Bail for teenagers on assault charges

Two of three teenagers accused of the vicious bashing and robbery of a man in Dubbo last week have been released on bail.
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Richard Scott McDonald, 19, along with two juvenile males aged 16 and 17, was arrested in a laneway adjacent to Park Street in North Dubbo after the violent assault outside Ben Furney Flour Mills in Brisbane Street.

Police allege at about 8.30pm one of the trio asked the 35-year-old victim for a cigarette, before all three began punching the man to the head.

When the victim fell to the ground the onslaught continued with the teenagers kicking the man to the body, according to police facts tendered to Dubbo Local Court during Mr McDonald’s appearance.

The group allegedly then stole the victim’s wallet, taking $50 from it before discarding the wallet in Muller Park.

The victim sustained a swollen jaw, bloodied nose and suspected broken ribs in the attack.

The three were arrested by patrolling police shortly afterwards.

The 16-year-old youth was given bail on the night of the alleged offence while Mr McDonald and the 17 year old appeared in court charged with aggravated robbery and robbery in company.

Magistrate Elaine Jacob remanded the juvenile in custody, however despite objections from the police prosecutor Mr McDonald was granted conditional bail.

The prosecutor argued he should kept in custody due to the serious nature of the offence. The matters were adjourned until February 19.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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Police chief denies resources an issue

The Cowra-based Member for Lachlan Ian Armstrong has attacked the State Government over allocation of resources to the laboratory testing DNA samples taken from the crime scenes.
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Mr Armstrong said the investigation of a home invasion in Cobra Street in the early hours of New Year’s Day was being delayed because vital DNA clues could not be processed quickly.

Legislation passed last year allowed police to begin using DNA evidence in the investigation of crimes.

A spokesperson for Mr Armstrong, who is a friend of the victim, said the MP had contacted Western Region police commander Doug Graham after the incident during which the victim was thrown to the ground, bound and “physically and mentally abused”.

Mr Armstrong claims after his telephone call to the regional commander he was contacted by two Dubbo detectives who told him they had collected DNA evidence vital to their investigation from the scene but were unable have it processed for two months.

However, the former State National Party leader is playing politics, according to Orana police commander Superintendent Ian Lovell.

“If the DNA evidence was important in identifying the offenders we would simply pay more money and have the testing done now,” he said.

“As it is, the alleged offenders were identified on the day of the crime and there are warrants out for their arrest in relation to that incident and other crimes, so as soon as they are found they will be brought in.

“We wouldn’t need the DNA evidence processed until they went to trial and if that was to happen within two months it would be a first.”

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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Nursing home flooded as rain drenches coast

A NURSING home in Nambucca Heads was flooded last night after the North Coast was hit with more than 230 millimetres of rain.
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Workers from the State Emergency Service were called to the Nambucca Valley Care nursing home, which houses 40 residents, at 10pm. At the same time, the bureau of meteorology issued a flash-flood warning, predicting heavy rain throughout the night and king tides bringing waves of four metres.

The home’s chief executive, Stephen Richards, said staff and emergency crews dealt with the flooding and there was no need to evacuate the residents.

"It was pretty heavy rain everywhere but we’ve dealt with it."

In the 24 hours to 9am yesterday a low pressure trough, which had already drenched the Gold Coast, deposited 190 millimetres of rain on Huonbrook, near Lismore. During the same period Upper Main Arm, near Mullumbimby, recorded 184 millimetres, while Bald Mountain, inland from Cape Byron, received 175 millimetres.

Hardest hit was the town of Girralong, upstream from Nambucca Heads, which had been pelted with 239 millimetres of rain by 10 o’clock last night.

An SES spokesman said volunteers responded to 30 calls last night, mainly to provide sandbagging to prevent houses from flooding. Macksville Bowling Club, 12 kilometres south of Nambucca Heads, suffered damage to its roof.

Simon Louis, of the Department of Meteorology, said the Hunter Valley was likely to receive heavy falls today.

Yesterday Sydney workers heading to work through the gloomy fog and drizzle could have been forgiven for having forgotten that last month was the city’s driest May on record.

"We have already had more than eight times the rain that fell in all of May," Mr Louis said.

More is on the way, with forecasters tipping rain or showers until at least Monday.

Sydney is likely to see more of the thick fog that blanketed the city yesterday, halting ferries.

