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Telstra taken to court over aggressive selling towards Indigenous Australians


Australia’s major telecommunications provider Telstra has been taken to court for admitting it aggressively sold mobile phone plans to vulnerable Indigenous communities.

On Thursday morning, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission confirmed it had taken legal action against the telco provider in the Federal Court following Telstra’s admittance of lobbing high cost mobile phone plans on Aboriginal people.

Telstra has admitted to breaching Australian Consumer Law between 2016 and 2018 after employees took advantage of 108 Indigenous customers and signed them up to multiple mobile phone plans without conducting credit checks or properly explaining terms and conditions.

Telstra has accepted a $50 million fine, to be confirmed by the court.

ACCC chair Rod Sims says Telstra’s wrongdoing caused severe personal financial hardship and ongoing distress for a number indigenous communities.

“These debts significantly impacted the affected individuals,” Mr Sims said.

“For example, one consumer had a debt of over $19,000; another experienced extreme anxiety worrying they would go to jail if they didn’t pay; and yet another used money withdrawn from their superannuation towards paying their Telstra debt.”

Telstra confessed that the five stores located in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and

South Australia used unfair selling tactics and took advantage of their bargaining position to sell products onto people whose first language may not have been English.

The ACCC said Telstra’s actions resulted in the customers incurring an average debt amount of $7400. Some cases were also referred onto third party debt collectors.

“In many instances, sales staff also manipulated credit assessments so consumers who otherwise may have failed its credit assessment could enter into postpaid mobile contracts. This included falsely indicating that a consumer was employed,” the ACCC said in a statement.

Mr Sims said despite Telstra becoming aware of these issues, it failed to act swiftly in rectifying the problem.

“This case exposes extremely serious conduct which exploited social, language, literacy and cultural vulnerabilities of these Indigenous consumers,” Mr Sims said.

“Even though Telstra became increasingly aware of elements of the improper practices by sales staff at Telstra licensed stores over time, it failed to act quickly enough to stop it, and these practices continued and caused further, serious and avoidable financial hardship to Indigenous consumers.”

Telstra board and senior management were unaware at the time of the serious misconduct by some of its retail staff.

The company has agreed to the filing of consent orders and joint submission of a $50 million fine, which will be decided by the court.



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Shayna Jack scared and paranoid, Court of Arbitration for Sport documents show


The Court of Arbitration for Sport has published its decision in the Shayna Jack case, revealing that the Australian swimmer described herself as “scared” and “paranoid” during the hearing.

Last week the Court announced the decision to reduce a four-year ban to two after Jack tested positive to Ligandrol in 2019.

The most revealing aspect of the hearing was the evidence given by an expert called by Sport Integrity Australia.

Professor Mario Thevis is the Vice President of Research at the Germany Sport University in Cologne.

Professor Thevis is also a director of the European Monitoring Centre of Emerging Doping Agents and is Editor in Chief of the monthly academic journal Drug Testing and Analysis.

Professor Thevis said that the available evidence meant that it could not be determined whether Jack had intentionally or unintentionally ingested Ligandrol.

However, Jack’s profile “does not suggest a longer-term use of an anabolic agent”.

The documents say that Jack was “subjected to a rigorous, thorough but very fair cross-examination” by the barrister for Sport Integrity Australia, Houda Younan.

Shayna Jack shouts as she watches relay teammates race in the pool
Shayna Jack’s profile did not suggest long-term use of an anabolic agent.(AAP: Matt Roberts)

Under cross-examination, Jack said the positive finding “killed” her and that she did not want to be left “fighting for my career”.

“I don’t want an innocent athlete like myself to go through this,” Jack said.

Jack added that she would “never touch” Ligandrol and that she was now “paranoid” and “scared” every day.

“I want to get to the bottom of how it happened to avoid it happening again.”

Sport Integrity Australia “accepted that there was no direct evidence that [Jack] ‘intentionally’ ingested Ligandrol to enhance performance”, agreed that the level of the banned substance was low, and there “was no evidence of any long-term usage” of the substance.

‘Denials … the common coin of the guilty’

Shayna Jack looks focused as she adjusts her goggles while standing outside the pool.
Shayna Jack has protested her innocence from the outset.(AAP: Glenn Hunt)

The sole arbitrator for the hearing was experienced Sydney QC Alan Sullivan, who said the World Anti Doping Code “makes it plain that the term ‘intentional’ is meant to identify those athletes who deliberately set out to cheat”.

