Man charged over allegedly grooming child online and meeting for sex

A man has been charged after allegedly grooming a teenage girl online and meeting with her for sex in the Hunter region.

Detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad commenced an investigation following reports a 15-year-old girl had been sexually and indecently assaulted by a man she met online last month.

Police will allege in court that the pair met on a social media application designed for teenagers, where the man purported to be aged 17. They engaged in conversation before arranging to meet in person.

The man later advised he was aged 27, and the pair met in the Newcastle area on Saturday 29 September 2018, and allegedly had sex.

The incident was reported to local police last week before being referred to the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad for further investigation.

Following inquiries, detectives arrested a 35-year-old man at a home unit at Valentine about 7am yesterday (Monday 15 October 2018).

Shortly after the arrest, investigators executed a search warrant at the unit, before executing a crime scene warrant at a home at Whitebridge.

During the searches, police seized a number of items relevant to the investigation.

The man was taken to Belmont Police Station and charged with nine counts of sexual intercourse with person aged 14-16, two counts of indecent assault-person under 16, groom child for unlawful sexual activity, meet with child groomed for sexual activity, and use carriage service to plan for sex-person under 16.

He was refused bail and appeared at Toronto Local Court yesterday, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at the same court on Tuesday 30 October 2018.

Meanwhile, police are urging parents and carers to speak with their children about staying safe online.

Safe internet use – tips for parents:

• Be aware of how much time your child spends on the internet.

• Spend time talking to your child about the dangers associated with online conversations, particularly when communicating with someone that they have only ever met online.

• Spend time exploring the internet with your children and let them teach you about their favourite websites and applications.

• Keep computers or internet-enabled devices in a room the whole family can access, not in your child’s bedroom; monitor internet access on those devices.

• Consider installing filtering and/or computer blocking software provided by your internet service provider.

• Ensure you are able to access your child’s email and social media accounts and randomly check the contents.

• Check your phone bill for unusual outgoing calls and consider using ‘caller ID’ to identify incoming calls.

• Consult your telephone company for options designed to ensure privacy and security.

• Enquire with your child’s school, public library, and places they frequent to find out what internet safety measures they have in place.

• Information on internet safety is available on the NSW Police website at: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/safety_and_prevention/safe_and_secure/online_safety

Tips for children:

• Do not send a picture of yourself to anyone you don’t know and never place a full profile and picture anywhere on the internet.

• Never give out your personal information, including full name, home address, phone number or school, over the internet.

• Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone that you have only ever chatted with on the internet.

• Tell your parents or another adult you know of any contact that makes you feel uncomfortable.

• Think carefully before uploading or sending images or videos to people over the internet. Once you press ‘send’ it’s definite and final – you can’t get it back or take it down.

• Information on youth issues, including online safety is available on the NSW Police website at:

http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/safety_and_prevention/safe_and_secure/young_people

More information and educational packages for parents and children are available from ThinkUKnow, a multi-agency program designed to educate and promote cyber safety: https://www.thinkuknow.org.au/

The Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad is comprised of detectives who are specially trained to investigate matters against children and adults, including sexual assault, serious physical abuse, and extreme cases of neglect.

Anyone with concerns about suspected child abuse or exploitation should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au

Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. People should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

NEW LAWS TO TACKLE OUTLAW BIKIE GANGS

New laws will make it easier for NSW Police to tackle organised crime during raids on outlaw motorcycle gang clubhouses, Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Attorney General Mark Speakman and Police Minister Troy Grant announced today.

“NSW has the toughest organised crime laws in Australia and our Police will now be better equipped than ever to tackle dangerous outlaw bikie gangs,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will not tolerate criminal behaviour which undermines community safety.”

Under the new laws, Police executing a warrant on outlaw bikie clubhouses will have clear powers to:

  • search anyone on site;
  • compel any person to reveal their name and address; and
  • compel people present at the venue to move on.

Mr Grant said the reforms, which will help police identify suspects, gather evidence and seize dangerous firearms and weapons, are part of the NSW Government’s unrelenting crackdown on organised criminal gang activity.

“There is no room for outlaw bikies in NSW, who will continue to be hounded by Police until they leave the state or find a new, legal hobby,” Mr Grant said.

The legislative amendments, to be introduced into the Parliament in coming weeks, respond to the Ombudsman’s report on the Restricted Premises Act.

The NSW Government has accepted all the Ombudsman’s recommendations which will give Police greater clarity about their powers and responsibilities when raiding outlaw bikie gang clubhouses,” Mr Speakman said.

Police have been using the powers provided under the Restricted Premises Act, which was formerly known as the Disorderly Houses Act, to target outlaw bikie clubhouses for the past decade.

These powers were strengthened in 2013 to enhance the ability of Police to combat firearms-related and organised crime, with a focus on the activities of outlaw bikie gangs.

These powers are on top of a range of other tough measures available to Police to target outlaw bikie crime, including those set out below.

