Saturday, November 23, 2013

Global porn ring: W.A. detective jailed over child images

A WA police detective caught up in a worldwide operation combating child pornography has been jailed for more than two years by a judge in Perth.

Lynton John Moore, 30, was one of hundreds of men arrested after a global operation to track down the client list of a Canadian-hosted website which allowed customers to trade and purchase child sex images and videos.

In June, Moore was raided by his WA police colleagues who found more than 20,000 images and videos featuring boys as young as seven being exploited.

He also refused to hand over the password to the hard disks containing the images - which Judge Ronald Birmingham said were "vile and degrading".

Moore, who briefly worked as a teacher before joining the police, was a decorated detective when he was arrested, having received a commendation for attempting to revive a murder victim, and being involved in church activities.

But lawyer Mark Andrews said his client also had deep underlying emotional and psychological issues including a lack of strategies to cope with job stresses.

He had lost his job as a result of the charges, Perth District Court was told, and as a former detective he will have to serve his sentence in a segregated special handling unit.

Moore pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing the material found in his home, and was sentenced to two years and six months in prison. He will be eligible for parole.

In all, more than 60 men and over 400 charges have been laid as part of Operation Thunderer, the Australian arm of the global operation emanating out of Canada.

That operation, codenamed Project Spade, was launched three years ago by Toronto police and is believed to have disbanded a global child abuse ring, and led to the arrest of almost 350 suspects worldwide.

Seven men from WA - including priests and teachers - were last week charged with various offences related to their alleged involvement.

Friday, November 22, 2013

W.A. cop threatens cyclist with rape -- but that's OK says Police commissioner

WESTERN Australia's top cop has backed the Perth policeman who has become an internet viral hit after being filmed swearing at a cyclist during a confrontation over a ticket.

Video footage of the confrontation posted on Facebook by John Martin attracted more than 21,300 likes in 24 hours, and was shared nearly 6000 times.

In the clip, the man argumentatively asks what crime he has committed and tells the officer to go "stop some criminals".

The policeman then walks close to the man and says: "If you swear one more time I will put you in the lock up for disorderly, just like last time".

"I will deny your bail and some big fella is going to play with your a....... during the night.  "If that's what you want, say one more swear word."

The police revealed the officer had admitted to overreacting, and Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said he would be counselled.

But an outpouring of public support for the officer also prompted the commissioner to back his man.

"He was under pressure from someone who is extremely cocky, had a very bad attitude ... the policeman was trying to do his job and he gets this tirade back. He lost his cool," the Commissioner told 6PR.

"This guy has accepted no blame for the escalation of the situation whatsoever. His total view of the world is it is somebody else's problem, they did the wrong thing and I was OK.

"The public have had enough of this general lack of respect for people in authority, and not just police."

The commissioner also said he would be asking investigators to inspect the Facebook page where the video was posted.  "Maybe he wants to run home from work and pull it down before we see it," Mr O'Callaghan said.

The incident occurred on Fyfe St, Forrestfield at about 2.30pm on Tuesday afternoon.

Yesterday, Mr Martin, 24, told Nine News he was considering pressing charges against the officer.  "It's unacceptable, police shouldn't be allowed to treat the public like that," he said.  "You shouldn't threaten anyone with rape, especially if you're a police officer."

Yesterday police Inspector Dominic Wood said the officer had admitted he acted inappropriately, but that the snippet of footage does not show the whole event.

"We have thousands of interactions every day with police officers talking to members of the public. This is rare," Insp Wood said.

"It's a tough job and that officer has come across somebody that's obviously pushed his buttons and tried to get a reaction.

"The officer wouldn't have known he was being recorded under those circumstances."

Police union president George Tilbury said officers dealt with the public 24 hours a day and were often involved in "frustrating and stressful situations."

"As the full video has not been uploaded and the entirety of the circumstances are unknown, it is very difficult to comment on the actions of the officer," Mr Tilbury said.

"However, police officers should always do their utmost to portray a professional image, which can be difficult given that they are under more scrutiny than any other profession.

"Our members need to be aware that in this modern age of technology their actions and interactions with the public will be filmed, often without their knowledge or permission."

