Australian News

Bellevue Hill mother Samantha Palmer accused of stabbing son Hugo Ball

A mother accused of stabbing her own son multiple times at their family home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs screamed “I love you” as she was escorted into the back of a police van.

Officers were called to a home on Drumalbyn Rd in Bellevue Hill just after 1.30am on Saturday where they found 22-year-old Hugo Ball suffering life-threatening injuries.

It is alleged he had been stabbed in his upper body.

He was treated at the scene before being rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital in a serious condition. His condition has since stabilised following surgery.

NSW Ambulance Inspector Giles Buchanan told 9News Mr Ball had extremely low blood pressure suggesting he had lost a lot of blood

“The location of the wounds can certainly be fatal,” he said.

His 55-year-old mother Samantha Palmer was arrested at the home and taken to Waverley Police Station where she spent 13 hours before she was charged with wounding a person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (domestic violence).

She could be heard screaming “I love you” as authorities whisked her away into the back of a police van.

“I’m the mother of this child for God’s sake,” Mr Palmer could be heard saying.

She was refused bail and will front court on Sunday.

A knife was seized from the home.

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Local News - Victoria

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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Local News - Victoria

A bereaved mother takes up the anti-violence campaign

Grace Donato was at the gym this week when she overheard “a terribly familiar story”, one that up until the murder of her daughter, 20 year-old Adriana Donato, in August 2012, she believed only happened in movies.

Adriana, a bachelor of science student at Melbourne University, had attended a small birthday party at a friend’s place when her former boyfriend, James Stoneham, then 21, arrived to look for her. She had ended their high-school relationship the previous December but Stoneham had not accepted it.

Grace Donato, whose daughter Adriana was murdered aged 20, felt "the story was terribly familiar" when she heard of Celeste Manno's killing this week.

Grace Donato, whose daughter Adriana was murdered aged 20, felt “the story was terribly familiar” when she heard of Celeste Manno’s killing this week.Credit:Paul Jeffers

“It was a weeknight, she went to a friend’s place with her girlfriend because he was turning 21 and the mother organised a birthday cake – he knew she was going there and rang a friend in there, [though Adriana] said ‘no’ they convinced her to go out,” said Ms Donato, who this year joined the State government’s violence Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council.

Stoneham, who Supreme Court Justice Michael Croucher heard had planned the attack meticulously for three weeks, had never hurt Ms Donato before but, says Ms Donato, “he was always controlling of her behaviour”.

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Local News - Victoria

Mother describes ‘scary’ moment stranger grabbed her toddler

The woman rode towards her daughter and the offender released the child, running off past the mother.

Senior Sergeant Leveridge said police would not speculate on the man’s motive until they had spoken to him.

“We are concerned about the behaviour. Until we speak to the person concerned we have to treat it extremely seriously until we know differently,” he said.

The mother, who did not want to identified, told Nine News she “didn’t know what to think” when she saw the man approaching her daughter.

“At that point, then I rode down to her and he just ran off from me. I reckon he was trying to take her. Which is scary. She’s only two,” she said.

The girl was not seriously injured during the incident but her mother said she had a mark on her arm.

“Last night she had trouble sleeping, she was very scared. She has a mark on her arm from the man grabbing her. It is just scary, you shouldn’t have to live in fear.”

Senior Sergeant Leveridge said police believe it was an isolated incident and have not had reports of similar incidents.

There will be an increased police presence in the area over the next few days to reassure the community.


Police said the offender is believed to be African in appearance, aged in his early 20s and was not wearing a mask.

He was wearing dark clothing and a white baseball cap at the time of the incident.

Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at

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Local News - Victoria

Brother, mother were ‘most evilest people’, alleged killer told police

He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.

Mr Cohrs, a former deputy mayor of the NSW Shire of Wentworth, was refused bail in the Supreme Court in Melbourne on Monday after last week arguing it was difficult to prepare for his trials while in custody.

He does not have a lawyer and has previously said his assets were frozen, which has prevented him hiring his preferred South Australian lawyers.

Justice Paul Coghlan refused bail in a short hearing on Monday morning. In written reasons released soon after, the judge said exceptional circumstances were not made out and even if they were, there was a risk Mr Cohrs could contact prosecution witnesses if released.

Justice Coghlan wrote that Mr Cohrs was locked in a financial dispute with his brother and mother over a family business.

Police say Mr Cohrs arrived at the Rufus property at 9.55am and found his brother there with a real estate agent. Police allege Mr Cohrs shot his brother twice with a shotgun and while assuring the agent he wouldn’t harm him, said Raymond Cohrs “deserved it” and had been “killing” his family.

