Nelson Bay speed boat operator fined after woman injured

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.
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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

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

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.
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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

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.
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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

Collingwood’s doctor, Chris Bradshaw, has had his licence to practise suspended by medical authorities.
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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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Mercedes Corby makes awkward appearance on Studio 10

Mercedes Corby, the sister of convicted drug smuggler Schapelle, has marked her return to the media spotlight with an uncomfortable appearance on Ten’s daytime show Studio 10.

Hyped as Corby’s first interview since Schapelle’s return to Australia in May after serving nine years in a Bali prison, the awkward segment might’ve left Ten’s off-screen producers sweating.

After a series of nervy responses to questions on Schapelle’s mental state and her current relationship status, host Sarah Harris was forced to call out Corby’s evasive answers.

“You’ve been in the media spotlight for a long time but you seem daunted sitting here today?” she asked Corby.

“Yes!” Corby replied. “Normally it is like they [the media] are there and I’m thrown into it, I’m not prepared and it hasn’t been planned.

“They get me and sometimes it is bad – slow, swinging handbag or yelling or helmet-swinging,” she said about her infamous clashes with photographers, which she said made her look like “some crazy, handbag-swinging maniac”.

She called the media circus that greeted Schapelle’s return to Australia “fake news”, and said journalists needed “somebody to be accountable to”.

“I have met some really great journalists and they care about their jobs and their code of ethics, but then there’s a lot who just – they want the story… I just think journalists should really have more of their code of ethics or have somebody to be accountable to. They are playing with peoples’ lives,” she said.

Asked if she could have survived Schapelle’s ordeal, she answered: “Yeah. I would have survived. I probably would have slept most of the time away.”

Corby, who sat in throughout the episode, was also asked her expert opinion on ‘Cocaine’ Cassie Sainsbury’s saga.

“There’s ones that you think are guilty and innocent, and ones that do it for a bit of extra cash – I don’t understand,” she said about Sainsbury’s predicament.

“We’re not from Africa, we’re not feeding our whole families, we’re not paying for generations of schools to make a bad choice – but I still feel for anybody imprisoned anywhere in the world.”

She offered advice to Sainsbury’s family to “stay strong”.

“It is hard for the families. They just have to stay together, be there to support Cassie, keeping her up to date with the outside world and giving her something to be happy about when she is released,” she said. “Ones who do it [smuggle drugs] for a bit of extra cash – I don’t understand.” – Mercedes Corby on “Cocaine Cassie.” #Studio10pic.twitter南京夜网/j65L56suUt??? Studio 10 (@Studio10au) November 2, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

The ominous sign at Amazon’s new Australian warehouse

There is a sign outside the first Australian warehouse for Amazon which says in enormous letters “Welcome Amazonians. It’s still day one! Are you ready to make a difference?”

The sign was proudly set down at the entrance – exactly where employees would walk in from the car park ??? according to the first photos of the Dandenong South site.

To Australians, this might seem a strange thing for a company to say to its employees. Who wants to be trapped at a workplace where it’s always the same day?

The slogan is well familiar in Amazon’s home base in the US, where it has been used for two decades to motivate both employees and shareholders. So what does it mean and where does it come from?

Amazon became a public company in 1997. That year founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos wrote a letter to shareholders ??? something that he has since done regularly – which outlined his vision for the firm.

“This is Day 1 for the internet and, if we execute well, for Amazon南京夜网,” he wrote at the time.

“Today, online commerce saves customers money and precious time. Tomorrow, through personalisation, online commerce will accelerate the very process of discovery.”

Bezos explained how the company was “all about the long term” in solidifying and extending its early lead in the online retail market.

“The stronger our market leadership, the more powerful our economic model. Market leadership can translate directly to higher revenue, higher profitability, greater capital velocity and correspondingly stronger returns on invested capital,” he said.

“Because of our emphasis on the long term, we may make decisions and weigh trade-offs differently than some companies.”

And despite acknowledging that the approach was “not without risk” and needs “serious investment and crisp execution” against the incumbent retailers, Bezos has immovably stuck with the long-term strategy since.