Police Minister Liza Harvey indicated to reporters that using foul language was inappropriate but she would leave the matter to police to investigate internally.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Perth cop's anger goes viral in video

WA Police have confirmed they are investigating a video showing a heated confrontation between a traffic officer and a member of the public which has gone viral on Facebook.

The 45-second video shows an officer responding aggressively to comments made by the member of the public filming the incident.

The man was stopped by the first-class constable for riding a bike without a helmet in Forrestfield about 2.30pm on Tuesday.

At a press conference in Perth on Wednesday morning police confirmed they were investigating a video posted on Facebook by 'John Gds Martin' and that the constable had been spoken to by his direct supervisor.

The video, shared through the Facebook page "50 shades of straya", has been liked more than 15,000 times, shared more than 500 times and has received more than 4000 comments in the 14 hours since it was posted.

Inspector Dom Wood said the officer could have dealt with the situation in a more appropriate manner.

"The officer has admitted he could have dealt with things more appropriately and he is going to be spoken to about that," he said.

"We have to make it quite clear that this is a small snippet we saw on Facebook, we haven't seen the entirety of the incident so we have to look into it further.  "This is extremely rare, we don't get these incidents too often.

"This officer has come across someone who has pushed his buttons and tried to get a reaction.  "The officer wouldn't have known he was being recorded in those circumstances."

Inspector Wood would not rule out WA Police taking disciplinary action against the officer.

WA Police Union president George Tilbury said the work of a police officer could sometimes be stressful and agreed that the full circumstances of this particular incident were not yet known.

"Our members interact with the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week and on some of these occasions the situation can be quite frustrating and stressful," he said.

"As the full video has not been uploaded and the entirety of the circumstances are unknown, it is very difficult to comment on the actions of the officer.

"However, police officers should always do their utmost to portray a professional image, which can be difficult given that they are under more scrutiny than any other profession.

"Our members need to be aware that in this modern age of technology their actions and interactions with the public will be filmed, often without their knowledge or permission.”

NSW police use of stun guns under renewed scrutiny after CCTV shows teenager being tasered

Police use of stun guns to subdue suspects is under renewed scrutiny after an unarmed Sudanese-Australian student was tasered while handcuffed and surrounded by six officers in Sydney.

The altercation at Sydney's Blacktown train station occurred on June 20, when 17-year-old Einpwi Amom allegedly swore at police and ran off.

Mr Amom, who fled war-torn Sudan with his family in 2003 and settled in Sydney's west, had been out with a cousin on the night and decided to meet with friends at the station, where they often hung out.

The HSC student had been drinking, and earlier in the night had been asked by police to move along.

CCTV footage from the station shows a police officer approaching Mr Amom, who runs, fearing arrest.

An officer chases him to the other side of the station where the teenager falls and hits his head, knocking himself unconscious on the stairs.

"I started running and then they chased me," Mr Amom recalls.  "I was running, I was drunk and then I slipped - boom! Stacked it and hit my head."

The teenager was handcuffed and dragged down the stairs, where footage shows him lying motionless for nearly two minutes, only coming around as more officers arrive.

"I woke up again, I was like 'What the hell is going on?', and then I see coppers holding me, twisting my arm, my leg," he said.

"I was like, why are you doing this? It was like a gang just attacking me."

The footage shows Mr Amom struggling with police while a female friend of his begins filming the struggle on her mobile phone.

When officers bring the teenager to his feet he resists and, as commuters look on, an officer fires his Taser at the handcuffed teenager.

As Mr Amom writhes in pain, an officer says: "If you resist again, you'll be tasered again."

Although visibly weak, Mr Amom is hauled to his feet and forced to walk down stairs, with an officer saying, "Stand up and walk or you'll be tasered again."

Officers say their use of force was justified, however the teenager still struggles to understand his treatment.  "When I was tasered, I was already handcuffed," he said.

"There was six police officers and I still got tasered."

Ultimately, Mr Amom was charged with six offences: failing to comply with a direction, offensive language, resisting police officer in the course of duty and three counts of assaulting a police officer.

However, last week - after viewing the CCTV footage, as well as the mobile phone and Taser camera vision, the Parramatta Children's Court magistrate dismissed all six charges against Mr Amom.

