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Australian News

Police search for Alan, 71, after he vanishes from Frankston Hospital


There are fears for an elderly man with dementia who disappeared from a Melbourne hospital and has not been seen since Wednesday night.

Cranbourne man Alan was last seen at Frankston Hospital on Hastings Road in Frankston about 7.15pm.

Police and family have concerns for the 71-year-old’s welfare as he has dementia and was in hospital for treatment for a medical condition.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said Alan didn’t use public transport and didn’t have a mobile phone with him, so it’s believed he would “most likely be walking around”.

Officers were told he may head to Berwick, Clyde or Dandenong.

Alan was last seen wearing a green polo top and vest, blue jeans, red cap and black sandals.

Anyone who sights Alan should phone triple-0.



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Knife wielding man shot dead by police after carjacking


A carjacker moved towards police with a knife before he was shot dead by officers in Victoria’s east.

The terrifying incident unfolded after an Audi driver was carjacked by a knife-wielding man at a Mirboo North carpark about 7.40am on Thursday.

The stolen silver vehicle was seen driving dangerously through the Latrobe Valley before police spotted it and pursued it until it crashed into a guard rail at Drouin.

There, officers confronted the male as he exited the car wielding a knife and lunged at police.

“(He) refused demands to put the weapon down, advanced on police, two shots were fired and the male was struck,” Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said.

Officers gave the man first aid and called for an ambulance.

Despite efforts of police and paramedics to revive him, he died at the scene.

The deceased man, aged 31, lived in the Morwell area.

He was “fairly itinerant” and while he was known to police, there were no outstanding matters against him, Mr Weir said.

The incident involved a sergeant and three senior constables from the Baw Baw area.

A male officer is understood to have fired two shots.

“I’ve spoken with all four officers who were present and they’re all extremely shaken,” Mr Weir said.

“No one goes to work and thinks they’re going to have to be placed in that position.

“They’ve taken action as per their training to try and apprehend the offender for a really violent series of offences.

“I’ve spoken with them and they’ll have plenty of support through the investigation and ongoing to try and deal with the trauma that no doubt they’ll feel as a result of this.”

Mr Weir said the Audi driver was unharmed but no doubt affected by the ordeal.

“It was certainly a terrifying experience in a quiet part of South Gippsland early in the morning to be confronted by an offender armed with a knife and have your car taken,” he said.

Eyewitness Brock said he saw the moment the stolen vehicle crashed head-on into another car before the man got out and “came at police”.

“Police were yelling at him to drop it (the weapon), he didn’t drop it,” Brock told 3AW moments after the drama unfolded.

“The detectives were yelling at him to drop it, they gave him every opportunity to drop it.

“He was just erratic, he was running around.

“He didn’t seem to be quite with it, he was agitated and aggressive. He wasn’t yelling.

“It was definitely scary for everyone else involved. They (detectives) were amazing.”

Earlier, road workers had to move out of the way as the stolen car sped through Traralgon.

“Literally we had to pull blokes from the side so they didn’t get clipped by him,” road worker witness Lochie Faust told the Nine Network.

“We had a bobcat working and the bobcat actually pulled in front of him to try and stop him.

“He went up the gutter and went straight up and around him, still doing probably about 100 (km/h).”

The homicide squad will investigate the circumstances of what occurred, overseen by the force’s professional standards command, as is protocol when a police officer’s gun is fired.

State coroner John Cain attended the scene on Thursday.

The focus of his investigation will be determined once he receives a police brief of evidence.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or saw the stolen silver Audi driving through the Morwell, Traralgon, Churchill and Drouin areas in the lead up to the shooting should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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Local News - Victoria

Coroner to examine death of man injured in crash with police car


During a directions hearing in the Coroners Court of Victoria on Thursday, Mr Spence said police believed the silver Commodore was connected to aggravated burglaries, thefts and the ramming of a police vehicle.

A car of that description was spotted in Frankston by a highway patrol car from Somerville. Senior Sergeant Burt, who was nearby, also heard the broadcast and began following the vehicle.

