Man charged over sexual assault after Falls Festival citizen’s arrest

Posted January 01, 2018 15:51:38

A 32-year-old man has been charged over a sexual assault at the Falls Music Festival in Tasmania, after being apprehended in a citizen’s arrest by the alleged victim and her friend.

Tasmania Police said a 19-year-old woman was assaulted in the mosh pit about 9:30pm on Friday during a set played by the band The Jungle Giants.

Senior Sergeant Darren Latham said a man has now been charged.

“The women involved, the person involved and her friend, actually apprehended the male, then handed them to security, who then handed them to police for the matter to be investigated,” he said.

A second sexual assault at the festival was also reported, but the young female victim decided she did not want a formal police investigation into the matter.

The Marion Bay event last January was marred by two reports of sexual assault in the mosh pit, and one of rape in the camping area.

Senior Sergeant Latham said it was good to see women reporting sexual assaults.

“It is encouraging that people are taking positive action, but we of course wish that it didn’t happen at all.”

In a statement, Falls Festival co-producer Paul Piticco welcomed the arrest.

“These incidences have been happening at mass gatherings for years and we are encouraged by the fact that this unacceptable behaviour is being identified and people are coming forward,” he said.

“It takes a lot of courage and we are happy to be seeing a cultural change where victims feel comfortable to report.”

The statement also said there was still more work to do around the issue of sexual assault.

“As a society we need to continue to educate people about consent to eradicate this dreadful behaviour and provide victims with a safe space.”

Topics: sexual-offences, crime, carnivals-and-festivals, marion-bay-7175

Secrets of pickpocket family in wartime Melbourne revealed

Posted January 01, 2018 07:00:00

Newly released documents from the 1940s reveal the tactics used by a family of pickpockets operating on the streets of wartime Melbourne.

The criminal trial brief is among hundreds of private Section 9 records held by Victoria’s state archives released to the public today after being closed for 75 years.

What are Section 9 files?

  • Some Victorian Government files are kept hidden under Section 9 of the state’s Public Records Act 1973.
  • The section demands “personal or private” government records be withheld from public view for a period of time.
  • Examples include police and prison files, medical records and documents concerning children in state care.
  • Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds all state government records in climate-controlled conditions.
  • Section 9 files relating to adults are generally made public after 75 years and those relating to children after 99 years.
  • PROV releases a new batch of Section 9 files each year on January 1.

Peggy Thomas, her daughter Margaret Burles and Margaret’s husband John fronted court in January 1942 over the pickpocketing of Harold Haimes.

The family was notorious, with 43-year-old Thomas admitting to 63 prior convictions.

Margaret Burles’s father Roy Joseph Neely, aka Charles Thomas, was in Pentridge Prison at the time for “larceny from the person”.

‘Get away from me’

A fitter with the Air Force, Haimes spent much of his war service camped out on the Melbourne Showgrounds.

On the evening of December 23, 1941, he was on leave and walking to a tram in central Melbourne after going to the cinema with a friend.

According to his newly released police statement, he was walking past the Metropole Hotel on Bourke Street when he noticed two women and a man standing outside.

The three were later revealed to be Peggy Thomas and the Burles couple.

Margaret Burles called Haimes over and asked how he was while her mother and husband pressed up against him.

“I said, ‘Get away from me, I don’t want to have anything to do with you’,” Haimes said his statement.

The three backed away, at which point Haimes felt for his wallet and found that it was missing.

“I said, ‘One of you three has my wallet’,” Haimes recalled. “Margaret Burles said, ‘We don’t know what you are talking about’.”

Haimes repeated his accusation but the three ignored him and walked away.

Police had their suspicions

Haimes followed the pickpocketing threesome down a laneway and watched from afar as they stood in a shop doorway for a few minutes before leaving the way they came.

He went over to the shop to find his wallet lying on the ground, empty save his bank book, and followed the thieves back to the Metropole where he saw them hail a taxi.

He noted the taxi number and went to the police.

It seems police suspected Thomas and her kin straight away, as the following week Haimes went with detectives to the Carlton Hotel, which was a favourite haunt of the criminal family.

