Archive for: ‘October 2019’

Nelson Bay speed boat operator fined after woman injured

13/10/2019 Posted by admin

A file pic of the Thundaraft on Nelson Bay. Picture: Destination NSWA NELSON Bay speed boat operator has been fined $18,000 after a female passenger suffered a fractured vertebrae and ankle while the craft was undertaking “wave jumping manoeuvres” in rough conditions in 2015.

And the master of the speed boat ride was also fined $8000 after the pair pleaded guilty in Newcastle Local Court to failing to ensure the safe operation of a domestic commercial vessel.

It was December 28, 2015, when the master of She’s Awesome, an 8.2 metre twin-engine tour vessel, owned by Jamala Charters and known locally as Thundaraft, was conducting a speed boat ride in Nelson Bay.

The vessel landed heavily while performing “wave jumping manoeuvres” in rough conditions, causing a female front seat passenger to suffer fractures to her ankle and vertebrae.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the NSW Roads and Maritime Services launched an investigation into the incident.

”The investigation found the vessel was operated in a manner which posed serious dangers to passengers considering the prevailing sea conditions on that day,” according to a statement.

“The investigators concluded that both the owner and master should not have allowed the vessel to be operated in the manner it was.”

On Monday, the owners of Jamala Charters pleaded guilty in Newcastle Local Courtto failing to ensure the safe operation of a domestic commercial vessel and were fined $18,000.

The master of the vessel also pleaded guilty to operating a domestic commercial vessel and placing the safety of a passenger at risk and wasfined $8000.

AMSA’s Manager of Compliance and Enforcement David Marsh said negligence and disregard for the lawwould not be tolerated.

“If you own or operate a domestic commercial vessel in Australia, you are responsible for the safety of everyone on board,” Mr Marsh said.

“Safety should underpin every aspect of your operation. If you fail in that responsibility, you will be held accountable.”

Roads and Maritime Services Executive Director Maritime Angus Mitchell said it marked the agency’s first conviction under that particular section of national marine safety law.

“People might expect to have thrills on an adventure ride but the operators of these rides have a duty of care to ensure the utmost safety for these passengers,” Mr Mitchell said.

A file pic of the Thundaraft on Nelson Bay. Picture: Destination NSW

The $20,000 loan that drove Isabelle to smuggle 30kg of cocaine

13/10/2019 Posted by admin

There are not many 51-day holiday cruises that end with almost five years in an Australian prison.

But for Isabelle Lagace, the unhappy ending became all too real on Friday, when she was sentenced for importing almost 30 kilograms of pure cocaine with a street value of up to $21.5 million.

On Friday, the NSW District Court heard that Lagace, 29, agreed to transport a suitcase containing the drugs to Australia to clear a $20,000 debt.

Isabelle Lagace agreed to transport a suitcase, which contained the drugs, to Australia to clear a $20,000 debt.

When she set off on the Sea Princess cruise ship on July 9, 2016, things looked bright for the Canadian national.

Boarding the ship in Dover, England, before cruising to Ireland, the US, Bermuda, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Chile, it was all blue skies and coconuts, as documented in more than two dozen social media posts along the way.

But the holiday cheer came to an abrupt end when the Sea Princess docked at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal, where Australian Border Force officers were waiting.

A search of Lagace’s cabin 3P12, which she shared with travelling companion Melina Roberce, revealed a large black suitcase under the bed.

Inside that suitcase was another suitcase, in which there were 30 individually wrapped packages of pure cocaine, each weighing about one kilogram.

The amount was almost 12 times the threshold for a commercial quantity of an illicit substance; the largest drug bust of its kind on board a cruise ship.

Lagace, along with Ms Roberce and Andre Tamine, 64, was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, which carries a maximum life imprisonment.

Ms Roberce and Mr Tamine are yet to stand trial.

At her sentencing hearing in the Sydney Downing Centre on Friday, Lagace was composed and showed little emotion.

She was born in Quebec in 1988. She graduated from high school in 2005 and enrolled in a business and restaurant hospitality course in 2008.

By 2016, Lagace had left two “emotionally abusive relationships”, and began working in a hospitality job, where she said “a new work environment allowed me to borrow money from certain people for a new start in life”.

She borrowed $20,000 from an undisclosed source, spending $15,000 on a new car and paying off debts, leaving her with $5000 at the time she embarked on the cruise.

The court heard Lagace chose to journey to Australia on the cruise ship when her loans were called in.

“I was to provide my bag to another passenger who would insert what I understood to be an illegal substance,” she said in her affidavit.

Judge Kate Traill found Lagace knew there were illicit drugs in the suitcase in cabin 3P12, but she said she could not be satisfied Lagace knew precisely the drug or the amount, noting there was “no evidence ??? of any fingerprints on the bag”.

Judge Traill ultimately determined Lagace’s role “was central to the importation”, finding it to be “pivotal and essential”.

“I am satisfied the motive was profit, whether the forgiving of a loan or financial reward.”

She rejected claims by Lagace that “she had no choice” or acted under duress, in fear of her safety or her family’s.

“At the time she had a job and still had $5000 left [from the loan] ??? she made no attempt to pay that back ??? and she had an apartment and a supportive family,” Judge Traill said.

In her affidavit, Lagace expressed frustration at media coverage of the case in her native Canada.

“The ugly things that have been said in the [media] ??? I have embarrassed my family, my friends myself,” she said.

“It pains me to know my most defining years of womanhood will be spent in jail ??? I feel remorse and anger at myself about being involved with people who are part of a dirty, dirty drug trade.”

Judge Traill found the accused presented “contrition and remorse”, with “very good prospects of rehabilitation”.