The Somerville highway patrol unit attempted to intercept the car, but the driver refused to stop and accelerated away, driving on the wrong side of the road. A pursuit was initiated at 8.18pm.

A minute later, the silver car travelled through the intersection of the Nepean Highway and Old Mornington Road in Mount Eliza, followed by the Somerville highway patrol car, Mr Spence said.

Senior Sergeant Burt was an “unknown distance behind” and approached the intersection as the traffic lights were red.

Ms Warner saw the silver Commodore and one police car pass through the intersection at speed before the lights turned green, giving her right of way.

She drove into the intersection and Senior Sergeant Burt’s car collided with the front driver’s side of her car about 8.20pm.

Mr Warner was taken to hospital with fractured ribs and other injuries. He never recovered and died on May 18, 2018.

The court heard that during police interviews, Senior Sergeant Burt said that he had both his lights and sirens activated.

However, the occupants of the car carrying Mr Warner all give evidence that they did not see either flashing lights or hear sirens from Senior Sergeant Burt’s vehicle prior to the collision.

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Mr Spence said another “critical factual dispute” would be related to Senior Sergeant Burt’s claim that he saw Ms Warner’s car slow down and appear to be stopping when he approached it, leading him to believe they had seen him.

The inquest could also examine whether the pursuit was initiated, conducted and terminated in line with Victoria Police pursuit policy, Mr Spence said.

Coroner Phil Byrne said the matter will proceed to a formal inquest.

He said his preliminary view was that he had no issues with other officers involved in the pursuit and that the contentious issues were “around primarily, if not exclusively, the performance of Senior Sergeant Burt”.

The crash was investigated by detectives from the major collision investigation unit, with oversight from Professional Standards Command and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.

A brief of evidence was provided to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the court was told, but charges were never pursued.

Mr Byrne said unless there was “new, dramatic evidence” which comes out at the inquest, he saw little prospect of re-referral to the DPP.

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Local News - Victoria

Alleged armed carjacker shot dead by Victoria Police


Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said when police confronted the man, he refused demands to put down his weapon and advanced on officers.

“Two shots were fired and the male was struck,” Mr Weir said.

Police and paramedics rendered first aid, but the man died at the scene.

Mr Weir said he had spoken to the four officers involved, who had been left “extremely shaken” by the event.

“No one goes to work and thinks that they’re going to be placed in that position but they’ve undertaken immediate action following a really serious criminal offence,” he said.

“They’ve taken action as per their training to try and apprehend the offender for a really violent series of offences and what’s happened has happened.”

The officers involved included a sergeant and three senior constables, all from the Baw Baw police district. Mr Weir would not say who had fired, but said the incident was “fairly instantaneous” and confirmed the two shots were fired by one male officer.

“They are very shaken, but I’ve spoken with them and they’ll have plenty of support through the investigation and ongoing to try and deal the trauma they’ll no doubt feel as a result of this, Mr Weir said.

Police and paramedics gave first aid, but the man died at the scene.

Police and paramedics gave first aid, but the man died at the scene.Credit:Nine News

The man was a Latrobe Valley local, known to police before Thursday’s incident.

Mr Weir said the man who was carjacked was not hurt, but it was “fairly terrifying for the owner of the Audi and for the police who were confronted with that male with the knife”.

Detectives from the homicide squad and Professional Standards Command will investigate the incident, and a report will be prepared for the coroner.

A caller to Melbourne radio station 3AW, identified only as Brock, said the man was being chased by police before he collided with an oncoming car.

“He proceeds to get out of his car and run towards my car holding something in his hand,” he said.

“It must have been a weapon of some sort because the police were yelling at him to drop it. He didn’t drop it and was shot twice.”

Brock said police “gave him every opportunity to stop”.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

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Police warn drivers on speeding, alcohol offences


Police in Victoria are pleading with drivers to use seatbelts following three fatal smashes already this year where the victims weren’t wearing them.

It comes as police across the country prepare to ramp up patrols ahead of the Australia Day long weekend, with some jurisdictions threatening to punish offending drivers with double demerit points.