Bette Schulz was shot and killed in her home in Red Cliffs.

Bette Schulz was shot and killed in her home in Red Cliffs.

Police allege Paul Cohrs then asked his brother what it was like to feel pain and shot him in the chest and head. He then handcuffed the agent inside a shearing shed.

Mr Cohrs then drove to Red Cliffs, where his mother was caring for her great-grandson (Paul Cohrs’ grandson).

Police allege Mr Cohrs told his mother to take the boy to another room and then shot her in the chest.

Police allege that as he drove back to Rufus, Mr Cohrs reported the shootings to family members, local police and left a message with his solicitor, in which he said, “I don’t believe that I’ll live the rest of the day out.”

Ray Cohrs, who was allegedly shot and killed by his brother Paul Cohrs.

Ray Cohrs, who was allegedly shot and killed by his brother Paul Cohrs.

At the property, Mr Cohrs released the agent and told him he intended to take his own life.

About 3.30pm, police saw Mr Cohrs in scrub with the shotgun and say that he had shot himself in the chest. As officers applied first aid he said, “I can’t believe I’m not dead.”


He also told them, “I just shot my brother and my mum … they are the most evilest people in the world.”

A date for Mr Cohrs’ trial has not been set.

Justice Coghlan accepted Mr Cohrs had health problems and that it would be difficult preparing for his trial while in custody.

The judge last week urged the accused man to consider hiring a lawyer.

For help in a crisis call 000. If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.

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Local News - Victoria

I lost my mother, but I’m grateful for these rules

She recently had to attend the funerals of, and say her goodbyes to, both of her beloved sons. No mother should have to go through that much pain. She was frail, vulnerable and depleted.

Thank you, Victorians, for bearing the lockdown regime to give our older generation a chance, thank you, Premier, for putting the laws in place for us to work from. These measures allowed her to return to a familiar and comfortable environment, to be at peace and for my sister and our families to have a chance to say our goodbyes. I am grateful she was given the respect she deserved for a life well lived.
Karen Meyer, South Melbourne

Carping criticisms, no positive suggestions
Bravo, Janet Whiting (‘‘‘Stay strong and stop bucketing everyone’’’, The Age, 18/9): ‘‘we must, at the moment, stop the blame game … All that is happening is we are giving the nutters authority, which is not what we want.’’

All we get from the state opposition and the federal government (and much of the media) is carping criticism, with no positive suggestions.
Merv Keehn, South Melbourne

Family members must have access
No family visits to Victorians resident in aged care until 2021 (The Age, 19/9)? There is not, and may never be, a test to give 100 per cent security of the absence of COVID-19 in a person entering an aged care facility, and yet dozens of people enter aged care facilities every day.

Putting myself in the position of a resident: ‘‘Many of a team of strangers may wash my body, put food into my mouth when I open it, call a random locum doctor in the middle of the night if I have symptoms, but my humanity has been discounted – without my family, I am a physical body without a soul.’’

Family must be permitted to visit the elderly, using the precautions currently imposed upon the many strangers who are given access. Through the suffering of the elderly residents in aged care during this pandemic, society has at last identified a line over which it is unacceptable to cross.
Ruth Farr, Blackburn South

Casey cluster a case in point
The City of Casey outbreak has put enormous strain on the trace-and-test system despite stemming from seemingly unlawful activity by members of just five households.

Imagine the impact of multiple similar outbreaks. Their absence, at least at this stage, certainly indicates how important the restrictions have been in limiting the spread and that the Victorian community has, to a very significant extent, complied with the restrictions.

On a much more serious note, this single outbreak may raise the critical daily average enough to delay the lifting of the restrictions everyone so desperately needs.

Terry Bourke, Newtown


The missing element
I read with great interest how some other liveable cities in the world have handled the pandemic (‘‘Different cities, same enemy’’, The Sunday Age, 13/9). I was particularly interested to read that Osaka’s public schools reduced their summer holidays from six weeks to two, which is consistent with Japan’s strong focus on maintaining its high educational standards.

It made me think, as a parent of three school-age boys, that a key missing element from our educational debate is a clear and unequivocal acknowledgment our students are increasingly falling behind and that a similar catch-up strategy to Japan’s is needed.

Why could we not take a page from Japan’s book and consider a similar form of catch-up education? I am sure some innovation from schools and the government would be required and that there are obstacles to overcome, most likely, strong resistance from teachers and the education union.