Hence Amazon has been, and still is, in “day 1”.

It may have put some investors offside 20 years ago, but in retrospect, there aren’t many arguments against the day 1 strategy. Amazon floated on the Nasdaq in May 1997 with a first day closing share price of $US1.96, adjusted for splits. Today the stock price is at $US1,105, which is a mind-blowing 563-fold increase.

In its latest quarterly results, Amazon beat market expectations to post $US43.7 billion in revenue. The company is forecasting between $56 billion and $60.5 billion for the lucrative Christmas quarter, which would be 28 per cent to 38 per cent growth from the same time last year.

Bezos briefly became the wealthiest person in the world in July, and retook that title in the past week with $117 billion to his name.

Perhaps this meme that went viral this year sums it up best. Day 2

So will Amazon ever get to Day 2? Bezos addressed this hypothetical in this year’s letter to shareholders.

“I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day 1, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me. I spend time thinking about this topic,” he wrote in April.

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

Bezos said that established companies may spend decades in day 2, but “the final result” always comes after that.

He admitted that he didn’t have all the answers to avoiding day 2.

“Here’s a starter pack of essentials for Day 1 defence: customer obsession, a sceptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high velocity decision making.” You can read below Bezos’ full explanation of each of those four essentials:1. True customer obsession

There are many ways to centre a business. You can be competitor focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology focused, you can be business model focused, and there are more. But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality.

Why? There are many advantages to a customer-centric approach, but here’s the big one: customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great.

Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.

No customer ever asked Amazon to create the Prime membership program, but it sure turns out they wanted it, and I could give you many such examples.

Staying in Day 1 requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings, and double down when you see customer delight. A customer-obsessed culture best creates the conditions where all of that can happen. 2. Resist proxies

As companies get larger and more complex, there’s a tendency to manage to proxies. This comes in many shapes and sizes, and it’s dangerous, subtle, and very Day 2.

A common example is process as proxy. Good process serves you so you can serve customers. But if you’re not watchful, the process can become the thing.

This can happen very easily in large organisations. The process becomes the proxy for the result you want. You stop looking at outcomes and just make sure you’re doing the process right. Gulp.

It’s not that rare to hear a junior leader defend a bad outcome with something like, “Well, we followed the process.”

A more experienced leader will use it as an opportunity to investigate and improve the process. The process is not the thing. It’s always worth asking, do we own the process or does the process own us? In a Day 2 company, you might find it’s the second.

Another example: market research and customer surveys can become proxies for customers ??? something that’s especially dangerous when you’re inventing and designing products.

“Fifty-five per cent of beta testers report being satisfied with this feature. That is up from 47 per cent in the first survey.” That’s hard to interpret and could unintentionally mislead.

Good inventors and designers deeply understand their customer. They spend tremendous energy developing that intuition. They study and understand many anecdotes rather than only the averages you’ll find on surveys. They live with the design.

I’m not against beta testing or surveys. But you, the product or service owner, must understand the customer, have a vision, and love the offering.

Then, beta testing and research can help you find your blind spots. A remarkable customer experience starts with heart, intuition, curiosity, play, guts, taste. You won’t find any of it in a survey. 3. Embrace external trends

The outside world can push you into Day 2 if you won’t or can’t embrace powerful trends quickly. If you fight them, you’re probably fighting the future. Embrace them and you have a tailwind.

These big trends are not that hard to spot (they get talked and written about a lot), but they can be strangely hard for large organisations to embrace. We’re in the middle of an obvious one right now: machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Over the past decades computers have broadly automated tasks that programmers could describe with clear rules and algorithms. Modern machine learning techniques now allow us to do the same for tasks where describing the precise rules is much harder.

At Amazon, we’ve been engaged in the practical application of machine learning for many years now. Some of this work is highly visible: our autonomous Prime Air delivery drones; the Amazon Go convenience store that uses machine vision to eliminate checkout lines; and Alexa, our cloud-based AI assistant.

(We still struggle to keep Echo in stock, despite our best efforts. A high-quality problem, but a problem. We’re working on it.)