“I saw the three accused. They were holding their heads down,” Haimes said. “I pointed the three accused out to the detectives with me.”

Peggy Thomas and John Burles were both sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, while Margaret Burles was freed on a good behaviour bond.

“You are still young and have apparently never been set a good example by your mother, who began to lead a disreputable life while you were still a little girl,” Judge Magennis is reported by The Argus newspaper to have said.

“Because you have not had a chance in life I am giving you one now.”

A ‘very thorough’ witness

Haimes died in 2008, survived by his sons David and Ross, neither of whom had ever heard the story of their father being pickpocketed.

David Haimes said his father didn’t mention the story in a history he wrote of his time in the RAAF.

“Either he’d forgotten about it or he figured it wasn’t worth mentioning.”

Ross Haimes said he was not surprised his father had played detective by following the thieves.

“He was pretty thorough.”

He said his father was a kind-hearted and community-minded man who served on the local council in Belmont in Western Australia and volunteered his time for the RSL and local schools.

“The Redcliffe Primary School actually has named their performing arts centre after him.”

Topics: 20th-century, library-museum-and-gallery, history, historians, crime, human-interest, melbourne-3000

Man charged with murder of Byron’s beloved DJ DAD BOD

Updated December 28, 2017 16:17:05

A man has been charged with the murder of popular Byron Bay DJ Chris Bradley, known as DAD BOD, who was beaten to death on Christmas Day.

The 28-year-old “spinning legend” was unable to be revived after being assaulted at a party at a house in Carlyle Street, Byron Bay.

Police arrested a 24-year-old Byron Bay man at Ballina airport this morning after he arrived on a flight from Sydney.

It is alleged he struck Mr Bradley on the head several times. Police said all parties had been drinking and alcohol was a factor in the incident.

The two men knew each other.

Mr Bradley, who moved to Byron Bay from Sydney, was much-loved in the local dance music community and just three days before Christmas had played at a new venue RYCE.

He was a regular on local radio station Bay FM and also part-owned Byron-based artist management company, Atypical Entertainment.

Music Producer and CEO of Turban Records Taranpreet Ahluwalia described Bradley as “the spinning legend of Byron”.

His “heartbroken” sister Maddie Bradley took to Facebook to confirm his death and honour her brother.

“Chris was in an a horrible incident last night and wasn’t able to be revived,” she said.

“To say the words I’ve lost my big brother … it’s gut wrenching.

“Who could do such a horrible thing to such an amazing man.

“You lit up the room with your unique quirk personality and laugh, I’ll miss hearing it.”

Fellow DJ and Producer Thorne Nyker also took to Facebook to praise Mr Bradley’s compassion and drive.

“I love you mate,” he said.

“I promise to play your tracks in my sets till I can’t press cue and spin that jog wheel no more.”

Today BAY FM dedicated their afternoon show to Bradley by playing his favourite tracks.

The Byron Bay man charged with Bradley’s murder has been refused bail and will appear at Lismore Local Court on Friday.

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, crime, police, murder-and-manslaughter, music, byron-bay-2481

First posted December 28, 2017 16:12:39

Can urban design protect us from car attacks?

Posted December 22, 2017 16:14:54

As emergency services rushed to help after a vehicle was driven into pedestrians on Flinders Street in Melbourne, Associate Professor Douglas Tomkin — an expert on how to make pedestrians safer in exactly these situations — passed by in a bus.

His first thought was: “Oh no. Not again.”

The latest attack, which Victorian police say was not terror-related, underscores the need for new ways to design city features to reduce risk when these incidents occur, he said.

Designing out crime

Professor Tomkin and his team at the Designing Out Crime Research Centre at UTS have been working with NSW Police on finding ways to improve city design to make people safer in a world where any vehicle could be used in a deliberate attack on pedestrians.

“NSW Police have just been conducting some experiments in very similar circumstances, driving an SUV travelling at 80 kilometres an hour into bollards,” he said. Other tests will follow.