However, this strikes me – and many of those parents with whom I discuss this issue – as a very obvious and much needed solution to address the major developmental and economic impacts of Victoria’s children falling increasingly behind in their education.
Jon Morley, Caulfield North

It definitely is their job
I could not disagree more with Senator Jane Hume when she says it is not the job of superannuation funds to rebuild the economy, create jobs, reframe the climate debate or require industrial relations changes (The Age, 19/9).

Super funds are there to maximise returns for their clients, which is done by investing in viable long-term projects making sure that all the factors that might negatively affect their investments are minimised. They certainly will not invest in projects such as coal mining or gas-fired electricity generation if they perceive that their assets will end up being stranded as white elephants.

Perhaps the government needs to learn the lesson of ‘‘follow the money’’.
Alan Inchley, Frankston

If they know this …
Let’s just ask potential citizens to explain why we drink beer, eat fish and chips, play cricket and have the Queen as our head of state, while not being British.

If they can do that, they’re well-equipped for the paradoxes of life in Australia.
Tim Durbridge, Brunswick

Has that bird flown?
We should be wary of the call by investment banker John Wylie for lower taxes and an airport rail link (The Age, 19/9).

Neo-liberal reforms such as lower taxes and privatisations of state-owned power and telecommunications have not brought the promised benefits. In fact, they have arguably done the opposite with the stalling of Australia’s broadband network, until a new government-owned entity, NBN Co was created.

Similarly, the fragmented private power system, with its labyrinthine oversight structures and vested interests has increased power prices and held back essential decarbonising of the electricity industry for almost two decades.

We must now question the assumption of the perpetual growth of air travel and the environmental consequences of the associated carbon emissions. The great majority of business travel is unnecessary with modern communication technologies.

Increasingly, people are reflecting on the environmental cost of tourism. Perhaps the time for an airport rail link has passed.
Michael Hassett, Blackburn

Variations on a theme
Traditional Christianity has been on the nose among our ‘‘enlightened’’ opinion leaders and it seems our government is following a new variation.

Instead of ‘‘suffer the little children’’ it is now ‘‘let the little children suffer’’ as their citizenship is annulled by their parents’ beliefs.

Instead of ‘‘ruin shall come to those ruining the earth’’, it is now ‘‘profit and government intervention shall come to those ruining the earth’’.
Daryl Budgeon, Noble Park North

Spare us the platitudes
The Barney Zwartz Faith column can’t go unchallenged (The Sunday Age, 13/9). Basically it’s the old ‘‘don’t blame God for the pandemic or anything bad because he’s really doing us good but we won’t understand how this works until we’re dead’’ argument. Don’t feel sad, be positive. God’s got a plan.

Recently, a carer at my mother’s aged-care facility lost her four-year-old son, killed by a falling tree.

According to Zwartz, this is all for the mother’s benefit. Her excruciating grief is but a temporary (lifelong for her) price to pay for the inevitable revelation of ‘‘goodness’’ God enacts for believers.

Zwartz can’t explain random misery and death in a rational way because it has to be a good thing enacted by a good God. This is his starting point for everything that happens.

Yes, try to look on the bright side, folks, but spare us the platitudes about how this is ultimately good for us. It is not helping.
Peter Harris, Preston

Thank you, Barney
It was wonderful to the photo of Barney Zwartz in the Faith column. Having always enjoyed his writings expressing his faith the photo gave a connection to the reader and was especially meaningful during this lockdown when so many of us are feeling isolated.

The Bible verses he chose were so appropriate in giving us hope. A big thank you, Barney, as it lifted our spirits.
Glenise Michaelson, Montmorency

Disappointing to see
How disappointing to see this one-time advocate for the ordinary man becoming a mouthpiece for this tyrannical state government (‘‘Premier the focus of every grievance’’, Jon Faine, Opinion, The Sunday Age, 13/9).

The meaning of libertarian is belief that people should be able to do whatever they want as long as their actions do not hurt others. In other words freedom of choice, not blind obedience to authority.
It is not synonymous with ‘‘conspiracy theorist’’.

And, sure, democracy is the best way to solve problems, but Daniel Andrews is running a state in which a group of people make arbitrary rules enforced by heavy-handed policing, with no parliamentary debate, or explanation.