But much of what we do with machine learning happens beneath the surface. Machine learning drives our algorithms for demand forecasting, product search ranking, product and deals recommendations, merchandising placements, fraud detection, translations, and much more.

Though less visible, much of the impact of machine learning will be of this type ??? quietly but meaningfully improving core operations.

Inside AWS, we’re excited to lower the costs and barriers to machine learning and AI so organisations of all sizes can take advantage of these advanced techniques.

Using our pre-packaged versions of popular deep learning frameworks running on P2 compute instances (optimised for this workload), customers are already developing powerful systems ranging everywhere from early disease detection to increasing crop yields.

And we’ve also made Amazon’s higher level services available in a convenient form. Amazon Lex (what’s inside Alexa), Amazon Polly, and Amazon Rekognition remove the heavy lifting from natural language understanding, speech generation, and image analysis. They can be accessed with simple API calls ??? no machine learning expertise required. Watch this space. Much more to come. 4. High-velocity decision making

Day 2 companies make high-quality decisions, but they make high-quality decisions slowly. To keep the energy and dynamism of Day 1, you have to somehow make high-quality, high-velocity decisions.

Easy for start-ups and very challenging for large organisations. The senior team at Amazon is determined to keep our decision-making velocity high. Speed matters in business ??? plus a high-velocity decision making environment is more fun too. We don’t know all the answers, but here are some thoughts.

First, never use a one-size-fits-all decision-making process. Many decisions are reversible, two-way doors. Those decisions can use a light-weight process. For those, so what if you’re wrong? I wrote about this in more detail in last year’s letter.

Second, most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70 per cent of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90 per cent, in most cases, you’re probably being slow.

Plus, either way, you need to be good at quickly recognising and correcting bad decisions. If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.

Third, use the phrase “disagree and commit.” This phrase will save a lot of time. If you have conviction on a particular direction even though there’s no consensus, it’s helpful to say, “Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it? Disagree and commit?”

By the time you’re at this point, no one can know the answer for sure, and you’ll probably get a quick yes.

This isn’t one way. If you’re the boss, you should do this too. I disagree and commit all the time. We recently greenlit a particular Amazon Studios original. I told the team my view: debatable whether it would be interesting enough, complicated to produce, the business terms aren’t that good, and we have lots of other opportunities.

They had a completely different opinion and wanted to go ahead. I wrote back right away with “I disagree and commit and hope it becomes the most watched thing we’ve ever made.” Consider how much slower this decision cycle would have been if the team had actually had to convince me rather than simply get my commitment.

Note what this example is not: it’s not me thinking to myself “well, these guys are wrong and missing the point, but this isn’t worth me chasing.”

It’s a genuine disagreement of opinion, a candid expression of my view, a chance for the team to weigh my view, and a quick, sincere commitment to go their way.

And given that this team has already brought home 11 Emmys, 6 Golden Globes, and 3 Oscars, I’m just glad they let me in the room at all!

Fourth, recognise true misalignment issues early and escalate them immediately.

Sometimes teams have different objectives and fundamentally different views. They are not aligned. No amount of discussion, no number of meetings will resolve that deep misalignment. Without escalation, the default dispute resolution mechanism for this scenario is exhaustion. Whoever has more stamina carries the decision.

I’ve seen many examples of sincere misalignment at Amazon over the years. When we decided to invite third party sellers to compete directly against us on our own product detail pages ??? that was a big one.

Many smart, well-intentioned Amazonians were simply not at all aligned with the direction. The big decision set up hundreds of smaller decisions, many of which needed to be escalated to the senior team.

“You’ve worn me down” is an awful decision-making process. It’s slow and de-energising. Go for quick escalation instead ??? it’s better.

So, have you settled only for decision quality, or are you mindful of decision velocity too? Are the world’s trends tailwinds for you? Are you falling prey to proxies, or do they serve you? And most important of all, are you delighting customers?

We can have the scope and capabilities of a large company and the spirit and heart of a small one. But we have to choose it.

