Man charged over alleged online child procurement – Lake Macquarie

A Lake Macquarie man will appear in court today charged by Strike Force Trawler detectives following an investigation into the alleged online grooming and procuring of a child.

Last month, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) began engaging online with a man from Morriset.

Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 14-year-old girl and engaged in conversations about sexually-explicit acts he wished the child to perform and sent explicit material.

It will also be alleged that the man arranged to meet the girl in person.

Following extensive investigations, strike force detectives arrested a 40-year-old man at a business in Mannering Park about 2.30pm yesterday (Tuesday 30 June 2020).

Investigators seized the man’s phone before he was taken to Wyong Police Station and charged with

use carriage service to procure child under 16 years for sexual activity.

He was refused bail to appear at Wyong Local Court today (Wednesday 1 July 2020).

Strike Force Trawler is an ongoing investigation by the CEIU into the sexual abuse and exploitation of children facilitated through the internet and related telecommunications devices.

Regular covert online investigations are conducted by the CEIU; and police in NSW work closely with their law-enforcement colleagues interstate and overseas.

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.

CCTV released after boat stolen near Port Stephens

Police have released CCTV footage as inquiries continue into the stealing of boat near Port Stephens earlier this month.

Just before 11am on Thursday 18 June 2020, a white Trailcraft vessel was stolen from outside a home on Bagnalls Beach Road, Corlette.

Officers from the Marine Area Command were notified and commenced an investigation.

As part of their inquiries, officers have released CCTV of a white vehicle travelling on Salamander Way, Corlette, in an appeal to locate the driver.

Investigators believe the male driver could assist with their inquiries.

The vehicle has been described as a white Nissan Navara utility 2010-2012 model, with a black bull bar, and black and yellow NSW numberplates.

Boat owners are also advised to ensure their vessels are properly secured to reduce the risk of theft. Other safety tips include:

  • Security devices installed on boats should be resistant to water, salt and humidity.
  • Install locks on your vessels. Marine dealers carry special exterior hatch locks. When fastened with a quality padlock, one of these improves security.
  • To enhance window security, locksmiths carry a variety of special, small locks and fasteners, which can be used to increase the security of other types of windows. For sliding windows, place a length of doweling in the track to prevent the window from being forced open.
  • If your boat is kept in the water, use a marina with full time security and/or good lighting.
  • If you are leaving your boat for long periods of time, ensure that someone else is able to check your boat on a regular basis.

City’s libraries reopening in July

City of Newcastle libraries at Mayfield and New Lambton will reopen in July following the lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions.

Mayfield and New Lambton branches are scheduled to welcome members and visitors back on site from July 1 and 6 respectively. Operating hours will also be extended at the Newcastle and Wallsend branches.

The staged reopening of libraries has been designed to comply with current capacity limits and prioritise the health and safety of staff and the community through a COVID-safe operating model.

The reopening of the City’s remaining libraries (Adamstown, Beresfield, Hamilton and Stockton) is currently being considered in terms of their ability to safely operate given the continuing COVID-19 restrictions. Lambton Library is currently undergoing a refresh and will reopen once works are completed.

“The community has responded positively to the reopening of our City and Wallsend branches and we appreciate people’s patience as our team works through our COVID-19 safe plan to reopen additional sites,” Manager Libraries and Learning Suzie Gately said.

“We are taking considered measures to ensure we meet Public Health Order requirements, which includes changes to our service delivery and preparing our spaces with additional safeguards.

“The next stage of service resumption will see operating hours extended and two additional branches reopened, allowing us to offer on-site access to the public across a wider service area including our Local History service at the City branch.

“We are also expanding our ‘Library Express’ model to include access to study spaces and technology, and increasing visitation time to one hour from the current limit of 30 minutes.

“We will continue to offer our home library service for the most vulnerable and marginalised in our community along with continuing the Call and Collect service to all members who may not want to come in and browse, and that will help maximise the turnover of members at each site.

“While we are looking forward to welcoming our members back into our various branches, we also expect that many will continue to make the most of our expanded online library services, which offer a convenient and contactless means of accessing a wide range of e-books, audio titles, digital magazines and newspapers, as well as music and movie-streaming platforms.”

More than 6,000 members have visited the Newcastle and Wallsend libraries since they were reopened on 15 June.

Enhanced hygiene and cleaning procedures have been put in place at all library service points, including 24-hour quarantining of all books returned via the external chutes.

For full details of the revised library opening times, visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Library/Home.

Teenager charged over alleged break and enters – Hunter region

A teenage boy has been charged following several alleged aggravated break and enter offences in the Hunter.

In June 2020, officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police Proactive Crime Team commenced Operation Golding to investigate and respond to an increase in property-related crime in Maitland, Rutherford and Aberglasslyn.

Following extensive inquiries, police attended a home in Aberglasslyn and arrested a 15-year-old boy about 12.30pm yesterday (Monday 29 June 2020).

