Police shooting in Redfern: man dead

Redfern shooting … police at the scene. Man shot … his truck crashed into the outside of a hotel.
Nanjing Night Net

A man has died after being shot while driving in Redfern.

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Police have a shot a man outside a pub in Redfern, after he allegedly drove at them and hit a pedestrian in a truck stolen from the City of Sydney council, a senior police source says.

The man, who is believed to be in his 40s, was driving a small work truck down a “shared zone” road near Redfern station just before midday on Friday when police opened fire.

The truck crashed into the outside of the Railz Hotel.

A NSW Ambulance spokesman said: “One patient is unfortunately deceased”.

Paramedics were treating two other people for minor injuries, he said.

The source told Fairfax Media the council had reported one of their trucks as stolen.

When police called on the driver to stop, he allegedly accelerated, hit a pole and a pedestrian, the source said.

Police believed he was using the vehicle as a weapon and also drove at officers, who escaped before the truck crashed.

Shots were fired, but the cause of the man’s death is yet to be determined.

A witness, who did not wish to be named, said he heard two gunshots. He then saw the truck with a smashed windscreen and crumpled roof.

The male police officer who allegedly fired the shots was being consoled by other officers.

“He was walking back from the scene and other officers had their hands on his shoulder,” he said.

A few minutes later, the officers reached inside the smashed car to pull the man out.

The witness said the man slumped out of the car and onto the road. “His body was slumped between the door and it fell down,” he said. “It looked like he was gone.”

Several ambulances have been requested and are attending the scene.

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‘Bunch of $2 companies’: committee did not assess tender firms, corruption inquiry told

Ian Macdonald.A corruption inquiry has heard that an evaluation committee who decided on which mining companies would be awarded exploration licences paid no heed to whether the companies actually had the financial capacity to carry out the work.
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William Hughes, a senior public servant who was the head of a three-person evaluation committee, admitted that the committee did not assess the expertise, skills or “know-how” of any mining companies who were tendering for multi-million dollar coal exploration licences.

The Independent Commission Against Commission is inquirying into the granting of coal exploration licences in 2009 by the department of then resources minister Ian Macdonald. The commission has heard that the family of Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid used inside information to gain profits of $100 million.

Another member of the evaluation committee Ado Zanella admitted that the committee ignored one of the selection criteria which was “the demonstrated financial ability to fund work programs and subsequent mine and infrastructure development.”

Mr Zanella agreed with Commissioner David Ipp’s proposition that “a bunch of $2 companies…who could promise the world” could get the licences without having the means to carry out the work.

The commissioner was critical of the committee’s failure to properly examine the prospective bids saying that it was representing the people of NSW to ensure “we were going to get value for money.”

“We are talking here about gatekeepers..to let the right people get the the exploration licences,” said Commissioner Ipp.

Only days before the winning bidders were announced the preferred tenderer Monaro Mining, which had never mined any coal, announced it was pulling out. It wrote a letter to the evaluation committee saying it was transferring its interests to Royal Coal, then in further correspondence it corrected that name to Loyal Coal, then to Voope.

Mr Hughes said he was not “curious to know” who was behind these entities. He also agreed that he made “no inquiry whatsover as to what was going on” with this last-minute change of corporate entities.

Loyal Coal and Voope have been revealed as companies associated with Eddie Obeid, himself a former mining minister.

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Gatto hands over money to brain surgeon

Cancer fight … Dr Charlie Teo and Mick Gatto.It was an unlikely combination, but controversial brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo is happy Melbourne underworld figure Mick Gatto came through with the goods – a $673,263 cheque to fund research in the fight against brain cancer.
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Mr Gatto, who is no stranger to controversy himself, presented Dr Teo the money on Thursday night at the Four Seasons hotel in Sydney, after a gala dinner attended by 1200 people in Melbourne earlier this month.

But Mr Gatto, who earlier this week was seated at the Danny Green world boxing title fight in Melbourne with a litany of underworld figures and bikies, denies he is attempting to buy respectability by over the years making significant contributions to numerous charities, including raising $1 million for firefighters in April 2009.

“I did what I had to do for a great man, Dr Teo,” Mr Gatto said.

This tale of two cities started earlier this year when Dr Teo saved the mother of one of Mr Gatto’s friends.

Dr Teo, the director of Sydney’s Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery, is held in high esteem, but has been knocked for carrying out radical surgery on tumours that other doctors consider inoperable.

A delighted Dr Teo said the odd coupling, when first reported in the Sun-Herald in July, brought a great deal of criticism. But he is used to the critics.

“My career has been full of malicious rumours, hyperbole and falsified stories over the years. It’s hurtful and at times makes me wonder about how humans can be so cruel,” he said.

“I was subject to criticism from friends and colleagues for teaming up with Mick. But associating with him, he’s been nothing but a gentlemen.

“They said morally how can you take money from Mick, but morally how can I not fight cancer.”

Mr Gatto and business partner John Khoury, along with Angelo “Fat Ange” Venditti, are currently being followed by a film crew doing a documentary on Melbourne suburb Carlton that inspired an Underbelly season.

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NZ intervenes in whaling case

New Zealand has formally intervened in Australia’s legal case against Japan over whaling.
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The NZ government told the International Court of Justice it was necessary to put its side of the dispute over scientific whaling, a statement released by the court said on Friday.

Australia began the case in 2010, arguing that Antarctic whaling by Japan was commercial, and not scientific as defined in the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW).

Japan rejected accusations it was breaching both the convention, and a ban on whaling in the Antarctic, claiming instead it was exercising its right to award scientific permits.