If you believe this is democratic, Jon, you’ve come a long way from the freedom fighter this ‘‘wacko ‘libertarian’’’ listened to for many years.
Lesley Black, Frankston

If it’s not funding …
So , if it’s not ‘‘funding issues’’ that have had an impact on the ‘‘quality of care and safety’’of frail aged residents as Dr Brendan Murphy suggests (The Age, 19/9), one can only assume that it must be a lack of will on the part of the federal government to provide the necessary legislative framework to ensure a more adequate number of appropriately trained staff.
Glenda Addicott, Ringwood East

A perennial US pattern
‘‘Heartland Blues’’ (Extra, The Sunday Age, 13/9) profiled Joe Biden, a Democrat, who could be the 46th US president. Will it amount to a hill of beans if he is?

The 33rd president, Democrat Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) in the first post-war year of his presidency proposed a national health insurance scheme for all Americans with provision for financial assistance for those in long-term recovery. It was to be paid for from fees and taxation.

It went nowhere. In the mid-term elections the Republicans gained control of the Congress and they were vehemently against it. The American Medical Association fiercely opposed the plan and public concern over being taxed by a federal government saw widespread opposition. Many called the scheme ‘‘Communist’’ and rejected it.

It’s a perennial pattern in American politics on this social reform. What will change on this issue if Joe Biden is elected as seemingly another saviour of the American people as a new president of the United States invariably gets cast?
Des Files, Brunswick

The bigger picture
Chris Uhlmann says our response to the pandemic is damaging to the economy and to the social fabric (‘‘Virus reveals some uncomfortable truths about us’’, Comment, 17/9).

Hard to argue with that. But consider, say, Florida: similar population to Australia, less restrictions and less compliance, more than 675,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 13,000 deaths.

It is naive and simplistic to think this carnage would not damage the economy and the social fabric. Booming hospital and funeral industries are not the same as a healthy economy.
Sue Harlow, South Melbourne

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Vale Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A lone, intelligent, and thoughtful voice in the US Supreme Court over past decades.
Her passion for justice will never be forgotten; and will so tragically be silent from now on.
Wendy Logan, Croydon North

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Family couldn’t farewell dying mother due to Qld border restrictions

A grieving family has been left heartbroken after a desperate attempt to farewell their dying mother failed because Queensland’s health authorities took “days” to process their “urgent” border application.

Now they’re fighting for their right to organise and attend the funeral.

Glenn Lyons and his wife Kelly are mourning the death of his 83-year-old mother Marion who died on Wednesday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Her condition deteriorated rapidly on Sunday and the family, who reside in coronavirus-free ACT, urgently applied for a border exemption to enter the sunny state.

But their desperate attempt to catch Marion’s final breath laid in the hands of Queensland authorities.

“Every minute was a minute we didn’t think she’d be alive,” Kelly, Marion’s daughter-in-law, told NCA NewsWire.

She filed a complaint with the Queensland government after submitting an application explaining her husband’s “mother was dying and not expected to survive much longer”.

“I followed up about midday (Monday) and spoke with someone who said they would flag the application as urgent and I could expect a call from health authorities later in the day,” Kelly said.

She passed on the same advice to her sister-in-law Kerrie and her husband Wayne Lyons — Marion’s son.

“Neither of us received a return call on Monday,” Kelly said.

Kelly was driving on Tuesday morning when she missed four calls from a “No Caller” ID, which a voice message confirmed to be Queensland Health, but the person did not leave a return number.

She then began the familiar process of calling the COVID-19 hotline and explaining her situation to another employee.

To make matters more heartbreaking, Kelly said Kerrie was told she would not be granted permission to enter Queensland unless a doctor could provide evidence that their mother was on her deathbed.

“She was incredibly upset at this tepid response and told them that at no time did any person stipulate this,” Kelly said.

By Wednesday morning, the family’s application still hadn’t been processed.

Kelly explained Wayne and Kerrie travelled to the Queensland border where they planned to wait for their application to come through.

When it finally did on Wednesday evening, there was one small fault, which meant the couple were turned away at the border.

“It had air travel listed instead of road travel, so he (Wayne) was turned away. Their mum died an hour later. It’s really disgusting,” Kelly said.

“The thing that has really upset us is that (the border measures are) immoral. It’s inconsistent.”

Wayne, who is a contractor and would lose 14 days’ income if he were to enter Queensland and quarantine, was forced to make the devastating decision to turnaround and return to his south Sydney home with wife Kerrie.

The couple will watch Marion’s funeral via livestream.

“His main purpose was to see his mum before she died and say his goodbyes,” Kelly said.

“Losing 14 days of work and paying thousands ($3710) for mandatory hotel quarantine was just so incredibly stressful for him.”