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Sophie Monk’s stalker jailed after police assault

Sophie Monk’s Tasmanian stalker is the first person jailed under the state’s mandatory sentencing laws for assaults on police.

James Scott McCabe, of Beauty Point, appeared in the Launceston Supreme Court on Thursday having pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer in June last year by striking him to the head with a bat and punching him four times.

McCabe was handed an eight-month suspended sentence in 2015 for stalking Australian celebrity Sophie Monk – by assaulting the police officer, he breached that sentence.

Acting Justice Pierre Slicer told the court on Thursday the 2016 attack was serious enough to warrant the mandatory minimum sentence of six months. The court heard the officer was off work for four days following the incident and suffered ongoing headaches.

The legislation was introduced in 2014 and applies to serious assaults, but so far nobody has received the minimum jail term.

Reading out McCabe’s history, acting Justice Slicer described him as having suffered mental illness.

Acting Justice Slicer said McCabe “regularly failed to take prescribed medications”.

But he said McCabe’s mental illness did not impact his judgement “to the degree he did not know” what he was doing when he attacked the officer.

Acting Justice Slicer told McCabe he would be activating the eight-month suspended sentence and imposing a new sentence of 12 months for the assault charge.

He will serve the sentences cumulatively and he is eligible for parole after 10 months.

The Examiner

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Look at us now: From Kindie to the HSC, the twins are all grown up

Look at us now: From Kindie to the HSC, the twins are all grown up Dream team: Georgia and Jacinta O’Sullivan, Maxine and Alexis Regan, Kristan and Tiani Kolbas. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Dream team: Tiani and Kristan Kolbas, Maxine and Alexis Regan and Jacinta and Georgia O’Sullivan. Picture: Darren Pateman

Dream team: Tiani and Kristan Kolbas, Maxine and Alexis Regan and Jacinta and Georgia O’Sullivan. Picture: Darren Pateman

Dream team: Georgia and Jacinta (top) O’Sullivan, Maxine and Alexis (top) Regan and Tiani and Kristan (top) Kolbas. Picture: Darren Pateman

Dream team: Maxine and Alexis Regan, Kristan and Tiani Kolbas and Georgia and Jacinta O’Sullivan. Picture: Darren Pateman

Dream big: Georgia and Jacinta O’Sullivan, Maxine and Alexis Regan and Kristan and Tiani Kolbas. Picture: Darren Pateman

Dream team: Georgia and Jacinta O’Sullivan, Maxine and Alexis Regan, Kristan and Tiani Kolbas. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Dream team: Maxine and Alexis Regan, Kristan and Tiani Kolbas, Georgia and Jacinta O’Sullivan. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald has followed Georgia and her twin sister Jacinta since they started inthe same Eleebana Public class astwins Kristan and Tiani Kolbas and Maxine and Alexis Regan in 2005.

Everyone except Georgia has finished their final exams, while Maxine left school in year 11 and works for Aurecon.

The Herald reported when the twins finished year six theyhad swapped classes on April Fool’s Day to trick their teachers.

Read more: The twins are ready to take the next step together

The girls –all now 18 – said while they were still occasionally mistaken for each other, being a twin had taken on a new meaning as they started forging their own paths.

Maxine and Alexis’parents decided at the end of year 10 it was best for them to move to twoprivate schools.

The girls were adopted at five months old from Papua New Guinea and are each other’s “wingman”.

“They wanted us to have our own separate identities, not as twins,” Maxine said.

“I am more laid back and it didn’t bother me going with Alexis’ decisions, but they wanted me to start making my own decisions.”

Alexis said the sisters had gone to school, socialised with the same friends and lived together, which had caused some arguments.

“But that first day getting up and putting on a different uniform to Maxine was so hard –she’s my backbone,when issues arise she’s the person Igo to.”

Maxine said they had “completely different personalities”.

“You annoy each other, but you don’t want that spot filled by anyone else,” she said.

“I was okay with it, but worried if something wentwrong I would not be there. When I left my school to start work I knew if she was in trouble, I could be there in a heartbeat.