Professor Tomkin says:

“There are lots of different ways to make cities safer in these situations. It’s dependent on the context, these lot of things you can do at some places that you can’t at other places. If you were planning this at the street level, you might have chicanes, which require vehicles to turn corners and deliberately slows them down. There are ways in which you can take pedestrians off dangerous corners but still make it convenient for them.”

Some of these design features are detailed in the Safe Places — Vehicle Management report Professor Tomkin and the team at Designing Out Crime Research Centre helped develop in partnership with the NSW police.

More attacks will likely follow

The Flinders Street incident is unlikely to be the last, Professor Tomkin says:

“It’s just dreadful that these sorts of things end up prompting other people to think ‘I can do the same’. To be honest, the thing concerning a lot of us at the moment is New Year’s Eve and times when you get people massing in certain areas. If you have any incident which even can cause panic and get people running all over the place, it gets more difficult to control in those circumstances.”

We need to change how we design cities

Dr Pernille Christensen, a senior lecturer at UTS, is conducting research into the role that built environment plays in protecting crowded places.

Chicanes, steep verges, bollards, decorative planters, bus shelters, signs, statues, water features, and high kerbs are all examples of design features that can be used to slow down an oncoming vehicle or absorb impact so a human is not the first thing it hits.

Dr Christensen says:

“We’re talking to everybody from architects, urban designers and landscape architects on one end of the spectrum to property management, developers, investors and construction professionals at the other end.

“We want to achieve an integrated design where security features are considered in the design, planning and pre-construction development stages, rather than being considered as an afterthought. This way, people don’t necessarily say, ‘Oh that’s here to protect me’ but see the solution as just a nice feature of the space. So people feel safe, without feeling afraid.

“The trend is toward low sophistication attacks with vehicles and easily accessible weapons. As long as this continues to be the case, we need to think about how to protect our crowded places against this strategy. At the same time, we need to make sure our spaces are adaptable, because the mode of attack is always changing and we need to be one step ahead.”

Douglas Tomkin is Development Director for the Designing Out Crime Research Centre at University of Technology Sydney. Pernille Christensen is a Senior Lecturer in Property Economics and Development at the University of Sydney.

This article was written by Sunanda Creagh, Head of Digital Storytelling at The Conversation, and Jordan Fermanis, Editorial Intern.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Topics: crime, disasters-and-accidents, industrial-design, melbourne-3000, australia

Celebrities rally to free imprisoned former child sex slave

Updated November 24, 2017 19:52:21

The story of a 16-year-old girl who in 2004 killed a man who picked her up for sex is spreading around the world, after a number of high-profile celebrities joined a campaign to free her.

Cyntoia Brown was sentenced to life in prison over the killing of 43-year-old Nashville real estate agent Johnny Allen.

Allen picked her up off the street after she was forced into sex work by her boyfriend, a pimp who went by the name “Kutthroat” and serially abused her, the BBC reported.

Brown said after he picked her up, Allen took her to his house and showed her his gun collection, telling her he used to be an army sharpshooter.

She said when the pair got into bed, “he grabbed me in between my legs — he just grabbed it real hard … I’m thinking he’s going to hit me or do something like it”.

Allen then turned over in the bed, and Brown said she panicked, thinking he was reaching for a gun.

Thinking she was about to die, she shot him in the head with a .40-calibre gun that Kutthroat had given her.

Brown was arrested for murder and tried as an adult. She pleaded self-defence. The jury found her guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder, and aggravated robbery.

She will not be eligible for parole until she is 67.


Brown’s case has gone viral on social media after singer Rihanna posted about it on Instagram.

“Imagine at the age of 16 being sex-trafficked,” she wrote to her 58.2 million followers.

“Did we somehow change the definition of #JUSTICE along the way?? Cause … Something is horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away for life!”

Supermodel Cara Delevingne shared the post to her 40 millions Instagram followers.

Kim Kardashian West also tweeted to her 57.2 million following about the case, saying “the system has failed”.

“It’s heartbreaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life!

“I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this.”

Brown has since earned her Associate’s Degree from Lipscomb University while in prison and is currently working towards her Bachelor’s Degree.

She is also reportedly working side-by-side with the courts and the Juvenile Justice system as an unpaid consultant.