In the court’s statement, the NZ government outlines strict rules for scientific permits, and said any whaling that did not meet these rules was prohibited.

NZ’s decision to join the proceedings was probably co-ordinated with Australia in preparation for the oral phase of the case, according to Don Rothwell, professor of international law at the Australian National University.

“What may be interesting to see is whether other state parties to the ICRW take a similar course of action,” Professor Rothwell said.

Other countries potentially interested in joining the case could include the Netherlands on the anti-whaling side, and Iceland or South Korea on Japan’s side.

The case’s written proceedings were abbreviated earlier this year when Australia decided it was not necessary to reply to the Japanese written case, or counter memorial.

Professor Rothwell said oral hearings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague could now be expected in the northern spring of 2013.

The ANU’s Hilary Charlesworth, director of the Centre for International Governance and Justice, has been appointed as an ICJ judge ad hoc in the case which will be heard by a panel of judges.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society said it was fantastic news that the NZ government had stepped up to put more pressure on the whalers ahead of the coming Antarctic season.

“The Japanese government’s whaling program has much more to do with sushi than science,” the society’s director Darren Kindleysides said.

The Japanese whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru was earlier this week still in dry dock undergoing a refit, according to conservation group Sea Shepherd.

In previous years the whaling fleet has usually departed for the Antarctic by mid-November.

Sea Shepherd vessels are steaming north from Australia this year in an attempt to meet the whalers off Japan.

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‘We have a lot of very traumatised kids’: death casts a pall on schoolies

A crowd gathers at the scene of the fatal accident. Schoolies console each other outside the Chevron Renaissance.
Nanjing Night Net

Schoolies console each other outside the Chevron Renaissance.

Isabelle Colman fell from a Gold Coast highrise this morning.

Schoolies leave the Chevron Renaissance at Surfers Paradise after a teenage girl plunged to her death from a balcony at the hotel.

Traumatised schoolies are cutting short their end-of-year celebrations after a 17-year-old girl fell to her death from a Gold Coast balcony.

Police today identified the dead girl as 17-year-old Isabelle Colman from The Gap in Brisbane’s west. She was a student at Mt St Michaels College at Ashgrove.

Isabelle fell to her death from a balcony on the 26th floor of the Chevron Renaissance’s third tower onto the fifth floor pool deck about 9.30pm.

Police say the teenager was alone in the unit when the incident happened and that there was no inappropriate behaviour on the balcony before the fall. They have confirmed the death was ”non-suspicious”.

Her school mates who have been on the Gold Coast have gathered at Circle on Cavill apartments, which neighbours the tower where Isabelle fell.

The girls, many of whom are wearing their year 12 jerseys, were consoled by Red Frogs volunteers

A sombre mood has washed over the Gold Coast as young teenagers, who were just last night celebrating the end of their high school years, now struggle to come to terms with the death of their peer.

”Everyone’s devastated. Everyone wants to go home,” schoolie Zara Simon told Fairfax Radio 4BC.

”I’m going home now. I’m trying to get my bag and we’re going.

”We’re supposed to be going home tomorrow, but no, most people are leaving today.

”Schoolies is supposed to be holiday; it’s supposed to be fun, but someone died.

“It’s terrible.”

Ms Simon said her friend, who saw Isabelle fall to her death, was ”pretty shaken up”.

”He’s not very good at all,” she said.

Another schoolie, known only as Kelly, said her friend also witnessed the incident.

”One of my friends was actually on our balcony when it happened … it was just horrific,” she said.

”They just wanted to get out. They didn’t know what to do. She’s in shock.”

Kelly said hundreds of schoolies gathered outside the Chevron towers last night, with many sitting on the ground shaking in shock, as news of the death spread rapidly through Facebook and Twitter.

”And everyone was just sitting here shaking. No one knew what was happening. It was really scary,” she said.

”Our parents are texting us asking if it’s us … everyone just didn’t know who it was or what was happening down there.

”We’re just shaken up.

”I want to go home today. It’s the worst.”

Assistant police commissioner Graham Rynders said he could not comment on whether the incident was an accident, other than to say the teenager’s death, which was witnessed by six people, was not suspicious.

He said the family of the girl was deeply traumatised and were asking for privacy.

‘‘[This has] put a very dark cloud over this schoolies,’’ he said.

Gold Coast Schoolies Advisory Group chairman Mark Reaburn said teenagers were wandering the streets of Surfers Paradise this morning looking shocked and dazed.

”Its very solemn here. You can see it with kids walking around now, it’s very solemn,” he said.

”Schoolies for the kids has turned from a celebration to a very traumatic time. It’s going to be a very difficult day and night.

”We’ve had a lot of very traumatised kids. It’s an absolute tragedy for family and friends – and it’s impact across all of the kids – it’s been devastating.”

Mr Reaburn said the Red Frogs chaplaincy service was counselling teenagers last night and would continue to do so throughout the day.

”Our welfare network swung into action last night,” he said.

”We’d certainly say to parents if they’re concerned for their kids by all means come and collect them, but use the welfare network that we can offer.”

Queensland police inspector Pat Swindells told reporters last night it was a horrible end to an otherwise good start to schoolies.

“Young people who’ve come to Surfers Paradise have been exemplary in their behaviour and this is a very tragic incident that has occurred during what has been a very good week.”

The building was locked down after the fall and hundreds of schoolies were evacuated onto the street.

Police are preparing a report for the coroner.

In the wake of the incident, police are appealing for those schoolies who are staying on the Gold Coast to enjoy their last night at the event safely.Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling Lifeline 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

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