He ruled that the officers acted outside the lawful execution of duty when placing him under arrest.

Usually minors before the Children's Court cannot be identified, however Mr Amom, now 18, and his mother consented to appear on 7.30 in order to tell his story.

The teenager's mother, Achol Amom, says her son was treated like an animal, adding: "I'm not happy with this."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NSW: Police change defence after video turns up

A group of police officers who allegedly broke the leg of an arts student and told her ''we don't care if it's legal'' have been allowed to change their defence at the eleventh hour after CCTV footage of the assault emerged.

Rachel Gardner is suing the NSW police force claiming she was kicked, sat on, handcuffed, pushed against a fence, loaded into a paddy wagon and then dumped at a nearby train station without charge after being caught without a train ticket on March 13, 2011.

Police initially denied the kick occurred but sought to amend their defence in the Sydney District Court on Monday, minutes before the beginning of a five-day trial, after Ms Gardner's legal team revealed they had obtained CCTV footage from Cronulla station.

On Tuesday, Judge Sharron Norton lambasted the force's barrister Matthew Hutchings for presenting an "entirely different" defence document on the morning of the trial but she allowed it and deferred the trial to November.

Ms Gardner, 36, was at Cronulla station with two tourist friends just before midnight when they were approached by transit officers and found to be without tickets.

An altercation ensued when the tourists couldn't produce identification and police attended. Ms Gardner claims that when she protested that one of the tourists was being pinned to the ground by a transit officer, Acting Sergeant Craig Sands kicked both her legs out from under her, breaking her right leg.

In her statement of claim, it is alleged Sergeant Sands then directed a transit officer to sit on her while she was lying face down on the platform before she was handcuffed, told she was under arrest and put in a paddy wagon.

When she objected to what she believed was an unlawful arrest, an officer said ''we don't care if this is legal'', the statement said. Ms Gardner was not taken to a police station and charged. Instead, she was driven to Sutherland railway station and ''left to fend for herself in a seriously injured condition''.

She is seeking damages of up to $750,000 for the injuries as well as the humiliation, disgrace, mental suffering, emotional distress, fear and anxiety, loss of social status and inconvenience caused by assault, false arrest and false imprisonment. A doctor's report says she will likely develop osteoarthritis within five to 10 years.

Her aspirations to become a filmmaker would also be hindered as well as attempts to get casual work while studying at the University of NSW College of Fine Arts, the court heard. Barrister Geoffrey Petty, SC, said the only record of the incident was a standard internal log that was ''brief in the extreme''. He said CCTV footage showed the kick ''as plain as daylight'' and also showed the officers chatting on the station as Ms Gardner limped away.

The police initially denied all Ms Gardner's claims and said she bit and kicked officers.

Mr Hutchings said this was because Ms Gardner's statement of claim was so vague and void of detail that it prevented them investigating the claims and preparing a proper response.

The trial will begin in November.

Monday, November 11, 2013

ACT: David Eastman murder case reopened

There has long been an odour about this case -- JR

Information suggesting David Harold Eastman might have been planning a ‘‘homicidal attack’’ on his trial judge was circulated to court staff in the lead up to the convicted murder's trial, an inquiry has heard.

The inquiry is trying to determine whether then chief justice Ken Carruthers had seen mental health reports on Eastman, and whether this could have created a perception of bias. A former registrar told the court on Monday that while the information had been circulated among staff, he had been careful not to tell Justice Carruthers.

Eastman was found guilty in 1995 of the 1989 murder of Assistant Australian Federal Police Commissioner Colin Winchester.

Mr Winchester was shot as he sat in his car in his neighbour’s driveway in Deakin one January night in 1989.

Eastman was found guilty of murder by a jury in 1995, and is serving life in the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

But the conviction of Eastman, who has maintained his innocence, is the subject of an inquiry that formally began hearing evidence on Monday.

That inquiry was ordered by judge Shane Marshall last year because he was satisfied there was ’’fresh doubt’’ about Eastman’s guilt.

The inquiry has begun by looking at the existence of a number of mental health reports on Eastman, compiled by Dr Rod Milton, and whether they may have been given to the judge overseeing his trial, chief justice Carruthers, without being formally tendered in court.

