January 15, 2019, which saw a major sewage overflow into the Prospect Creek at Carramar.

Prospect Creek is a major tributary of the Georges River and is used for recreational activities like fishing.

The contamination occurred after a sewer main at Carrawood Reserve in Carramar failed and the nearby pumping station had to be shut down so repairs could be undertaken.

Sydney Water knew there was risk sewage would overflow while the pumping station was shut down and arranged for tankers to be present to transfer the sewage to an alternative location.

However, the tankers were not able to keep up with the volume of overflow as site constraints meant only two tankers could operate at one time.

This meant raw sewage flowed through an underground pipe into the creek.

The incident was described as “significant” by a Sydney Water employee who notified NSW Health, NSW Fire and Rescue, WorkCover as well as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

It was estimated by a senior scientist from the NSW Department of Environment that between 11:59 pm on January 15 and 1:26 am on January 16 more than 280,000 liters of sewage overflowed from the pumping station.

Overflow from the broken main was estimated to be 318,000 litres.

This meant faecal bacteria in Prospect Creek exceeded the national guidelines for water quality by up to 7,900 times, the judgment said.

The overflow also caused increased levels of ammonia, and sewage odor and changed the color of the waterway.

Large areas of Coleman Park and the playing fields at Carrawood Oval were also affected.

Sydney Water argued a defense of necessity, claiming the overflow was necessary to avoid more dire consequences of failing to repair the main.

“The necessity … arose because shutting down the pumping station was required to prevent … unacceptable risk of harm to human health or life if the main was not able to be repaired as quickly as possible,” the judgment said.

However, Justice Tim Moore rejected this defence, noting there wasn’t sufficient evidence concerning the state of mind of those who decided to shut down the station.

The EPA brought three charges against Sydney Water for the incident, but the government-owned corporation was only found guilty on one count, which related to the decision to shut down the pumping station.

The authority, which pleaded not guilty to all charges, will be sentenced on September 6.

Sydney Water told the ABC it “welcomes” the finding of the court and will continue to work with the EPA to “protect and enhance the environment”.



Canberra man accused of money laundering as a result of joint FBI-AFP investigation faces court

A Canberra man arrested in spectacular circumstances last month, after police seized more than $10 million in assets and cash, has appeared for the first time in the ACT Magistrates Court.

Karan Talwar, 35, is facing three charges of dealing with property reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime.

Police allege Mr Talwar laundered money and cryptocurrency through complex transactions from the sale of personal identification information, illegal goods and scams.

It is alleged he has accumulated a significant number of assets with the money he has made.

Police have seized eight Canberra houses, four cars, luxury goods including handbags and more than $1 million in cash.

A police officer stands in front of a car as it is towed away
Four high-end cars were seized by police. (Supplied)

Police also targeted 28 bank accounts and about $600,000 in cryptocurrency.

At the time of the arrest, police searched two homes and a storage unit seizing documents and devices as well as cash.

Mr Tulwar was identified as part of an international investigation into money laundering involving the FBI.

He did not enter a plea and will return to court next month.

A man in a suit walks outside the ACT Magistrates court
Mr Talwar (left) is on police bail after he was arrested last month. (ABC NewsEmma Thompson)



Mother and step father to stand trial for alleged murder of toddler Kaydence Mills, whose body was found near Chinchilla Weir

A woman accused of murdering her daughter allegedly threw the little girl’s belongings out and told people the toddler was living with an aunt in the two years before authorities discovered she was missing, a court has heard.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that the following article contains an image of the deceased.

The remains of Kaydence Hazel Mills were found near the Chinchilla Weir in March 2020.

She would have been approximately two-and-a-half to three years of age when police alleged she was murdered by her mother, Sinitta Tammy Dawita, and Dawita’s partner, Tane Saul Desatge, some time between March and October 2017.

An investigation into her whereabouts was only launched in late 2019.

On Friday, the pair appeared in Dalby Magistrates Court via video link and were committed to stand trial on charges of murder, torture and interfering with a corpse.

During the hearing, Magistrate Kerrie O’Callaghan outlined details of the prosecution’s evidence of the alleged physical and psychological abuse inflicted on Kaydence before her death.

WARNING: The following evidence contains graphic detail of alleged abuse

The court heard a witness statement claimed the little girl was “abused every day,” “had to sleep on the toilet floor as she had nowhere else to sleep,” and “lived like an animal” at the family home in Chinchilla.