“The people you grow up with become your family…but being adopted means our only bloodline here is our twin.”

Meanwhile, Jacinta said she didn’t like being a twin.

“You don’t have your own personal identity, it’s not ‘Jacinta’, it’s ‘the twin’,” she said, although she saidhaving a sister for support, motivation and to study with through the HSC was invaluable.

Georgia said comparison was constant.

“There’s always ‘Who is the smarter one, the clumsier one, the hotter one.”

The sistersaren’t fazed about being separated. The longest they’vebeen apart istwo and a half weeks, when Jacinta was in South America and Georgia inNew York.

“But I think we had better conversations when we were apart,” Georgia said.

“We were Face Timing and actually cared about what each other was doing.”

Kristan said she had considered moving to Sydney, but was unsure if she could leave Tiani.

“I love being a twin,” she said.

Their relationship deepened around the trial exam period, when Kristan developed a mystery rash she said could have been brought on by stress.

It covered her body and required a week in hospital, followed by another week of in-home care and disrupted her study preparation.

“Tiani couldn’t bear to see me crying,” she said.

“I wanted to leave school but I got through because of her and my family and friends. I can’t believe I did it.”

The girls said they were sad to leave school–Georgia said she “cried the entire graduation day”– but ready for the future.

“I’m keen as,” Jacinta said. “I’m keen to do something I love, for responsibility, to be an actual adult!”

“Rev head” Maxine said she thinks often abouther dream to be a V8driver –she has a certificate three in automotive qualification.

Alexis is considering the emergency services; Jacinta is planning to study architecture; Kristan is deliberating between nutrition and dietetics or personal training while Tiani wants to operateher own business, perhaps in interior design.

“We’ll see each other every few years and be able to pick back up where we left off,” Tiani said.

Marist brother arrested with 400 sexually explicit images

Sentenced: Former Hamilton Marist Brother Terry Gilsenan pictured at the order’s harbourfront home in Sydney.MARIST Schools Australia saw no problem giving convicted child rapistBrother Terry Gilsenan a prominent position on its website in 2015, as contact person for school resourcesincluding comic books and posters.

He was only identified as “Brother Terry” when the Newcastle Heraldchecked to confirm he was a former Hamilton Marist Brother who was jailed in 2001 for rapinga 12-year-old boy in the 1980s.

‘‘It is the view of the Marist Brothers that Brothers who have been convicted can be gainfully employed, provided the strictest conditions are met,” Marist Brothers Provincial Leader Brother Jeffrey Crowe said in 2015.

“Brother Terry’s role and these conditions were considered appropriate for someone in his circumstances. They are regularly reviewed.”

Nine months later Gilsenan, 62, was charged with five counts of making and possessing child abuse material while living at theMarists’ harbourfront property in Drummoyne and a second property at Tennison Point.

At a sentencing hearing on Friday aSydney District Court judge was told Gilsenan was still on parole in 2003 when he photoshopped a photo of the head of a 13-year-old girl on to the naked body of a woman and used it as part of a sexual fantasy, for his sexual gratification.

The court was told the Marist order allowed him to remain a Marist Brother after serving his jail sentence, and later approved formal roles for him within the Marist Schools system.

Between August 2015 and February 2016 Gilsenanphotoshopped more images of a teenage girl and a naked woman. During a police search of his belongings at the Marist properties in February 2016, more than 400 images of naked children were found.

Solicitor Greg Walsh argued Gilsenan’s crimes were serious but he had not disseminated the images and there was no physical harm or cruelty, although he conceded they were “not victimless crimes”.

Gilsenan hasbeen removed from the Marist order and is no longer a Brother after the Marists adopted “a much more vigorous and rigorous regime” of responding to its convicted child sex offenders because of the Gilsenan case, Mr Walsh told the court.

He argued Gilsenan had already served 20 months’ in custody and “never wants to offend again because he just doesn’t want to go back to jail”.

The court was told Gilsenan will be supported by the order when he leaves jail.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

Gilsenan was a teacher at Hamilton Marist Brothers in 1995-96.

The Herald, Newcastle