Motorists in NSW, the ACT, Queensland and Western Australia face losing double demerit points this weekend for speeding, mobile phone, motorcycle helmet and seatbelt offences.

Victoria won’t be adopting the double demerit point approach. Instead, the state’s Road Policing Command Acting Assistant Commissioner John Fitzpatrick said police would be running Operation Amity, with officers holding random alcohol and drug testing across hundreds of sites.

“We know that people will be travelling to holiday destinations, and with this comes more traffic on our rural roads. If you’re driving long distances, take regular breaks and where possible share the driving to avoid fatigue,” he said.

“If you’re having a few drinks with your mates, make sure you’ve planned how to get home without driving. We want people to have a good time but do not want to be attending collision scenes where drugs or alcohol is a contributing factor.”

Assistant Commissioner Fitzpatrick said there had already been three fatal collisions this year where early investigations revealed seatbelts hadn’t been used.

He said seatbelts provided drivers and passengers with the “best chance of survival” in a crash.

“Always wear a seatbelt. There’s no excuse,” he said.

“Sadly, lives could have been saved if people managed to do this simple task.”

Operation Amity will run from midnight on Friday, January 22 until 11.59pm on Tuesday, January 26.

Meanwhile, South Australia police will be focusing on roads around the state’s beaches where thousands of people are expected to congregate.

“Some beaches in SA like Aldinga, Moana and Silver Sands allow cars to drive on the beach – so police patrols will be monitoring driving behaviour on and around those beaches in particular,” a South Australia Police spokesperson said.

“We just ask motorists to use caution when driving on the beach, obey all speed limits and be weary of pedestrians, especially children.”



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Two Australian Open tennis players test positive but may not have active coronavirus infections, Police Minister says



Ten positive COVID-19 tests have now been recorded among people who have flown to Melbourne for the Australian Open tennis tournament, including two players whose results were confirmed today.

Victoria’s Police Minister, Lisa Neville, said one of those new cases was a player who is in hard lockdown, and authorities believe their infection is not active, but shedding.

Ms Neville said another player and one of their support team have also tested positive and are unable to train until authorities can determine the status of their infections.

“In the meantime, the player, the support person and their bubble — so the other support person and player they’re with — will not be training until we have a final confirmation that they are shedding or that they are positive,” she said.

If they are positive, the player and their support person will go into the health hotel and their training partner and their support person will enter a hard quarantine as close contacts of a confirmed case, Ms Neville said.

The three new cases whose test results were received by the Victorian Government today will be reported in the official coronavirus numbers tomorrow, Ms Neville said.

Earlier, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said the hotel quarantine system was working well.

“We’re in our sixth day and so far our numbers have been extremely low and if they are active cases they go straight to the medi-hotel,” he said.

Paramedics this morning responded to a medical emergency at the View Hotel, where many tennis players have been quarantined.

Ambulance Victoria said one person was taken to hospital in a stable condition, but did not reveal whether the person was connected to the tennis.

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Player complaints still occupying Tennis Australia’s time

Tennis Australia has devoted considerable time to dealing with a vocal minority of players who have continued to complain about conditions in hotel quarantine.

Spanish player Roberto Bautista Agut issued an apology after he likened conditions in quarantine to being in jail, in a video he said was released without his consent.

In the video, Bautista Agut was critical of the Victorian Government, saying the quarantine arrangements were “a complete disaster”.

He later issued a statement saying it was a private conversation taken out of context and released to the media without his knowledge.

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Russian player Yulia Putintseva drew criticism yesterday for an Instagram post in which she was seen holding a protest sign in her hotel room.

Putintseva later continued to complain about cleanliness standards, posting videos of mice in her hotel room.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said Ms Putintseva was moved to a different room in the hotel, and she understood the player had been feeding the mouse.

“We don’t send cleaners into those rooms … so every tennis player needs to clean their own room and change their own bed if they want to do that,” she said.

“I’d just encourage them to minimise interaction with the mice, we will keep doing pest control if we need to, but hopefully that pest control work that was done this week will have fixed the problem.”