A little girl staring at the camera.
The remains of toddler Kaydence Hazel Mills were found near the Chinchilla Weir.(Supplied)

“[The witness said] Tane would flog her with a bamboo cane if she didn’t go to the toilet … and she had to be covered up when [the family] would go out because of the bruises,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

The court also heard the witness said the last time she saw the little girl she was lying on the couch covered in bruises – but she was gone the next day

“[The witness said Ms Dawita and Mr Desatge] said she had gone… [Ms Dawita] told her not to say anything and threw all of Kaydence’s belongings out.”

Police tape marking off a section of land near a water weir
Police marked off an area at Chinchilla Weir as a crime scene in 2019.(ABC News: Nathan Morris)

The court heard police launched an investigation into Kaydence’s whereabouts in September 2019.

“There’s evidence [Ms Dawita] told people during the period 2017 to early 2020 that she was concerned about Kaydence’s [biological] dad coming so she had her taken away to an aunt,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

“She told others she was with a family friend, that Kaydence lived in Brisbane, that she was with friends.”

A support worker also said that in October 2019 Ms Dawita did not acknowledge Kaydence’s existence and, when asked, said she lived with an aunt in Brisbane, the hearing was told.

Abdominal or head injury possible causes of death

The court heard that medical evidence indicates the cause of death “cannot be accurately determined,” but one expert suggested death could have been caused by abdominal trauma or a head injury.



Australian academic Sean Turnell detained in Myanmar pleads not guilty in closed court

An Australian academic who is being tried with ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on charges of violating the country’s official secrets law has testified in court for the first time, a legal official says.

Sean Turnell, an economist at Sydney’s Macquarie University, had served as an adviser to Ms Suu Kyi, who was arrested when her elected government was usted by the army on February 1 last year.

He was arrested five days later and faces up to five years’ imprisonment.

Professor Turnell is now being held in the main prison in Naypyitaw, the capital, as is Ms Suu Kyi.

Three of Ms Suu Kyi’s former cabinet members are being tried with them in a special court at the prison.

A legal official familiar with Thursday’s proceedings said Professor Turnell denied the allegations against him and pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance, but details of his testimony are limited.

Professor Turnell’s lawyers have been barred from talking about the case, while all trials involving Ms Suu Kyi have been closed to the media and public.

The legal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release information, said Professor Turnell and his co-defendants appeared to be in good health.

The exact details of the alleged offense in the case have not been made public, though Myanmar state television, citing government statements, said last year that Professor Turnell had access to “secret state financial information” and had tried to flee the country.

‘Trumped-up charges’

Friend and fellow economist Tim Harcourt told the ABC the opaque legal process was concerning.

“Let’s face it, it’s trumped-up charges by an authoritarian regime that wants to use Sean to discredit Aung San Suu Kyi. That’s what it’s all about,” he said.

“He’s pleaded not guilty because he’s not guilty.

“All he did was advise the Myanmar government on things they should do with their economy … providing good advice to improve the living standards of ordinary citizens.”

He said the advice from the previous Australian government was to take a “softly, softly” approach.

“But quite clearly, it hasn’t worked. It’s been 18 months now,” he said.

“The fact you can have such an authoritarian, murderous regime doing what it’s doing, and Australia hasn’t considered sanctions, is pretty surprising.

“Particularly given how quickly people acted with respect to Vladimir Putin with Ukraine, which was correct, they’ve sort of let Myanmar drift off.”

He said Foreign Minister Penny Wong had been more vocal about Professor Turnell’s case.

Defense Minister Richard Marles said he could not comment on the details of Australia’s consular access to Professor Turnell, but said the government was concerned about his situation.

“We are concerned about the level of access available to those providing consular services to Professor Turnell,” he said.

“Our most important engagement with Myanmar right now is around seeing a safe return of Professor Turnell to this country.

“And we will not rest until we have a situation where Professor Turnell is returned safely to Australia and safely to his country.”

Senator Wong has previously said sanctions are under active consideration and Professor Turnell is Australia’s top priority in Myanmar.

“Another question is, would sanctions make it worse for him or better for him? Does applying pressure put pressure on Myanmar or does it just anger them? So that’s a question for the judgment of the government,” Professor Harcourt said.

Professor Turnell appears with Aung San Suu Kyi
Professor Turnell and Ms Suu Kyi are being held in the main prison in Naypyitaw, the capital.(LinkedIn)

Professor Turnell is also being prosecuted under immigration law, which carries a punishment of six months to five years’ imprisonment. Prosecutions under immigration law are common for foreigners being held for other offences.

The judge adjourned Thursday’s proceedings until next week, when Ms Suu Kyi is to testify.