  • Serious Crime Prevention Orders – to impose restrictions on people to disrupt their involvement in serious criminal activity.
  • Public Safety Orders – to prevent people from attending places or events where they are expected to engage in violence or present a serious threat to public safety or security.
  • Consorting laws – which carry a maximum three year prison term for people who continue to associate with convicted offenders after receiving an official warning from Police.
  • Unexplained wealth laws – which place a burden on suspects to prove their income was lawfully acquired.
  • Firearm Prohibition Orders – allowing Police to search, without warrant, premises or vehicles occupied by anyone subjected to the order to ensure compliance.

“Strike Force Raptor has dismantled numerous bikie-led drug and organised crime operations and is continuing to crack down on outlaw bikie violence,” said Police Commissioner Mick Fuller.

In April 2018, NSW Police successfully applied to the Supreme Court for Serious Crime Prevention Orders against 10 high-ranking members of the Finks and Nomads outlaw motorcycle gangs who were linked to gang-related violence across the Lower Hunter region.

SUPPORT FOR DROUGHT-AFFECTED PRESCHOOLS

Drought-affected families experiencing hardship in regional NSW will have some relief following today’s announcement that the NSW Government will be providing financial support for community preschools in NSW.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell today announced a new $3 million package, which will reduce fees, allow more flexibility with travel arrangements and future-proof services so they are more resilient and better equipped to cope when challenging circumstances arise.

Ms Berejiklian said the 2018 Drought Relief Payments will ensure early childhood education services can continue to operate during the adverse economic conditions associated with the drought period.

“This year has been one of the driest winters on record, which is why the NSW Government has committed more than $1 billion to date to help our farming communities that are struggling.”

“We understand there are numerous social and economic flow-on effects from the drought, which affect businesses in every town and small community,” she said.

“Our goal is to help alleviate some of the pressure on families by supporting early childhood services where attendance may have dropped due to financial pressures, and also to boost support for service operators coping with additional challenges due to drought.”

Ms Mitchell said it is crucial the Government continues to support families to ensure children always have access to top quality early childhood education, no matter where they live or what their circumstances are.

“Services can use this funding to assist families and children in a range of ways, including transport arrangements to maintain preschool participation, crisis planning or fee subsidies to further support families,” Ms Mitchell said.

Funding will be allocated to services based on their enrolment numbers and location, and will be scaled according to the level of drought intensity.

Newcastle win 2018 Netball NSW State Cup

The 2018 Netball NSW State Cup trophy is heading to the Hunter Region after Newcastle took out the title at the Genea Netball Centre over the weekend.

The competition, which brings the best Metro and Regional teams from across NSW together, was set up to determine the State’s best Association in the Opens age category.

Teams from the 2018 DOOLEYS Metro League and BING LEE Regional League took part with Newcastle the last team standing after two days of action: Saturday and Sunday, 13-14 October.

And it was a double celebration for Newcastle as they were also crowned the Inter-Regional State champions for being the highest-ranked Regional Association at the conclusion of the weekend.

In all, eight Associations from across NSW took part: Barellan & District, Hastings Valley, Hills District, Lismore, Newcastle, Northern Suburbs, Orange and Quirindi.

A total of 76 players took part over 40 games, with over 1800 goals scored.

Newcastle are a new name on the trophy after Northern Suburbs won the inaugural State Cup in 2016 and Hastings Valley took out last year’s title.

2018 State Cup Final Placings
Newcastle
Hills District
Northern Suburbs
Orange
Hastings Valley
Lismore
Quirindi
Barellan & District

Police investigate armed robbery – Newcastle City

Police have commenced an investigation following the armed robbery of a bottle shop in Shortland yesterday.

Just after 6pm (Monday 15 October 2018), a 55-year-old woman was working at a bottle shop on Sandgate Road when a motorcycle pulled in.

The rider of the bike entered the store while his pillion passenger stayed with the bike.

A customer left the shop and the rider – still wearing his full-face helmet – removed a shortened double-barrel shotgun from his backpack and threatened the employee while demanding money from the register.

The employee complied with his demands and handed over a sum of cash.

The man left the store and was seen getting onto the back of the motorbike now being ridden by his accomplice.

The alarm was raised and officers from Newcastle City Police District attended and commenced inquiries.

Police have been told the armed man was wearing a black helmet, black jacket with blue jeans and a black backpack.

His accomplice was wearing a multi coloured Motocross style helmet with blue rimmed goggles with grey track pants and a grey hoodie.

Investigators would also like to speak with the customer who left the store just prior to the robbery.

Couple threatened with firearm during aggravated break, enter and steal – Swansea

Police are seeking information after a couple were threatened with a firearm during an aggravated break, enter and steal at Swansea overnight.

About 12.30am (Monday 15 October 2018), three men forced their way into a house in Tomlin Place.

The men, one armed with a firearm, entered a bedroom and threatened a 26-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman.

They stole cash, jewellery and a wallet before running from the house into a car believed to be a white-coloured Volkswagen Jetta.