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Mr Tiley said Tennis Australia had to remind players that their complaints may not be well received in Melbourne.

“We’re doing the best we can to ask the players to be respectful of the Victorian community, who’ve been through a really tough time over four months of a lockdown, and paid significant prices in loss of life and also in jobs,” he said.

“It’s just one of those environments that we have to every single day talk to the players and ask them to respect that position.

“I believe the majority of them are, it’s just a select few that are not there yet.”

British player Johanna Konta spoke up during a conference call with hundreds of players earlier this week, urging them to be mindful of local sentiment and keep their complaints private.

She told Channel Nine that emotions were running high during the first few days of quarantine, and players were simply anxious about how they would perform after two weeks in a hotel room.

“A big part of that frustration for these players will be how well will they be able to perform and I think that just comes along with being a professional athlete and sometimes rationale doesn’t come into it,” she said.

“The reason we are here is to put on a show for the people of Australia, the people of Melbourne, and also the world stage.”

Quarantine bill to be paid in full by Tennis Australia

Ms Neville estimated the cost of quarantining players ahead of the Australian Open would run into the tens of millions of dollars, and said the bill would not be paid by the Government.

Earlier today, Mr Tiley suggested to Melbourne radio station 3AW that the Victorian Government would help out with quarantine costs, but could not say how much they would contribute.

“Well that’s still to be determined — perhaps next week or the week after we’ll know that, whatever the quarantine costs end up being,” he said.

Mr Tiley said Tennis Australia had exhausted its $80 million dollar cash reserve and had taken out a loan to fund the costs associated with player flights and hotel quarantine, but Ms Neville said his claims about taxpayers funding part of the bill were not correct.

“Hotel quarantine for the Australian Open is fully funded by Tennis Australia. I’ve triple-confirmed that again today [after seeing that information], it is fully funded by the Australian Open,” she said.

She said while the Government supported the Australian Open “as an event”, as it does with all big events, the additional cost of the quarantine arrangements was being funded by Tennis Australia.

“The taxpayer is not contributing to the [Australian Open] hotel quarantine program,” she said.

Tennis Australia is yet to reveal whether allowances will be made in its schedule for the 72 players in hard quarantine, but Mr Tiley hinted that could be a possibility.

“I think how we can adjust is what happens in the lead-in events, how many lead-in events we have and when we start and what the schedule is for those players who need more time,” he said.



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Local News - Victoria

Victoria Police lose bid to conceal whether underworld lawyer Joe Acquaro was a supergrass


Victoria Police has lost a bid to keep secret a series of reports that will reveal whether gangland lawyer Joseph “Pino” Acquaro had ever worked as an informer.

The history of Mr Acquaro’s interactions with police could be central to the appeals of at least two of his former clients who are serving lengthy jail sentences, reputed Calabrian crime figure Francesco “Frank” Madafferi and drug trafficker Saverio Zirilli.

Solicitor Joseph Acquaro (left) with his then client Rocco Arico outside court in 2015.

Solicitor Joseph Acquaro (left) with his then client Rocco Arico outside court in 2015.Credit:Channel Nine

The Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday against Victoria Police’s attempt to prevent the disclosure of materials it holds on Mr Acquaro by citing a “public interest immunity”.

“The judgement of the court is that, to the extent that the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police makes application for an order that the existence or non-existence of information pertaining to whether or not Joseph Acquaro was or was not a police informer is subject to public interest immunity, that application is refused,” the court said.



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Police vow to pursue unpaid COVID-19 fines, despite ‘poorly worded’ memo


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The note said charges would proceed only for people classified as tier three, who demonstrated “repeated, deliberate or continuing breaches of the Chief Health Officer’s directions”, or those infected with COVID-19 who refused to isolate.

However, Mr Nugent said police policy had not changed and officers would continue to pursue outstanding fines in court as they would other serious offences.

“A guide was prepared for prosecutors and police with respect to prosecuting fines. In hindsight, that document was poorly worded and doesn’t appropriately articulate the process for fines and warnings in relation to the Chief Health Officer directions,” he said.