Sullivan said he was “greatly impressed” by Jack as a witness, but added that he needed to “exercise great caution in accepting an applicant’s protestations of innocence”.

“While that is true, it would be an over-cynical and wrong approach to the evidence of [Jack] to start with the presumption that what they say is not to be believed or can only be believed if corroborated by other objective evidence.”

Sullivan noted there is a lack of scientific research looking at the performance enhancing benefits of Ligandrol, especially with regard to female athletes.

“This was not a case where either party could present reliable, relevant scientific data supporting or disproving intentional use of the prohibited substance for performance enhancing reasons,” he said.

“On the balance of probabilities … [Jack] did not intentionally ingest Ligandrol,” he said, ruling that Jack’s initial suspension be halved.

The Australian women's relay team holds their gold medals on the podium
Bronte Campbell (second left) and Cate Campbell (right) both provided character witness statements.(AAP: Darren England)

He also ordered the cost of arbitration be shared and each party pay their own costs incurred during the proceedings, at odds with a request from Sport Integrity Australia that the swimmer pay all costs.

Jack is believed to have spent more than $150,000 during the arbitration process.

Character references supporting Jack were provided by the coaching director of Swimming Queensland, Drew McGregor, the swimmer’s current coach, Dean Boxall, and fellow swimmers Cate and Bronte Campbell.

Sport Integrity Australia and the World Anti-Doping Agency have until the first week in December to appeal the decision, should they choose to.



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Court updates, girlfriend Amellia Bonnici, sexual assault, NRL news


Former NRL superstar Jarryd Hayne has arrived at court ahead of his sexual assault trial at Newcastle District Court.

Hayne, 32, arrived with his girlfriend Amellia Bonnici as he walked past a pack of cameras wearing a dark blue suit.

He appeared calm and headed straight for the courthouse door after being dropped off by a car in front of the building.

The ex-Parramatta Eels back has pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault causing actual bodily harm.

The charges stem from an incident on the night of September 30, 2018, when he is alleged to have had sexual intercourse with a woman, 26, without her consent at a home near Newcastle.

WHO IS JARRYD HAYNE?

The son of Fijian NRL player Manoa Thompson, Hayne was raised by his mother, Jodie, in a housing commission in western Sydney.

A true rags-to-riches tale, Hayne followed in his absent father’s footsteps by making his NRL debut at age 18. He was a sensation for the Parramatta Eels, winning the Dally M Medal as the league’s best player at age 21 while leading his team to the 2009 grand final.

The once-in-a-generation fullback was also a star at State of Origin level and was named NSW’s best player as it ended an eight-year drought in 2014, the same year he won his second Dally M.

The following year he stunned the competition by announcing he’d pursue an NFL career in America, where he defied the odds by earning a roster spot with the San Francisco 49ers after a sparkling pre-season and went on to appear in eight games as a running back and punt returner.

The successful transition in the US took Hayne’s fame to unprecedented heights but at age 27 it also marked the end of his time as an elite sports performer.

He left the NFL after the 49ers changed coaches and turned his hand to a third code, Rugby Sevens. After debuting for the world-beating Fijian side he failed to make the cut for the island nation’s Olympic squad, which went on to win a gold medal.

Hayne returned to the NRL in 2016 on the richest deal in the league’s history when the Gold Coast Titans paid him a reported $1.2 million a season. But he never recaptured his previous form and after forcing his way back to Parramatta he was out of contract at the end of the 2018 season when he was charged by police.



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Mother launches court action over fallen sign on Tullamarine Freeway


CPB Contractors, which was responsible for the construction and installation of signage on the Tullamarine Freeway, is also accused of repeated negligence, including failing to adequately design, construct and install the signage, according to the writ.

Ms Lettieri suffered head and spinal injuries along with post-traumatic stress disorder from the crash, which she described at the time as “like a roller door slamming shut in front of me”.

Nella Lettieri's car was crushed by a falling road sign.

Nella Lettieri’s car was crushed by a falling road sign.Credit:Nine News

The Transport Accident Commission had recently issued Ms Lettieri with a serious injury certificate, according to her lawyer, John Karantzis from Carbone Lawyers.

“Our client continues to suffer from severe physical and psychological injuries as a result of this incident and we intend to hold those responsible for these injuries to account,” Mr Karantzis said.

The incident prompted an investigation by CPB Contractors, which is part of the multinational CIMIC Group, formerly known as Leighton Holdings.