One of those reports detailed alleged threats by Eastman, and the risk he may have posed to court staff.

Former Supreme Court registrar Alan Towell was the first witness to give evidence to the inquiry on Monday.

Mr Towell said the contents of the reports were disseminated to various members of the court, but he had been careful not to give the reports to the trial judge.

The inquiry heard that Dr Milton’s reports contained information suggesting that Eastman was a ‘‘significant risk’’ to chief justice Carruthers.

It heard the reports contained information suggesting he may have planned a ‘‘homicidal attack’’ on his trial judge.

Earlier on Monday morning, counsel assisting the inquiry, Liesl Chapman, SC, gave an opening submission outlining the questions expected to be addressed in the proceedings.

She identified nine categories of evidence in the Crown’s case against Eastman that were expected to be examined in the inquiry.

Those included questions about the evidence of his alleged purchase of the .22 rifle used to shoot Winchester, as well as issues with the forensic evidence linking gunshot residue and particles found in Eastman’s car boot, to that found at the crime scene.

The inquiry would also look at the Crown’s claims about Eastman’s motives for the killing.

These had revolved around his expulsion from the public service and anger over a pending assault charge.

There were questions over the threats Eastman was alleged to have made concerning Mr Winchester to others, and his alleged searching of electoral records for the Assistant Commissioner’s home address.

It would look at issues with the supposed confessions made by Eastman, which were recorded by potentially illegal bugs placed in his home at a time when he may have been suffering severe mental health issues. The inquiry would examine whether other hypotheses for the killing, including the possible involvement of the Calabrian mafia, had been dismissed.

It would also look at questions around Eastman’s fitness to plead, given his mental illness, and whether it was properly considered by the court.

Further evidence from the then Supreme Court registrar and an AFP Assistant Commissioner is expected to be heard on Monday afternoon.

Chinese man 'crawled from Victoria police cell, found in puddle'

A man released from custody who later died in hospital had asked police for medical help twice before he was found by paramedics lying in a puddle outside the station, the Coroners Court has heard.

Chinese national Gong Ling Tang, 53, died in hospital from a gastrointestinal haemorrhage in May 2010, hours after being released from custody at the Dandenong police station.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Rachel Ellyard, said on the first day of the inquest into Mr Tang's death that he had been arrested after breaching an intervention order by visiting his wife at her house in Oakleigh.

He was drunk and had soiled himself when police found him a short distance from the house.

Police arrested Mr Tang for being drunk in a public place and planned to interview him about the alleged breach of the order when he was sober enough.

About 7.20pm, four hours after being placed in the cells, Mr Tang was interviewed through the metal flap in the cell door because of his soiled condition.

Ms Ellyard said there was blood in the cell and Mr Tang, speaking through a Mandarin interpreter, complained of abdominal pain and said he wanted to go home or to the hospital.

Mr Tang was released on bail but could not walk and crawled out of his cell before using the wall to help him stand.

Ms Ellyard said there was a "conflict" about whether arrangements had been made to transfer Mr Tang from the station.

Mr Tang was unable to leave the station by himself so was placed outside, barefoot, by two police about 8pm. He complained again of abdominal pain shortly afterward and an ambulance was called at 8.13pm.

Another call to the ambulance was made about 8.46pm by a police officer to report that Mr Tang's condition had deteriorated and the ambulance arrived nine minutes later.

Paramedics found Mr Tang drenched in water and lying unprotected in a puddle.

At hospital he was found to be suffering from hypothermia and had severe liver failure. He died at 11.30am the next day.

Deputy State Coroner Iain West heard from a lawyer representing one of the officers that Mr Tang's death should not be considered a death in custody, which is the basis for the inquest, because it was due to an existing condition. An application was also made for some officers not to give evidence.

Mr Tang had been admitted to hospital four or five times in the three years before his death because of the state of his liver, Deputy State Coroner West heard.

He also heard that Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright, who was in court, had submitted a letter from Victoria Police expressing "great regret about the circumstances" in which Mr Tang had died.

Deputy State Coroner West has adjourned the inquest to consider the application.