“We will prosecute all those that should be prosecuted. It’s certainly not an area that we have policed in the past … in that context, those fines went to people who blatantly and deliberately breached CHO directions and put others at risk. So we will proceed with those as we would with other serious offences.”

Mr Nugent denied there had been any change to the policy position, or that less priority was placed on pursuing COVID-related fines. “There is no policy shift whatsoever in terms of our approach to those fines and the importance of those fines.”

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New advice is now being drafted, he said. About 40,000 fines have been issued during the pandemic and about 3000 have been paid. Another 5700 people who were fined have “accepted guilt” and established a payment plan, Mr Nugent said.

About 2400 fines have proceeded to court. Mr Nugent could not say how many of the 40,000 fines had been withdrawn.

People were fined $200 for not wearing face masks in public and up to $1652 for most stay-at-home order breaches. Fines of $4957 applied for unlawful gatherings and COVID-positive people who failed to self-isolate.

Premier Daniel Andrews distanced himself from the police advice after it was reported on Monday, saying it was not a government decision.

“Victoria Police are completely independent of the government, that’s not a decision the government’s made, that is a decision the Chief Commissioner has made,” he said. “The exact details of those decisions, why they’ve done what they’ve done … you’d have to speak to the Chief Commissioner about that.”

In October Mr Andrews said fines must be paid, as he warned: “We will come after you if you don’t.”

Fines issued for breaches of the Chief Health Officer’s directions are reviewed by police. A fine recipient can also request a second review by Victoria Police.

If the fine proceeds, the person has 28 days to pay and if they do not, they receive a reminder and final notice. If they still do not pay, it is referred to Fines Victoria, a warrant is issued and it proceeds to the Sherriff’s Office.

People can also elect to have their matter heard by a court, in which case the informant – the officer who issued the fine – prepares a brief of evidence and, if approved, a summons is issued and the matter will proceed to court.

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Police to drop most COVID-19 fines and hand out cautions


Police Association Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt said the decision had inflamed tensions within the force after officers spent months enforcing the deeply unpopular COVID measures.

“Our members were asked to do a thankless job by the government and they did that,” he said.

“If offenders form a view from this experience that penalties will be readily converted to cautions or diversions as a matter of course, then that sends a concerning message. We want to encourage wilful compliance and not encourage civil disobedience.”

Police union secretary Wayne Gatt.

Police union secretary Wayne Gatt.Credit:Jason South

The decision is expected to infuriate the people who have already paid their fines, of which there were only 845 up until October last year.

Fairfield man Michael O’Reilly, who paid a $1652 fine for breaching public health guidelines, said the new policy served to highlight the government’s inconsistent approach.

He said police were now more lenient after playing “hard ball” at a protest he took part in outside Preston’s Mantra Hotel last April. Dozens of other protesters were also fined.

According to the most recent data from Fines Victoria, more than 19,000 penalty notices were issued by October last year. Of those, 18 per cent had reached a “notice of final demand” stage, while a further 3455 had been registered with Fines Victoria for enforcement action.

Michael O'Reilly was fined for attending a protest to free refugees at the Mantra Hotel in Preston.

Michael O’Reilly was fined for attending a protest to free refugees at the Mantra Hotel in Preston.

The new guidelines, prepared by the force’s legal services department and circulated in an internal email on December 17, urge police prosecutors and officers involved in contested cases to take the most lenient approach.

“There are three tiers in the guide and informants/prosecutors must proceed with the lowest tier option unless inappropriate to do so,” the email states.

Charges will only proceed for people classified as tier three, who demonstrated “repeated, deliberate or continuing breaches of the chief health officer’s directions,” or those infected with COVID-19 who refused to isolate.

The guidelines represent a major backflip of enforcement action by the Andrews government and Victoria Police, which had previously adopted a hardline approach and issued thousands of fines after the state of emergency was declared in March.

Victoria Police issue fines to protesters.

Victoria Police issue fines to protesters.