Lagace was sentenced to seven years and six months jail, but Judge Traill ordered for her release after a non-parole period of four years and six months, to be backdated to August 28, 2016.

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AirAsia issues $500,000 in refunds after overcharging

13/10/2019 Posted by admin

Budget airline AirAsia is issuing at least half a million dollars in refunds, having wrongly charged a departure tax for child passengers on some flights since 2010.

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) on Friday alerted affected customers that they could be entitled to a refund if they were incorrectly charged a fee of up to $60 on children’s tickets.

AirAsia had been applying the Passenger Movement Charge, usually added to the price of an overseas fare, to young passengers on some flights from Darwin to Bali, even though children under 12 are exempt under Australian law.

A passenger noticed the charge on a ticket last month, and AirAsia admitted its mistake.

“AirAsia has acted quickly to address the error and has committed to providing refunds within 21 days of receiving supporting documentation from affected customers. The ACCC will monitor the refund process,” the consumer watchdog’s deputy chair Michael Schaper??? said in a statement.

An estimated 9,700 customers were affected by the overcharging.

On its Facebook page, AirAsia said it had incorrectly added the levy on for bookings on flights between 2010 and 21 September this year, but the issue was fixed.

“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused and thank you for your support and patience,” the statement said.

AirAsia has emailed customers, but anyone who thinks they were affected can visit the airline’s online support page.

Fairfax Media

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How a rain poem triggered the weekend’s weatherVIDEO

13/10/2019 Posted by admin

Bob “Minmi Magster” skelton reciting his rain poem on dry land at Minmi. Have you noticed that we’ve had a bit of rain lately? The weekend, for example, was quite wet.

We wouldn’t go so far to say that the drought has broken. We’re not even sure if you could call it a drought. But we do know we hadn’t had much rain for quite a while.

But then Bob “Minmi Magster” Skelton began reciting his rain poem around the Hunter.

The Magster told us he did sobecause it was so dry.

“You could smell the sheep shit cooking,” he said.

The Magster’s poemgoes like this:

Rain rain fall on down;quench the thirsty land around;fill the dams, the rivers and creeks. Send her down Hughie and send us heaps.

(Who’s Hughie, you ask? He’s the weather god. “Send ‘er down, Hughie!” is an iconic Aussie phrase, calling for rain)

Sorry to interrupt your poem, Bob. Proceed.

It’s been so long since we’ve had rain;things are gettin’mighty grim; we’ve got frogs down here on the pensionthat ain’t learnt to croak or swim.

Somethin’ else I’m gunna tell ya; Iknow it sounds a little odd; Without a word of a lie, it’s so dam dry, the trees are chasin’ me flamin’ dog.

So come on Hughie and lift yagame;get orf yabackside and send some rain;and if yado Ipromise you, Iwon’t bother you again.

Around the same time the Magster began recitinghis poem, the Bureau of Meteorology declared that the chances of a wetter-than-average summer for eastern Australia were increasing.

The La Nina weather pattern, the bureau said, was likely to take hold in the Pacific.

Keep performing that poem, Magster. We sure do need some more rain.

All Hail HughieFor those wondering, it is completely true that the Magster recited his poem on the day of the recent hailstorm in the Hunter.

Bucket-headed sculptures in Newcastle during the recent hail storm.

Which makes us wonder, Magster, what have you been doing to upset Hughie?

Was there some miscommunication? That hailstorm was a bit of an overreaction.

The Magster said itwasn’t the first time his rain poem had provoked a big reaction.

“Remember when the Pasha Bulker ran aground?” he said.

This reminds us of a tale about Newcastle Art Galleryduring the hailstorm. A Topics spynoticed buckets on the heads ofsculptures outside the gallery.

We hear this was the work of gallery staff doing their utmost to protect the artworks.

Anyhow, our spy ducked inside the gallery to shelter from the hail. He was impressed with theexhibition,titledPainting Memory.

Theexhibition revealedthe secret stories behind some of the gallery’s finest paintings by the likes of Brett Whiteley, Arthur Boyd,Sidney Nolan, Margaret Olley and John Olsen.

Seems to us, come rain or shine, Newcastle is a place of poetry and art. And it’s true that every cloud has a silver lining.

Collingwood doctor Bradshaw suspended

13/10/2019 Posted by admin

Collingwood’s doctor, Chris Bradshaw, has had his licence to practise suspended by medical authorities.

The Magpies doctor was informed of his suspension on Monday by the Australian Health Practitioner Registration agency, an overarching body of 14 different health professional boards including the Medical Board of Australia.

The nature of the offence or complaint about Bradshaw is unknown. It is also unclear how long he is suspended for and whether the suspension is until a formal hearing or appeal is held.

The AHPRA website lists Bradshaw as having been reprimanded but it has emerged that reprimand related to an issue from 2012 although it still remains on the register,

The medical board suspended Bradshaw on October 30. It is uncertain how long the suspension is for or if he is waiting a hearing.

The agency is limited in what it can say due to confidentiality provisions in the national law but acknowledged in general terms, not related to this case, that the board may suspend a doctor where it is deemed necessary to protect the public.

Bradshaw has been Collingwood’s doctor for three years after previously working for a long time with Geelong and Richmond football clubs. He was also an athlete who competed in the decathlon at the Commonwealth Games. He is not employed exclusively by the football club, has a practice in Geelong and consults to other sports.

Collingwood Football Club released a brief statement.

“Collingwood is aware of, but not involved in, a matter pertaining to Dr Chris Bradshaw and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency,” the statement read.

“Chris will not be fulfilling his role as Collingwood physician in charge while this matter proceeds. Collingwood is not in a position to make any further comment.”

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