Police will allege the teenager was involved in three separate break and enter offences:

  • On Thursday 16 April 2020, a business on High Street, Maitland, was allegedly broken into, where more than $16,000 worth of mountain bikes were stolen and extensive damage was caused to the shopfront.
  • On Thursday 30 April 2020, a school on Weblands Street, Rutherford, was allegedly broken into and several iPads were stolen.
  • On Monday 22 June 2020, a fast food restaurant on Arthur Street, Rutherford, was allegedly broken into, where a sum of cash was taken and the store suffered significant damage.

The teenage boy was taken to Maitland Police Station and charged with three counts of aggravated break and enter in company with intent to steal.

He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at a children’s court on Friday 17 July 2020.

Investigations under Operation Golding are continuing, with further arrests anticipated.

Man stabbed in home invasion – Port Stephens- Hunter

Police are appealing for information after two men were stabbed during a home invasion at Hawks Nest overnight.

About 10.30pm (Monday 30 June 2020), a 78-year-old man opened the door of his home on Booner Street and was confronted by three unknown men.

The group pushed past the man, assaulting him and stabbing him in the abdomen.

Police have been told the group went upstairs and began assaulting a 53-year-old man.

While attempting to flee, the man was stabbed in the back.

He continued to run from the attackers and was stabbed a further seven times to the back and neck.

The men stole a purse and car keys from a 40-year-old woman, before fleeing the scene on foot.

Emergency services were called, and the younger man was treated by NSW Ambulance Paramedics before being flown to John Hunter Hospital, in a stable condition.

The older man was driven to John Hunter Hospital suffering a stab wound and head injuries. He is in a stable condition.

Officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District attended and established a crime scene.

Investigations are continuing.

History and humpbacks on offer as Fort Scratchley reopens to the public

Immerse yourself in Newcastle’s military history and check out one of the best whale watching vantage points when Fort Scratchley reopens to the public on weekends from 4 July.

Following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, visitors will once again be able to explore the grounds of the historic Fort, which has been standing sentry over Newcastle since 1882.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said she looked forward to the site reopening.

“It’s fantastic that both locals and visitors can once again explore one of Newcastle’s most iconic landmarks and learn more about the important role Fort Scratchley played in our city’s history,” she said.

“Visitors may also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the humpbacks currently migrating north along the coastline, with the Fort headland offering one of the city’s most spectacular vantage points for whale watching.”

Access will be granted to the outdoor areas of Fort Scratchley, allowing self-guided tours around the barracks and above-ground defence structures, while visitors can witness the time-honoured tradition of the firing the gun at 1pm on weekends.

The large grassed headland is also ideal for those wanting to enjoy a picnic or take advantage of the panoramic views of the ocean and harbour.

Capacity limits will apply for those who want to visit the museum exhibition rooms, gift shop or onsite café, while guided tours of the historic tunnels and group bookings remain temporarily suspended.

Newcastle Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said the staged reopening of the Fort will allow visitors to access many of its unique experiences whilst ensuring the health and safety of volunteers and the public.

“While it will be wonderful to visit the Fort, I remind visitors to continue to practise physical distancing and follow the signage, floor markers and direction of the dedicated volunteers from the Fort Scratchley Historical Society, who will be monitoring capacity to ensure it remains at a safe level, ” Cr Winney-Baartz said.

Fort Scratchley will reopen from 10am to 4pm on weekends only, from Saturday, 4 July. General admission entry is free and no bookings are required.

A range of enhanced hygiene measures are being implemented at the site, including touchfree hand sanitiser stations at entry points and increased cleaning regimes during operational hours.

‘Magic mushrooms’ and cash seized; man charged – Hunter region

A man will face court today after police allegedly located a commercial quantity of ‘magic mushrooms’ during a vehicle stop in the Hunter last month.

About 10.25pm on Friday 1 May 2020, officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District were travelling along Raymond Terrace Road, Nelson Plains, when they noticed a grey Holden Cruze parked on the side of the road in darkness.

Officers stopped and spoke with the driver – a 19-year-old man – before conducting a search of the vehicle.

Police located and seized more than 120g of psilocybin, commonly known as ‘magic mushrooms’, as well as a small amount of cannabis, drug paraphernalia and cash.

He was arrested and taken to Raymond Terrace Police Station where he was charged with supply prohibited drug larger than commercial quantity, possess prohibited drug and deal with proceeds of crime.

He was refused bail to face Newcastle Local Court on Saturday 2 May, where he was granted conditional bail to appear at Raymond Terrace Local Court today (Monday 29 June 2020).

Man charged after refusing to leave tavern, throwing rocks at police – Lake Macquarie

A man has been charged after he allegedly refused to leave a licensed premises before throwing rocks at police in Lake Macquarie yesterday.

Just before 1am (Saturday 27 June 2020), officers from Lake Macquarie Police District were called to the tavern on the Pacific Highway, Gateshead, after a man was reportedly acting disorderly and refusing to leave.

Police have been told the man initially left the premises when asked by security but returned a short time later and refused to leave.

As officers arrived, the man walked outside and as they approached him, he began swearing and throwing rocks at them.