People were fined $200 for not wearing a face mask in public and up to $1652 for most stay-at-home order breaches. Fines of $4957 applied for unlawful gatherings and COVID-positive people who failed to self-isolate.

Mr Gatt said the decision to avoid prosecuting offenders has fuelled tension with the Police Association, whose members were forced to implement the tough measures.

“These penalties, once issued, were reviewed. In all other cases police have already used their discretion,” he said.

“Once police have issued a penalty however, and it’s contested, matters should be heard at court as there is surely a public interest in ensuring ongoing deterrence and compliance.”

Liberty Victoria President Julia Kretzenbacher called on the government to review the fines that had already been paid, in the interest of fairness.

“We need the response to COVID-19 to be health-based, not a policing response, so it is encouraging Victoria Police has been told to exercise discretion in most circumstances, so that people are not saddled with huge fines,” Ms Kretzenbacher said.

She said disadvantaged communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 fines.

Mr O’Reilly, 62, was fined as he gathered with fellow Refugee Action Collective supporters on Good Friday.

His written objection to the fine was rejected and he chose not to take the matter to court because he has health issues and didn’t want the stress or the conviction.

Refugee Action Collective spokesman Chris Breen said ‘‘heavy handed, discriminatory policing and crushing fines have never been an acceptable part of dealing with a public health emergency”.

He said while the police change in policy was welcome, police were still pursuing 30 refugee supporters for $50,000 in fines resulting from the Preston car convoy.

“I am still facing an incitement charge to be heard in the Magistrates Court … for being one of the organisers of the convoy,” Mr Breen said.

“Police should withdraw the fines and the charge, which are both inconsistent with the new approach, and an outrageous attack on the right to protest.”

Berhan Ahmed, a University of Melbourne adjunct professor and African-Australian community leader, said infringements issued to residents from nine public housing towers who found themselves in ‘‘hard lockdown’’ in July had further traumatised them.

He said some residents who had mental health issues and drug addictions were fined for leaving their apartments.

“They wanted to sneak out of the place and needed health workers instead of police,” he said.

Dr Ahmed said many of those who received fines were already under great financial and emotional stress.

“They are already struggling to pay their bills and then they receive a fine that they can’t afford.”

Katherine Ellis, CEO of Youth Affairs Council Victoria, welcomed a “compassionate and constructive approach” from authorities.

“It is cruel and distressing to ask children, young people and their families to pay thousands of dollars of fines on top of all the challenges COVID-19 has presented with job loss, disrupted education and social isolation,” she said.

Victoria Police did not respond to questions from The Age, but released a statement.

“Victoria Police supports the chief health officer by enforcing the directions that are in place at the time and issues infringements to those who blatantly breach the directions,” a spokeswoman said.

“To ensure consistency across the organisation when dealing with reviews or contested infringements for breach of CHO directions, guidance in the form of a three-tiered system was developed. This approach provides direction, consistency and parity.”

A Victorian government spokesperson said fines had played a critical role in sending a clear message that anyone who blatantly and deliberately breached the Chief Health Officer’s directives would face a penalty.

“Victoria Police makes prosecutorial decisions independent of government, and it would be inappropriate to intervene in these decisions,” the spokesperson said.

“Victoria Police have had extensive checks in place throughout the pandemic to ensure all fines are appropriately issued.”

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Lovemore overcame racism and police violence to become a champion boxer, now the courtroom is his ring


Lovemore Ndou was 16 when a cashier flirted with him at the supermarket.

It might seem innocuous, but a white woman flirting with a black man in South Africa during apartheid was anything but.

When authorities weren’t able to pin a sexual assault on him, they instead accused him of theft before taking him to a cell where they broke his arm and let a dog — trained to “kill black people on sight” — almost tear out his eye.

It’s left a scar he still bares next to his eye socket — a reminder of the three-time world welterweight champion’s childhood in a country where race defined lives.

“It made me realise a black man’s life in South Africa was worthless at the time,” Mr Ndou said.

“My own life was nothing in my country. I decided in the hospital bed I’d be a lawyer one day.”