The review found the sign collapsed because of a “progressive fatigue crack” due to the omission of a stiffener plate during the fabrication process.

CPB Contractors declined to comment on the legal proceedings when contacted by The Sunday Age on Thursday.

A Department of Transport spokeswoman said it had conducted a thorough audit of similar signs and was confident the Tullamarine Freeway accident was an isolated incident.

“As this matter is now the subject of legal proceedings, we are unable to comment further,” the spokeswoman said.

Major Projects Victoria program director David Clements said it had undertaken an extensive review and site inspection of all overhead and roadside assets built by CPB Contractors as part of the CityLink Tulla Widening Project.

“These inspections did not identify any ongoing public safety concerns and we remain committed to working with government and industry to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Mr Clements said.

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Bourke Street attack findings to be handed down by Coroner’s Court


During Gargasoulas’ sentencing in the Supreme Court in 2019, Justice Mark Weinberg described the massacre as “one of the worst examples of mass murder in Australian history”.

At the time Melinda Tan, the widow of Mr Si, said through her lawyer she hoped an inquest into the deaths would shed light on past mistakes and “enforce changes that are needed”.

Watch a live stream of the findings here. It’s scheduled to begin at 10.15am:

In December 2019, Ms Hawkins began a six-week inquest into the deaths to explore how they could occur in the way they did and what, if any, potential for change there is to help prevent similar tragedies in future.

Gargasoulas driving outside Flinders Street Station shortly before the Bourke Street massacre.

Gargasoulas driving outside Flinders Street Station shortly before the Bourke Street massacre.Credit:Urban Desi

She heard evidence from police officers involved in the hunt for Gargasoulas, those involved in his earlier arrests, the bail justice who release him on bail six days before the 2017 massacre, senior Victoria Police officers, those from the force’s Critical Incident Response Team, and the families of those killed.

Bombshell evidence included revelations:

  • Of failed opportunities to arrest Gargasoulas in the hours before the tragedy.
  • That lives were put at risk by a “poorly co-ordinated, unplanned response” to his escalating offending.
  • Senior police, such as inspectors and superintendents, should have provided “active supervision” to “coalface” officers attempting the arrest.
  • The deluded driver may have decided to carry out his murderous rampage at the last moment.
  • Only Victoria’s elite Special Operations Group stood a chance of stopping him once in Melbourne’s CBD.
  • Elite officers didn’t box in or ram Gargasoulas’ car, fearing a “proverbial butt-kicking” for smashing the car.
  • The bail justice who freed Gargasoulas six days before the rampage claims police fabricated evidence to shift responsibility for the fateful decision to grant him bail.

The inquest also scrutinised Victoria Police’s pursuit policy and procedures, including the hostile vehicle policy introduced in late 2019.

Throughout the inquest, the police involved in attempts to apprehend Gargasoulas took to the witness box to give sworn evidence, including officers from the St Kilda and South Melbourne police stations and the Critical Incident Response Team, and detectives from the Port Phillip Criminal Investigation Unit.

The Age previously revealed the specialised unit CIRT ignored repeated requests from local police to help contain and arrest Gargasoulas in St Kilda and Elsternwick almost nine hours before the tragedy. Instead, Gargasoulas was tailed by police for hours after critically injuring his brother with a knife in Windsor before driving across Melbourne and ultimately through the CBD.

Audio from the police radio as Gargasoulas tore through the CBD revealed senior officers had pleaded for someone to “take the vehicle out before he kills someone”.

One of the two CIRT officers who eventually shot the killer, Senior Constable Roland Jones, told the inquest he believed he could have done more to stop the driver, but admitted that when he tried to block traffic with his van and stop Gargasoulas near the West Gate Freeway, he would’ve been breaking force policy.

Critical Incident Response Team police member Roland Jones arrives at the inquest.

Critical Incident Response Team police member Roland Jones arrives at the inquest.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Giving evidence on the 19th day of the inquest, an emotional Senior Constable Jones told the victims’ families: “I apologise that not more could be done to save your loved ones.”

Top officers also attempted to keep a bombshell report into police actions on the day – dubbed the Fontana report – secret before the coroner released all 496 pages.

During his time giving evidence about his report, Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana said St Kilda police officers, who had laid charges against Gargasoulas in the days before the deaths, had failed to fully escalate his risk of offending, create an adequate arrest plan or raise their concerns up the “chain of command” after he was bailed.

Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana arrives at the inquest.

Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana arrives at the inquest.Credit:Simon Schluter

But rank-and-file officers hit out at much of the stinging criticism, revealing they believed they had been operating within mandated work guidelines, which included prioritising peaceful, planned and negotiated arrests over high-speed car chases and the use of force.

The families of some of the deceased later accused the senior officers of failing to acknowledge their own faults and instead shifting blame onto front-line officers.

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Other relatives blamed complacency for what happened and said “the whole plan” to arrest Gargasoulas hinged on the pleas of one officer – Detective Senior Constable Murray Gentner – via phone and text messages where he asked the wanted man to surrender as he drove around the city.

Issues of how and why Gargasoulas was released on bail six days before the tragedy were also covered during the inquest.

It was revealed bail justice Christos Pantelios granted Gargasoulas bail despite him previously failing to report on bail 13 times.

Senior Detective Gentner, who was investigating Gargasoulas in the days before the killings, told the coroner he frantically ran down the stairs of a police station to stop the bail justice granting the criminal bail.

The officer gave evidence that he was so upset by the bail decision that he emailed his superiors, fearing Gargasoulas would hurt someone.

Detective Senior Constable Murray Gentner.

Detective Senior Constable Murray Gentner.Credit:Joe Armao

Conflicting accounts of the bail hearing at the St Kilda police station led to one officer being criticised for mistakes in his paperwork, while Mr Pantelios testified he could not recall significant details about the hearing and his recollections were “mixed”.

The bail justice admitted he failed to follow standard procedures during the after-hours hearing but claimed police did not make “a massive song and dance” about Gargasoulas being a danger to the public.

Bail justice Christos Pantelios.

Bail justice Christos Pantelios.Credit:Eddie Jim

Mr Si’s father, Kheng Si, told the coroner he struggled to understand how Gargasoulas was on bail, despite multiple prior breaches, and was able to elude law enforcers as he continued to offend.

On the final day of the inquest, Mr Si’s wife Ms Tan said she felt her husband had been “sacrificed” due to police complacency on the day of the deaths. She told the inquest that police were “never in control of the situation” when they failed to “stop one person in a car”.

“The offender played them and he won,” she said.

If you or anyone you know needs support call Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.

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Tyre shop shooting ‘self defence’ with victims linked the ‘Albanian mafia’, court hears


A Melbourne man who shot two brothers, killing one of them, at a tyre shop in the city’s west acted in self-defence and the victims were in the “Albanian mafia”, a court has been told.

Ahmad El-Chakik has pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and the alternative charge of intentionally causing serious injury over the shooting at Ravenhall in October 2017.

Edmund Shabani died from his injuries following the shooting but his brother Elvis survived the attack and the entire incident was caught on CCTV.

Mr El-Chakik drove to a police station after the shooting and told officers it was self-defence, prosecutor Mark Rochford said in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

“I acted in self-defence to get those people away from me,” he told the officers.

But Mr Rochford said there was an altercation between the men in the minutes before shots were fired.

“He strikes the first blow,” Mr Rochford said of the accused.

“He (the accused) brought this altercation on by his own actions. He wasn’t acting in self-defence.”

It is not disputed Mr El-Chakik shot the pair.

But his lawyer Glenn Casement told jurors on Wednesday the shooter was under attack in his own vehicle and the brothers had a violent history.

“They run the western suburbs, they are the Albanian mafia,” Mr Casement told jurors.

His client didn’t know what they were capable of so reached for a gun, Mr Casement said.

Mr El-Chakik sat quietly in the court, in the media box while jurors sat in the body of the court.

The accused man wore a black suit, white shirt and no tie, and wore a white mask during the opening arguments.

Lawyers gave their opening address from the jury box while socially distanced and only took off their masks to speak.

The jury members will be taken to the Ravenhall tyre shop on Thursday before the trial continues.



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Caster Semenya takes World Athletics to European Court of Human Rights over testosterone rule


South African double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya is taking her fight with World Athletics to the European Court of Human Rights.

Semenya is one of a number of female athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD), who World Athletics insist must reduce their naturally high levels of testosterone in order to compete.

This can be done either through the use of drugs or surgical interventions.

The regulations are for runners who compete in distances from 400m to one mile (1600m).

Women described as having DSD are said to have an unfair advantage due to excessive, but naturally occurring, testosterone in their system

Semenya has vowed to fight the regulations but has already lost an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and another subsequent plea to the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) asking for the CAS ruling to be set aside.