The man attempted to encourage bystanders to assault police before fleeing when further police arrived to assist. He was pursued and arrested following a short struggle.

The 26-year-old Windale man was taken to Belmont Police Station and charged with excluded person fail to leave premises when required, excluded person re-enter/attempt to re-enter premises, resist or hinder police officer in the execution of duty, and affray.

He man was granted conditional bail and is due to appear at Belmont Local Court on Wednesday 29 July 2020.

KILGOUR PRIZE 2020 finalists announced

Newcastle Art Gallery has announced the finalists for the KILGOUR PRIZE 2020.

One of Australia’s major art prizes, the KILGOUR PRIZE awards $50,000 for the most outstanding work of art selected by a judging panel consisting of the Newcastle Art Gallery Director and two invited arts industry representatives. A $5,000 People’s Choice is also awarded to the painting voted most popular by the general public.

This year the 30 finalists were selected from more than 350 entries received from artists across the country. The 2020 finalists include artists from the ACT, NSW, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. The list also features two local artists, Michael Bell and Peter Gardiner, who have both been regular entrants to the KILGOUR PRIZE, with the latter winning the KILGOUR PRIZE in 2016.

“Every year the KILGOUR PRIZE presents some of the best contemporary Australian portrait and figurative painting. Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Australian arts sector, the KILGOUR PRIZE has been an incredible opportunity to encourage and support artists to continue producing and creating works of art. This year’s selected artists present diverse interpretations of the brief, resulting in a very dynamic exhibition,” Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton said.

Funded by a bequest from artist Jack Noel Kilgour, the KILGOUR PRIZE has encouraged innovation within portrait and figurative painting since 2006.

The winner will be announced on Friday 31 July 2020 and the KILGOUR PRIZE 2020 will be on display 1 August – 15 November 2020.

2020 Judges:

Lauretta Morton, Director Newcastle Art Gallery

Stephen Gilchrist, curator and Lecturer Art History, The University of Sydney

Rachel Arndt, Gallery Programs and Touring Exhibitions Manager, Museums and Galleries of NSW.

2020 Finalists:

An Sheng, Andrew Bennett, Anh Nguyen, Ben Ryan, Brittany Jones, Bronni Krieger, Corinna Howell, Craig Handley, Dagmar Cyrulla, Daniel Butterworth, Elizabeth Austin, Erik Krebs-Schade, Esther Erlich, Greg Creek, Jacqueline Hennessy, Jordan Richardson, Joshua McPherson, Kenneth Lambert, Kerry McInnis, Kylie Melinda Smith, Lileana Colarelli, Lori Pensini, Lynn Savery, Melissa Ritchie, Michael Bell, Oliver Shepherd, Peter Gardiner, Tony Costa, Tracy Dods, Wendy Sharpe.

For more information – www.nag.org.au/Exhibitions/Future/KILGOUR-PRIZE-2020

ABOUT THE KILGOUR PRIZE

Jack Noel Kilgour (1900–1987) was an Australian artist well-known for his academic approach to landscape and portrait painting. In 1987 Kilgour bequeathed funds for the creation of a major figurative and portrait art competition to be run in perpetuity. As one of Australia’s major art prizes, Newcastle Art Gallery is proud to be the home of the KILGOUR PRIZE.

More information: https://www.nag.org.au/Kilgour-Prize

Newcastle football fans set for a win from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup action

City of Newcastle welcomes today’s announcement of the successful joint bid from Australia and New Zealand to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) and New Zealand Football (NZF) have together made history as the first co-Confederation to host a FIFA Women’s World Cup. It will also be the first FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in the southern hemisphere.

McDonald Jones Stadium is expected to be a match venue, with Newcastle forming part of Australia’s bid, bringing thousands of visitors to the city.

Newcastle has also been suggested to play host to some of the visiting teams, based on providing an attractive location for teams to base themselves to stay and train during their world cup campaign.

Women-s-World-Cup-(1).jpgEmerging Jets Squad players Charli Vogtmann, Kalani Dinnery, Annika Driscoll and Rose Harvey with Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the vote had Australian – and indeed Novocastrian – football fans cheering.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Australia to showcase the Matildas’ and Newcastle Jets W-League talent on home turf and strengthen ties with our neighbours across the ditch while also unlocking economic benefits and driving positive social impacts for women and girls,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Australia staged the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, which included Newcastle hosting two group stage matches, a semi-final and third place playoff at McDonald Jones Stadium, reinforcing Newcastle’s reputation for hosting world-class sporting tournaments.

“Even more recently, Newcastle hosted the Matildas in the Olympic qualifier against Vietnam at McDonald Jones Stadium on 6 March  in their qualification to the upcoming Olympics.

“Winning the 2023 Women’s World Cup bid reaffirms Australia’s ability to attract top-tier sporting codes and I can’t wait to join fans in the stands here in Newcastle.”

The Australian-New Zealand bid was rated the most technically proficient in FIFA’s report, ahead of Japan and Colombia.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held from 10 July to 20 August 2023.