At 8.38pm Sydney’s high tide is tipped to peak at 2.08 metres, the highest for at least 16 years.

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Report warns of dire farm future

The report also predicts that temperatures in the Dubbo region will increase, on average, by 1.9 degrees Celsius by 2050 and that inflows into the Burrendong Dam will decrease by up to 30 per cent, resulting in significant reductions of irrigation capacity.
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The report, Climate Change and Agriculture in NSW: The Challenge for Rural Communities, was released by the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, the Climate Action Network and Greenpeace.

The report looks at the impacts of climate change on agriculture in NSW and is based on CSIRO research, the groups claim.

The report says farmers will face reduced access to water, higher salinity, more droughts and floods because of climate change.

Farmers in drought-prone areas of the State can expect to face drought more often and for longer periods with the incidence of spring droughts predicted to double in all regions.

For Dubbo and areas north, the report predicts there will be a doubling of extremely wet autumns by 2050 and double the spring droughts.

It also predicts a decrease in wheat yields and the area of arable land.

The Macquarie River Basin is expected to lose 6 to 23 per cent of its agricultural economy and the greatest losses will be in sheep, beef and wool which constitutes 63 per cent of the agricultural economy.

The three groups responsible for the report warn that farmers face a dire future unless greenhouse gases are dramatically reduced.

Conservation Council executive officer Kathy Ridge said farmers should be demanding a greater commitment from governments to reduce greenhouse gases.

“Climate change will cause greater competition between NSW farmers for decreasing water supplies and productive lands,” she said in a statement.

“NSW farmers should be demanding a strong commitment from governments to fight the causes of global warming.”

Climate Action Network spokeswoman Anna Reynolds said farmers should demand a political commitment to increase funding for native revegetation of salinity-affected land and a halt to land clearing.

Greenpeace said Australia’s position on the Kyoto protocol had thwarted international efforts to halt climate change.

He called on rural politicians such as deputy prime minister John Anderson and MP for Farrer Tim Fischer to take up the challenge to reduce the impacts of climate change.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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I stood to gain from euthanasia, says partner

ALZHEIMER’S sufferer Graeme Wylie would have been unable to get and ingest the drug that killed him without the help of his partner, Shirley Justins, and friend Caren Jenning, Justins told the Supreme Court yesterday.
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Justins acknowledged she stood to gain financially and had been relieved of the obligation of "caring for a sick and difficult man for several more years" when he died.

But she rejected suggestions that she had a conflict of interest or had placed her interests above his in organising for Jenning to obtain the drug Nembutal from Mexico.

Justins was giving evidence in the trial against her and Jenning over Mr Wylie’s death.

The women are accused of plotting his murder, or assisting his suicide.

Jenning has admitted importing an illegal drug.

Under cross-examination Justins admitted telling lies to the police and doctors on the day of his death, and misleading three doctors and a solicitor before his death about his state of health and his suicide plans.

She also admitted lying to her barrister – before she changed her plea to admit she was guilty of assisting Mr Wylie’s suicide after the trial had started – and lying in court in earlier evidence.

Crown Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi, QC: "And all of that was done to try to protect you and Caren?"

Justins: "Yes."

The court heard that Mr Wylie changed his will a week before his death, leaving almost all his $2.4-million estate to Justins.

In the earlier will his daughters would have gained half, meaning his home at Cammeray would have needed to have been sold.

Mr Tedeschi: "You thought it was unfair after 18 years together to have to sell [the home at] Cammeray?"

Justins: "Yes … I didn’t know where I would live if he passed away … I didn’t want to move from Cammeray."

Mr Tedeschi suggested Justins did not try to dissuade Mr Wylie from committing suicide when he suggested it, or getting him help for possible depression.

Mr Tedeschi: "That’s why you so readily accepted the very first statement by Graeme to commit suicide because you thought it was a great idea?"

Justins: "No."

You would inherit from him and you would get your freedom? – That’s not true.

Your plan was: 1. Change the will. 2. Graeme dies? – That’s not true.

You faced several more years of caring for a sick and difficult man? – It was Graeme’s wish to finish his life, not my wish.

You had a gross conflict of interest in your involvement in this death between what was best for him and what was best for you? – That’s not true.

His death relieved you of the obligation of potentially caring for a sick and difficult man for several more years? – Yes.

The trial continues.

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