But on Tuesday her lawyers confirmed the runner would take her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“We remain hopeful that World Athletics will see the error it has made and reverse the prohibitive rules which restrict Ms Semenya from competing,” Semenya’s lawyer Greg Nott said.

The South African champion burst onto the scene as a teenager winning gold in the 800m at the 2009 World Championships.

She went on to win the 800m gold medal at the next two Olympic Games.

However, her success has been controversial due to her being an athlete with DSD.

The new regulations were introduced in 2018 and were immediately challenged by Semenya.

In 2019, the ruling against her was upheld by CAS.

Following this Semenya said she would not conform to the regulations and forcefully lower her natural testosterone levels.

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Caster Semenya confirms she will not reduce testosterone levels after winning Diamond League race in 2019.

World Athletics have consistently said the regulations are aimed at creating a level playing field for all athletes.

“World Athletics has always maintained that its regulations are lawful and legitimate, and that they represent a fair, necessary and proportionate means of ensuring the rights of all female athletes to participate on fair and equal terms,” the governing body said in a statement after the SFT case.

Then new regulations were also criticised by medical professionals.

The World Medical Association in 2019 urged physicians against performing these procedures on athletes.

The organisation’s chairman, Frank Ulrich Montgomery told ABC’s The Ticket that doctors should not be taking part in the practice.

“We do think it is extremely serious if international sports regulations demand physicians to prescribe medication — hormonally active medication — for athletes in order to reduce normal conditions in their body,” he said.

Athletics South Africa insist Semenya is still part of their team for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year, though over what distance remains to be seen.

She has also been competing in the 200-metre sprint, which falls outside of the World Athletics regulations.

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Shayna Jack’s lawyer claims Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling proves Australian swimmer didn’t cheat


Shayna Jack’s lawyer says the Australian swimmer has reason to feel vindicated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) decision to reduce her doping suspension to two years.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, whose functions are now operated by Sport Integrity Australia, had recommended Jack receive a four-year suspension after she tested positive to the banned substance Ligandrol last year.

The positive doping test had forced Jack to withdraw from Australia’s squad at the 2019 world swimming championships in South Korea.

Jack launched an appeal to the Swiss-based CAS, who last night ruled the result of the out-of-competition test showed the Commonwealth Games gold medallist had ingested Ligandrol but not intentionally in their view.

CAS imposed a reduced sanction of two years — commencing on the date of her provisional suspension (July 12, 2019) — meaning she will be free to return to competitive swimming next July but will miss Australia’s qualification period for the Tokyo Olympics.

Jack’s Brisbane-based lawyer Tim Fuller said the CAS ruling proved the 22-year-old was not a doping cheat.

“I think probably the thing that is most noteworthy about this case is the fact that the court has been very, very emphatic in saying there was no intent and intent is all about cheating,” he told the ABC.

“This is not somebody that set out to gain from the system. She was caught up in a situation that’s unexplainable.

“And that’s what the court — after an extensive and long-running investigation and hearing — has actually handed down.”

The Australian women's relay team holds their gold medals on the podium
Jack (left) won Commonwealth Games gold in 2018 as a member of Australia’s 4×100 metres freestyle relay team.(AAP: Darren England)

Mr Fuller said Jack was experiencing “mixed feelings” because she would not be eligible to qualify for the Olympics next year.

But he said she was encouraged that she would be able to resume her career.

“She can’t come back to competitive swimming until July next year,” Mr Fuller said.

Mr Fuller said CAS had recognised Jack’s honesty.

“One of the things that was noted in that decision was that she didn’t try to float these wild theories about how it got into her body,” he said.

“She just was up front and honest and said ‘I don’t know’ and that’s what the court’s ruled on.”

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Jack took to Instagram last night to express her relief following the ruling.

“I accept this decision with a positive attitude and with gratitude that my career as a swimmer will resume next year,” Jack wrote.

“I have never doubted myself for a minute throughout this ordeal and I have never allowed my integrity to be compromised.

Sport Integrity Australia released a statement on Monday night saying it remained satisfied that “it was appropriate to recommend a sanction of four years” based on the information available to the agency.

The agency’s chief executive David Sharpe said it would “consider the decision in greater detail before making any further comment”.

Sport Integrity Australia was given 21 days to lodge an appeal.

Jack was regarded as a rising star of Australian swimming prior to her positive doping test.

She was a member of Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay team that set a world record at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

She also won two silver and two bronze medals in relays at the 2017 world championships in Budapest.