Kelly and Glenn’s permits arrived on Wednesday afternoon. They stated they could visit Glenn’s mother in her aged care home but there was no mention of being able to organise or attend her funeral, which came as a shock to the pair.

Current health guidelines state that leaving hotel quarantine to attend a funeral is not allowed as it exposes a person to various other individuals.

“Firstly, I told them she was dying so it’s not a case of popping into the aged care home for a coffee,” she said.

“So that was baffling that they didn’t include anything on the provision for arranging a funeral, which is my husband’s job.”

Now Kelly is once again playing the waiting game. She and Glenn need permits to arrive before their flight on Friday evening to Queensland, where they will quarantine while organising Marion’s funeral, but whether they can attend remains highly unlikely.

“We have no idea if we will be able to organise the funeral directly,” she said.

Glenn described his mother, who lived on Norfolk Island until her ill health forced her to the mainland, as a “kind, caring, adventurous and shy”.

In addition to her two sons Glenn and Wayne, she had a daughter, who would prefer not to be named.

“Marion definitely loved and lived the island way,” Kelly said.

“She was the most beautiful soul, very gentle and just a beautiful person inside and out.”

Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young has refused to budge on the state’s tough stance on quarantine and funerals.

She said there had already been several coronavirus clusters related to funerals in Sydney and she did not want to see that happen in Queensland.

“They’re a very, very risky environment for spread of the virus because of the nature of the service and what happens,” she said.

“I don’t want to see Queenslanders dying from COVID-19 that I could have prevented.”

NCA NewsWire has contacted Queensland Health for comment on the individual case.

Kelly opened up about her family’s heartbreak as a 26-year-old woman from Canberra begged the Queensland Premier to allow her to attend her father’s funeral.

Sarah Caisip applied for an exemption in August to visit her ill father Bernard Prendergast in Brisbane but it took almost three weeks to get approved and he sadly died of liver cancer two days before her flight.

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Local News - Victoria

Pregnant mother arrested, footy identity visited in police crackdown on anti-lockdown protests

Just hours earlier, 28-year-old pregnant woman Zoe Buhler live-streamed her arrest on social media after detectives descended on her Miners Rest home armed with a search warrant.

After being told she was under arrest, Ms Buhler, who was wearing pink pyjamas, began to cry and told officers she would “happily” delete her social media posts as police made demands for her mobile phones and computer equipment.

Zoe Buhler live-streamed her arrest at her Ballarat home on Wednesday.

Zoe Buhler live-streamed her arrest at her Ballarat home on Wednesday.Credit:Zoe Buhler

A police spokeswoman said they had become aware of a prohibited gathering being planned for Ballarat on Saturday and warned anyone thinking of attending the protest that they could expect a swift and firm response from police.

“Police executed a search warrant at a Miners Rest address this afternoon and a mobile device was seized. As a result, a 28-year-old female has been charged with the offence of incitement and has been bailed to appear at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on January 25,” they said.


“Any gathering of this nature is in blatant breach of the Chief Health Officer’s directions and puts Victorian lives at risk.

“We will have no hesitation in issuing $1652 fines to anyone who is breaching the restrictions on the day, or making arrests if necessary.”

Ms Buhler’s Facebook page includes links to a “peaceful, freedom day” protest in the centre of the regional city on Saturday. The event itself has since been removed from Facebook.

It followed the arrest of two men earlier this week who had since been charged with incitement for allegedly encouraging others to take part in a prohibited anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne’s CBD this weekend.

Fanos Panayides.

Fanos Panayides.Credit:60 Minutes

A 28-year-old Coburg man and a 38-year-old Epping man, identified as Mr Panayides, were later released on bail to appear in court in February.

A police spokeswoman said investigators seized several items including mobile phones, laptops and postage items.

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Local News - Victoria

Lawyer accused of pressuring witness and threatening mother

He then texted: “C u in 15 – be there.”

Mr Podaridis responded in a text: “Don’t threaten me Pat. If you want to play gangster, lets get in the ring, you and me.”

Mr Lennon, I suggest to you that you know that that’s most improper conduct, particularly for an officer of the court.

Barrister Sam Hay, SC

Mr Lennon is involved in a commercial dispute involving a finance company called Argyle Lending owned by his wife, Jane Lennon. Argyle Lending is the plaintiff in a civil action in the County Court against a woman called Maria Lantouris who had agreed to provide an Abbotsford property as security on a debt purportedly owed to Mr Lennon’s former law firm.