No one was injured during the incident.

One of the men is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 185cm tall with a thin build.

The three men were wearing dark clothing and had their faces covered.

Intent to murder charge over Central Coast stabbing

A man is due in Wyong court today charged over the alleged stabbing of another man at the Central Coast yesterday.

Emergency services were called to a construction site at Colongra, near Lake Munmorah, after a 33-year-old man sustained stab wounds in his neck and chest, and cuts to both hands after allegedly being attacked about 2.40pm (Sunday 14 October 2018).

He was treated at the scene before being taken to John Hunter Hospital where he is undergoing surgery. Police have been told he is in a stable condition.

Shortly after 4pm, a 32-year-old man was arrested at a service station on the M1 at Warnervale by officers attached to Traffic & Highway Patrol Command.

The man, who is from North Gosford, was taken to Wyong Police Station where he was charged with wound with intent to murder.

He was refused bail overnight and will appear in Wyong Local Court later today (Monday 15 October 2018).

Police believe the men are known to each other.

Greens put fresh roadblock in way of Adani

Today a Greens motion passed the Senate demanding that the Government stop Adani’s pipeline application from being assessed until the federal investigation into their environmental breaches is concluded.

“It would be outrageous for Adani to continue seeking a fresh environmental approval when they’re being investigated for breaching the last one,” said Mining and Resources spokesperson for the Australian Greens, former environmental lawyer Senator Larissa Waters.

“You wouldn’t give an arsonist a fresh box of matches – so why should Adani get a fresh environmental approval when they’ve ignored the conditions of their last one.

“The very least we can expect of this useless government is to apply environmental laws equally to their big business donors.

“Adani’s application for a pipeline for 12.5 billion litres of water to wash their dirty coal is a slap in the face of drought-stricken farmers, whom the Prime Minister claims to be concerned about.

“The Environment Minister has now been sent a clear message by the Senate – stop giving Adani free passes when they’ve shown they can’t be trusted.

“The Environment Minister needs to remember she’s not a mining industry lawyer anymore, no matter how generous the mining companies are to donating to her political party.

“Of course, given the IPCC report this week it’s clear the world’s climate can’t take any new coal, and the Greens will continue to work to stop Adani and instead to transition to clean, job-rich renewable energy.”

Senator Waters’ motion today:  That the Senate—

  • a. notes that:
    • i. Adani Mining, as part of the Adani Group, is currently being investigated by the Department of the Environment and Energy for potential breach of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) Carmichael Mine approval conditions, for alleged unlawful clearing of vegetation and sinking of groundwater dewatering bores, and
    • ii. Adani Infrastructure, as part of the Adani Group, has applied for EPBC Act approval for a pipeline to bring water to the mine site for washing of the coal; and
  • b. calls on the Minister for the Environment, or her delegate, to not make a decision on the pipeline application until the results of the investigation and subsequent decision on whether to take enforcement action into the alleged mine site breaches has

If Scott Morrison works in good faith with Greens and Labor, we could end legal discrimination against LGBT teachers this week: Greens

Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson Senator Janet Rice today said that if Prime Minister Scott Morrison works in good faith with the Greens and Labor, the Parliament could end exemptions this week to Federal anti-discrimination laws that currently allow religious schools to fire LGBT+ teachers and staff because of who they are.

“For years the Greens have fought to remove exemptions to our laws that allow religious schools to expel students and fire teachers and staff members simply because of who they are,” Senator Rice said.

“I am pleased that following pressure from the community and the Greens, Labor today announced that they support the Greens’ position.

“Scott Morrison and the Liberals must now listen to the public and commit to working with the Greens and Labor to change our laws to not only stop students being expelled because of who they are, but to stop LGBT+ teachers and staff members from being sacked because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or gender diverse.

“If Scott Morrison works in good faith with the Greens and Labor, we could end these outdated exemptions by the end of this week.

“Our laws should protect LGBTIQ+ Australians from discrimination, not enshrine the right to discriminate against them.”

The Greens took removing exemptions from federal anti-discrimination law for religious organisations to the 2016 Federal Election.

Greens Say Senate must work together to clear the air on ABC interference

The cloud that hangs over the independence of the ABC has come no closer to being cleared following the release of the Government’s departmental review today.

“The Department report raises more question than answers about the issues plaguing the ABC. This review is a white-wash that attempts to save the Morrison Government from any scrutiny for the part it has played in the ABC’s leadership turmoil,” Greens media spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“Today’s departmental review does not address the issues surrounding political interference between the Government, the ABC board and its leadership last month. This is not simply a tit for tat between the former Chair and Managing Director and must be investigated further.

“Without a Senate Inquiry into the political interference at the ABC,  there is a cloud over our beloved public broadcaster’s future independence.

“The ABC staff, and the Australian people, deserve better than this blatant political interference. For the future of a strong public broadcaster, we need to get this right and the Senate needs to work together.”