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Court hears Hilltop Hood and brother sounded ‘very enraged’ after alleged glassing


The host of a wake where Hilltop Hoods band member Daniel Smith was allegedly glassed has told a jury Mr Smith and his brother sounded “very enraged” after the altercation.

The District Court heard on Friday Mr Smith and his brother, Ross Smith, were led from the area where the fight allegedly took place, and one of them spoke of returning with a shotgun.

The brothers had attended the funeral of a friend’s father before a small gathering was held at a home at Aberfoyle Park, in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, in May 2018.

Christopher Peregi, 45, is standing trial after he pleaded not guilty to aggravated causing harm with intent to Daniel Smith, and has also denied assaulting his brother.

On day four of the trial, Hayley Wegener, who hosted the wake, told the court she was inside the house when she heard a smash.

She said she looked outside and saw Peregi standing and Daniel Smith holding the side of his face, before she went outside and saw Peregi fighting with Ross Smith.

“They were trying to punch each other,” she said.

Jurors were told the fight was broken up and the brothers were ushered to another part of the property.

Ms Wegener said she could later hear them speaking out the front of the house.

“One of them was screaming that ‘Why did we get kicked out of the party?’, and then another screaming that they were going to come back and put a shotgun in everyone’s face,” she said.

Ms Wegener told the court their voices sounded “very enraged”, but she was not able to differentiate who was talking.

Daniel Smith has given evidence he heard a “loud popping sound” on his head, before his vision went blank and he passed out.

Asked by defence counsel whether Peregi could have lost his balance while holding a bottle, Mr Smith said he rejected that idea “in every possible way”.

The court has Peregi’s current wife had previously been married to Mr Smith, and the former couple have a teenage son together.

Prosecutors said Mr Smith had no issue with the relationship, but Ross Smith had “taken exception” to his friend starting a relationship with his brother’s ex-partner.

The trial continues before Judge Liesl Chapman and a jury.



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Man who dragged woman into laneway may avoid prison, court hears


Last month, Williams was found not guilty after a judge-only trial of intent to commit a sexual offence, but guilty of the alternative charge of common assault.

On Thursday, lawyers for both the prosecution and defence argued that a community corrections order was a sufficient sentence for the crime.

The woman was held down in the daylight attack.

The woman was held down in the daylight attack.Credit:

The court heard that Williams, who is Indigenous, had been subjected to racial abuse and other threats since his conviction. Those matters are being investigated by police.

“It is not expected that vigilante behaviour should be condoned or expected in our society,” said his defence lawyer, Rosalind Avis.

The court heard that Williams had no prior convictions and has not committed any other offences in the two years that he has been on bail since the attack.

Ms Avis argued that her client had shown remorse for his offending, acknowledging that the attack was “terrifying and can never ever be repeated”. He had been unable to give a reason for why he did it, except that he was drunk, she said.

He dragged her into Brights Place, off Little Lonsdale Street, putting a hand over her mouth as he lay on top of her.

He dragged her into Brights Place, off Little Lonsdale Street, putting a hand over her mouth as he lay on top of her.Credit:

“His actions on that night appear to be out of character and have shocked him and as a result of that he has done everything possible to address that behaviour,” she said.

The court also heard that Williams had undertaken treatment for alcohol and drug addiction at the Bunjilwarra rehabilitation centre. He has been diagnosed with depression and social anxiety.

Clinical pyschologist Alice Crole told the court that she had assessed Williams multiple times and believed his continued abstinence from alcohol was important to prevent him reoffending.

“From his non-intoxicated state, he gave me no sense that he has negative attitudes toward women,” she said.

Prosecutor Stephanie Clancy said Williams had only shown remorse for how the crime had impacted his own life, rather than how it had affected his victim.

“It was an unprovoked attack on the victim, she was simply walking past Mr Williams on her way to work,” she said. “It was cowardly.”

Ms Clancy also challenged the argument that alcohol was the key factor behind the attack. However she said that sentencing Williams to a community corrections order would not be manifestly inadequate. Williams served seven weeks in prison while on remand in 2018.

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Judge Amanda Fox agreed to have Williams assessed for a community corrections order, however she left open the possibility of handing him a term in prison.

In her judgment, Judge Fox said there was clear evidence of an “intentional and violent attack”.

However she said she had no evidence of the man’s intent and found it was possible he was trying to rob or assault the woman.

The matter will return to court for sentencing on November 18.

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