Mr Podaridis is a relative of Ms Lantouris and had agreed to testify at the trial.

Lennon Lawyers director Pat Lennon.

Lennon Lawyers director Pat Lennon.Credit:Jesse Marlow

Barrister Sam Hay, SC, acting for Ms Lantouris, accused Mr Lennon during cross-examination in the County Court on July 15 of attempting to influence Mr Podaridis’ evidence.

“What you have engaged in was an obvious attempt to put pressure on Mr Podaridis, threatening his mother, with a view to getting him to change his evidence,” Mr Hay said.

“Mr Lennon, I suggest to you that you know that that’s most improper conduct, particularly for an officer of the court, and it suggests you’re willing to do and say anything to succeed in this litigation.”

Mr Lennon repeatedly denied making any threat against Mr Podaridis. However, the allegations prompted Judge Ryan to issue Mr Lennon with a ”certificate” which confers legal privilege against self-incrimination in relation to his evidence.

Lawyer James Podaridis.

Lawyer James Podaridis.Credit: Supplied

The court was told that Mr Lennon was provided with an outline of Mr Podaridis’ evidence on July 10, less than a week before the witness was due to testify.

Mr Lennon told the court he felt betrayed by Mr Podaridis, which had prompted a flurry of text messages and phone calls.

“I was just saying this to get him to be honest and tell me that he’s been misleading me for two years,” Mr Lennon told the court. “I had no intention of going to his mum’s or to some address that I didn’t even think he was living at.”

On the same night, Mr Lennon also sent text messages to property developer Nick Bochrinis in a bid to arrange an urgent meeting with Mr Podaridis.


Mr Bochrinis, a former business associate of Mr Podaridis, had only recently been granted bail, after he was charged last year with extortion, aggravated burglary and assault.

“Find out if 2 faced fat lying c— is at his mums,” Mr Lennon said in a text message to Mr Bochrinis, according to a court transcript. He then attempted to verify the Mentone address of Mr Podaridis’ mother with Mr Bochrinis, who did not respond to the messages.

Mr Podaridis told The Age that after receiving the messages from Mr Lennon, he immediately drove from his home in Templestowe to his mother’s property in Mentone.

He confirmed he had made a complaint at Mordialloc police station on July 10. He also made a complaint to the Legal Services Commissioner on July 13.

Mr Lennon did not respond to questions from The Age. His lawyer, Derek Begg, from Spoke Legal, said proceedings were still before the court.

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“In the circumstances, it is not appropriate for my client to respond to your enquiries,” Mr Begg said.

The County Court trial involving Argyle Lending and Ms Lantouris finished on July 20 and Judge Ryan will hand down her decision in coming weeks.

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Local News - Victoria

Estranged husband charged with murder following death of mother in Mill Park

Ms Pandilovski, who had a young son, worked as a teacher’s aide at Plenty Parklands Primary School in Mill Park.

The alarm was raised when she didn’t attend work on Tuesday. Family members went to her house to search for her but couldn’t find her. The couple’s son was being cared for by his grandmother at the time.

A family member, who didn’t want to be named, said the relatives who went to the house saw her car in the garage and realised she hadn’t been to work. Police were called and came to search the home, where they found Ms Pandilovski’s body.

The relative said Mr Pandilovski had been involved in a head-on car crash on Tuesday morning and was taken to hospital. Police said two cars collided head-on on Davis Road at Mount Cottrell – about 50 kilometres from Ms Pandilovski’s home – about 10.30am on Tuesday.

“It is believed the collision may be linked to the Mill Park homicide,” a police spokeswoman said.

Paramedics took three people to the hospital after the collision. Mr Pandilovski was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a stable condition with lower-body injuries.

A man in his 30s was taken to Sunshine Hospital in a stable condition with minor injuries, and a teenager was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital in a stable condition with upper-body injuries.

Ms Pandilovski’s aunt Mary Yoannidis wrote on social media that she was in shock. “My beautiful niece, words can’t explain how we are feeling now. Your life was taken from us and we couldn’t help,” she wrote.

“I love you always, life will never be the same, our hearts will never be the same.”

Claire McInerney, the principal at Plenty Parklands primary school, said counselling was being offered to staff and students. “Our school community is coming to terms with this sad news. We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of such a positive, supportive and professional member of our community,” she said.

The couple had been married for more than 15 years but had separated in recent years. Mr Pandilovski was living in Epping.

One neighbour said they had seen him mowing the lawn out of the front of the Mill Park property in recent weeks.

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