The case is one of many faced by Ms Suu Kyi and is widely seen as an effort to discredit her to prevent her return to politics.

The charges against her include corruption and election fraud. She has already been convicted of several minor offenses.

Last year’s military takeover sparked peaceful nationwide street protests that security forces quashed with lethal force, triggering armed resistance that some UN experts have characterized as civil war.




SDA seeks $250m compensation from McDonald’s operators who allegedly denied paid breaks to Australian workers

McDonald’s has been slapped with a wage theft claim of at least $250 million in the Federal Court over alleged denial of paid breaks to workers.

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) is seeking compensation on behalf of more than 250,000 current and former McDonald’s workers across Australia.

If successful, the union said the claim would be one of the largest of its kind in Australia’s history.

The SDA is alleging workers at more than 1,000 current and former McDonald’s sites were denied their uninterrupted 10-minute break when working four hours or more during a shift.

South Australia branch secretary Josh Peak said McDonald’s workers were told if they want their paid break, they cannot get a drink or go to the toilet.

He said in almost two years of investigation the union had heard more than 10,000 accounts from former and current employees, including young Australians, at McDonald’s stores across Australia.

“Workers were systematically, deliberately denied the rights to those breaks,” Mr Peak told ABC Radio Adelaide Breakfast.

“It’s just not good enough that a large employer such as McDonalds would create a scheme that leads to people not being paid correctly or getting base entitlements.”

The statement of claim alleged workers had to seek permission to get a drink or go to the bathroom and could be directed to resume work before their 10-minute break was up.

Mr Peak said workers were misled or not informed about their rest break entitlements and the multi-billion dollar corporation should be penalized for it.

“It is really outrageous behavior to be tricking young people into thinking they are not entitled to go the toilet if they used their paid entitlements,” he said.

“Workers never got their paid 10-minute rest break and when workers did ask for it, they were told ‘we don’t do that here because you can go the toilet whenever you like’, which is completely ludicrous.”

Josh Peak SDA
Josh Peak said McDonald’s workers should be entitled to paid breaks.(ABCNews)

The claim named 323 McDonald’s operators who allegedly denied paid rest breaks to workers over the past six years.

McDonald’s Australia issued a statement in which it denied the claims.

“McDonald’s believes its restaurants complied with applicable instruments, provided rest breaks to employees and were consistent with historic working arrangements,” a McDonald’s spokeswoman said.

“Those arrangements have been known to the SDA for many years. The manner of taking breaks has not been challenged or raised by the SDA as a matter of concern throughout successive enterprise bargaining processes for new industrial agreements.

“We are very mindful of our obligations under applicable employment laws, including the former enterprise agreement and the Fast Food Industry Award, and continue to work closely with our restaurants to ensure employees receive all correct workplace entitlements and pay.”

Claim originates from SA

The new claim is in conjunction with the SDA’s 15 existing Federal Court claims against McDonald’s Australia and 14 franchisees — seven of them in South Australia.

In December 2020, 14 McDonald’s employees at the Frewville and Mount Barker restaurants lodged a compensation claim after allegedly being denied their 10-minute rest break.

As a result of that action, the investigation extended nationwide.

A blond woman smiling in a dress with pink balloons in the background
Isabella worked at McDonald’s in Adelaide CBD.(Supplied)

Isabelle, who worked at McDonald’s in the Adelaide CBD for almost five years, said she was not given her entitled 10-minute break, but instead was allowed drink breaks freely during shifts.

“The drink break was only for 20 seconds, or as fast as you could drink and then come back to work straightaway,” she said.

“I’d spoken to my bosses about it and they just told us that we didn’t get them, they chose to do something different, and that it was legal, it was all fine.



Carlton star Patrick Cripps successfully overturns judicial verdict, is free to play against Melbourne

Carlton’s finals hopes have received a huge boost after Captain Patrick Cripps had his two-match suspension overturned at the AFL Tribunal Appeals Board.

Cripps was unsuccessful in overturning a rough conduct charge at the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night, and his hearing at the Appeals Board on Thursday night loomed as his final hope of having his two-match suspension squashed.

The 27-year-old’s airborne collision, which left Brisbane’s Callum Ah Chee with concussion, was graded as careless, high impact and high contact.

Christopher Townshend QC, acting for Cripps, argued that there was a “denial of natural justice” because AFL Court chairman Jeff Gleeson failed to give directions to the jury on Tuesday night before they retired to consider their verdict.

Townshend said Gleeson himself had created confusion by effectively stating Cripps’ action was a bump.