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Burks, the man who jailed Brown, said being young and likeable should not exonerate her.

“She wasn’t just somebody who made one mistake,” he said, according to the BBC.

“She was a very dangerous person. The choices she made were hers. She’s pretty and smart and articulate so people have decided to take up her cause. Let’s not forget her crime.”

Topics: crime, law-crime-and-justice, arts-and-entertainment, sexual-offences, murder-and-manslaughter, united-states

First posted November 24, 2017 19:37:32

I ‘played dead and waited until the blows stopped’: Streep recounts physical violence

Updated November 17, 2017 15:46:18

Acclaimed actress Meryl Streep says the two times in her life she dealt with violence were so profound it changed her “on a cellular level”.

Streep made the remarks at the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 27th annual International Press Freedom Awards in New York.

The Oscar-winner praised journalists for their bravery, telling the audience she did “know something about real terror”.

Streep recounted two incidents, one in which she said she was attacked and “played dead and waited until the blows stopped, watching like people say you do from like 50 feet above where I was beaten”.

Streep then described another incident when someone else was being abused.

She said in that case, she “went completely nuts” and chased the man off.

It was after telling the stories that Streep said the experiences changed her permanently.

“But I was changed by these events on a cellular level because women do know something particular about coming to the danger place.

“We come to it disadvantaged through the many millennia preceding our present moment and because of our vulnerability we anticipate danger, we expect it.

“We’re hyper alert to it, we have the 360 on the whole room.

“We have measurably more acute hearing, we have a better sense of smell, we notice details, what people are wearing, their tics and peculiarities.”

Streep went on to praise the journalists at the event for their contributions to society but also highlighted journalism in Mexico, where five journalists had been murdered in 2017.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is an organisation which protects the rights of journalists and promotes freedom of the press.

“Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you,” Streep told the crowd.

“You are the fourth estate, you are our first line of defence against tyranny and state-sanctioned news.”

Cher describes incident in 2013 Reddit Q&A

Streep did not give any more details about the incidents, other than to say Cher witnessed the second incident.

“Someone else was being abused and I just went completely nuts and went after this man. Ask Cher. She was there. And the thug ran away. It was a miracle.

“But I was changed by these events on a cellular level.”

Cher described the incident in full in a 2013 Reddit Ask Me Anything, saying they had gone out to get ice cream together in New York City when the incident occurred.

“We walked around the corner, there was this huge guy ripping this girl’s clothes and trying to get her purse.

“Meryl just took off and starting yelling running towards them. Then I did too. The guy got frightened and started running towards US!!!

“I thought great, we saved the girl and now we’re going to get killed. When we got to the girl, she was completely shaken up. Her dress was ripped and she was crying.

“We kind of patted her, and we started talking to her, and we asked her if she needed help going anywhere or doing anything.

“She said she was a singing waitress. Then she started screaming ‘Oh my god I was just saved by Meryl Streep and Cher!!!!’.

“Then we looked over and there were two men standing there and they didn’t do anything.

“These two big asshole men just watched her.”


Topics: actor, film-movies, arts-and-entertainment, journalism, community-and-society, law-crime-and-justice, crime, assault, united-states

First posted November 17, 2017 15:02:58

Vince Colosimo avoids jail after driving while on ice

Updated November 03, 2017 12:48:57

Vince Colosimo has avoided jail for driving while on the drug ice, but the Australian actor has lost his licence and been fined.

Colosimo, 50, had a suspended licence when he was caught behind the wheel after taking the drug.

He admitted to the offences during a hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard police stopped Colosimo’s car on Exhibition Street in Melbourne’s CBD in March.

They discovered he had methylamphetamine in his system and was serving a six-month suspension for demerit points.

The magistrate said it was the third time Colosimo had been caught driving on a suspended licence.

He fined the actor $3,500 and banned him from driving for five months.

Colosimo is known for stage and screen roles including in Underbelly and The Wog Boy.

Topics: courts-and-trials, crime, law-crime-and-justice, community-and-society, drugs-and-substance-abuse, arts-and-entertainment, melbourne-3000, vic

First posted November 03, 2017 12:47:47