Mr Ndou, 49, practices family and criminal law from an office at Rockdale, in Sydney’s south.

a family posing for a graduation photo
On the day of his graduation from the University of New South Wales.(Supplied)

In his new book, Tough Love, he reveals he did not receive a formal education until he was nine years old and when he first went to TAFE in Sydney he had to ask his stepdaughter to teach him how to use a computer.

Since coming to Australia in 1996, he’s earned six degrees across law, human rights and political science.

But Mr Ndou has always been a self-styled “poster boy for the underdog” in and out of the ring.

He grew up in a town called Musina, a border town between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

A man with dark skin and a beard sits on a lounge chair.
Mr Ndou in his office where his university qualifications are proudly displayed.(ABC News: Mridula Amin)

With apartheid’s dehumanisation on one side and a civil war raging on the other, he witnessed humanity at its darkest.

Aged eight, he witnessed rapes and murders in his community at the hand of guerilla fighters loyal to Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.

Five years later, his best friend died in his arms after being shot by a white police officer during an apartheid protest.

A rage brewed inside Mr Ndou — and while he was a keen sportsman, his fiery temper saw him thrown out of most matches.

a shirtless black man in a boxing pose
A 24-year-old Mr Ndou in February 1996 at Brendon Smith’s gym in Charlton, Toowoomba.(Supplied)

One day, a security guard escorting him off a football field after yet another outburst suggested he try boxing.

This man, Divas Chirwa, would become his trainer and help launch his career into the World Boxing Council (WBC) ranks.

“I was wrong that you needed to be angry to fight, boxing is scientific,” he said.

“It’s like playing a game of chess you need to be thinking, and it’s only when you’re calm that you think straight.

“That lesson changed me as a boxer, it changed me as a person.”

A man sat at a desk
Mr Ndou in his office in Rockdale.(ABC News: Mridula Amin)

But no matter how formidable he was in the ring, he couldn’t escape the racial discrimination.

Although South Africa lifted a ban on interracial fights in 1973, the bouts were rarely evenly judged.

Mr Ndou had to take it to the extreme to secure a win — many of his opponents would leave the ring with a broken nose if they weren’t knocked out.

It was a dirty play and Mr Ndou knew if he stayed, his career would become compromised.

“I’d done my research and knew this country had a keep Australia white policy so I didn’t expect the treatment to be different,” he said.

“But when I arrived, they treated me like a human being.

“I got a shock when I saw a white person cleaning my toilet in the hotel.”

A man dressed in a suit boxing
Mr Ndou couldn’t escape racial discrimination even as a boxer.(ABC News: Mridula Amin)

Because of his experience, Mr Ndou doesn’t believe Australia is a racist country even if he believed there was racial injustice.

“We can’t judge the whole country on those incidents, perhaps I think that way because I come from somewhere where racism was legislated,” he said.

However, he says the black lives matter movement holds reckoning for the nation.

“‘When we say black lives matter, we’re not saying other lives don’t matter but in the context of people dying in custody, it’s black people,” he said.

“We need focus.”

a man holding up several cummerbunds and belts and smiling
After his last boxing bout on the Gold Coast in 2012.(Supplied)

Mr Ndou’s most memorable win came in 2010, when he won his second world title in South Africa.

“To go back to that country that I had to leave years ago because I wasn’t given the opportunities that I needed as a fighter, to fight in front of my people and win the world title, it was amazing,” he said.

When the judges declared he had won by unanimous decision, he dedicated the victory to Nelson Mandela.

Mr Ndou is about to earn his seventh degree in law, communication and politics, and devotes part of his week to doing pro bono work for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

A man with boxing gloves on.
Mr Ndou trains at a gym in Liverpool.(ABC News: Mridula Amin)

He doesn’t trade blows as much as he used to but is considering entering a different kind of fray.

“I’ve been vocal about entering politics and taking on corruption will be my next step,” he said.

He doesn’t expect to keep the gloves on if he makes it into the political arena.

“I’m a tough person, I’ll push through,” he said.



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