Man arrested accused of stealing Frances McDormand's Best Actress Oscar

A man was arrested and is accused of stealing Frances McDormand's Oscars trophy after the Academy Awards yesterday, Los Angeles police said.

Terry Bryant, 47, was arrested on suspicion of felony grand theft, said Officer Rosario Herrera, a police spokeswoman.

"After some brief time apart, Frances and her Oscar were happily reunited. They celebrated the reunion with a double cheeseburger from In-N-Out Burger," McDormand's publicist, Simon Halls, told The Associated Press.

McDormand received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

The Oscar statuette was allegedly stolen during the Governors Ball after party, authorities said. Bryant had a ticket for the event, Herrera said.

The two-time Oscar winner, who swept trophies at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Independent Spirit and BAFTA ceremonies, beat out Sally Hawkins of "The Shape of Water," Margot Robbie of "I, Tonya," Saoirse Ronan of "Lady Bird," and 21-time nominee Streep of "The Post" at Sunday's Oscars.

In "Three Billboards," McDormand played Mildred Hayes, a hardened woman seeking justice for her daughter's murder in the crime drama.

Her first Oscar came for the 1996 film "Fargo," directed by her husband Joel Coen and his brother Ethan.

Bryant was being held on $20,000 bail Monday morning, police said.

A telephone number for Bryant couldn't immediately be located and it wasn't clear if had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

A video that posted live on a Facebook page that appeared to belong to Bryant showed him kissing and flaunting a statuette during the Governor's Ball.

"Look it, baby. My team got this tonight. This is mine," he said, turning the trophy toward the camera, before kissing it on the head.

As he spun around in a circle, Bryant solicited congratulations from those around him.

"Who wants to wish me congratulations?" he asked fellow revelers who were walking by, before posing for several selfies.

"You know what, I can't believe I got this."

No one named Terry Bryant won an Oscar on Sunday.



Auckland lawyer sentenced for helping human trafficker

They were promised high wages, free food and accommodation, but instead they were paid just a fraction of what they were promised and forced to live in squalid, cramped conditions.

Today, the lawyer who helped a human trafficker fool Immigration New Zealand was sentenced to 10 months home detention with six months post release conditions and $1575 in reparations to the workers.

In 2014, Mohammed Idris Hanif provided legal services to Faroz Ali, who was found guilty of human trafficking in 2016 - the first conviction of its kind in New Zealand.

Hanif gave false and misleading visitor visa applications on behalf of the Fijian workers, so that the workers Ali had trafficked into New Zealand could continue working in his gib-fixing business.

Hanif provided applications on five separate occasions that stated the Fijian workers were genuine tourists, who were in New Zealand to sight-see and visit friends and family, which was false.

Hanif was used to appearing at the lawyers' benches of Manukau District Court but today he was in the dock.

He maintains his innocence and applied for a discharge without conviction, saying the charges were trivial.

The application was opposed by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment lawyer Shona Carr said Hanif provided false information to authorities on who and who should not be allowed in New Zealand.

She said the vicitms of the offending - poor workers from Fiji - had spent so much on getting to New Zealand that they could not pull out of the scam because they had to try and recover the money they had borrowed from friends and relatives.

"The victims were embarrassed and ashamed and left unable to repay their debt."

She said it would not be appropriate to give Hanif a discharge without conviction when he maintained his innocence.

Judge Gregory Hikaka said the matter was serious as it involved misleading Government officials who relied on lawyers to be honest.

The judge said the workers spent their time in New Zealand in squalid conditions and returned to Fiji in debt to friends and family.

Hanif has been a lawyer since 1987 but now his practising certificate has expired but the Law Society are aware of the charges and he still faces disciplinary action.

He's also been ordered to pay $1575 dollars in reparation to the workers.

Ali, the man who promised the migrants everything, only to exploit them was found guilty of bringing in vulnerable Fijian workers and exploiting them in 2016.

Justice Heath sentenced Ali to nine-and-a-half years in prison for 57 charges, including people trafficking, which he described as an "abhorrent" crime.

Ali headed an organisation that ran advertisements in a Fijian newspaper, promising people orchard and construction work in New Zealand at seven or eight times their pay.

They were charged exorbitant fees to travel to New Zealand, but when they arrived they were forced to sleep on the floor and had rent and food costs deducted from their pay.

Suliana Vetanivula was one of the workers, and her victim impact statement was read by Crown prosecutor Luke Clancy at Ali's sentencing.

"When I go out I feel ashamed to see the people I owe in my village. When I came to them for help, they were ready to help me and in return I didn't do my part. When I returned to the village I felt like I was not wanted anymore, like everybody sees me as a failure.

"It was like I stole money from them because they know that whoever goes to Australia or New Zealand for work, they come back with a lot of money."

Mr Clancy said Ali had expressed no remorse whatsoever and owed the workers $128,000 in fees and outstanding wages. He said that figure did not include the profit Ali made from their labour.

Ali's lawyer, Peter Broad, said his client had no other money available and was facing bankruptcy after being pursued by the Inland Revenue Department for a $126,000 tax bill.

Justice Heath said some of the workers were sent to the Bay of Plenty for orchard work, where the accommodation was shamefully poor.

"Three married women and one married man were taken to a house near Pyes Pa and told they would be staying in the basement with other people. There was no bedding to speak of and only one mattress was available. This in July 2014, in the midst of a New Zealand winter. That must have been extremely cold for people travelling from the tropical warmth of Fiji."

In sentencing Ali, the judge ordered him to pay reparation of $28,000 to refund the fees the workers paid.

"People trafficking is an abhorrent crime. It is a crime against human dignity. It undermines the respect that all of us should have for the human rights and the autonomy of individual people. Such conduct degrades human life. It is a crime that should be condemned in the strongest possible terms."

By Edward Gay

rnz.co.nz

Mohammed Idris Hanif
Mohammed Idris Hanif Source: rnz.co.nz

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Detector dogs in prisons sniff out nearly one synthetic cannabis sample a week

A small group of specially trained detector dogs are sniffing out synthetic drugs in New Zealand’s prisons. 

Five dogs have been in action since March, searching for ever-changing psychoactive substances smuggled into prisons. 

Since then, the dogs have retrieved 33 samples of synthetic cannabis, nearly one a week. But that's nowhere near as high as other drugs that are found. 

But the Ministry of Corrections said it's front-footing potential prison deaths from synthetics after inmate fatalities overseas.

"It is on our streets, it is affecting our communities, so as a team the dog handlers felt that they wanted to front foot this emerging threat," Manager Specialist Search Jay Mills told 1 NEWS.

"We have a duty of care to our prisoners, our staff and our prisoners ensuring we keep our site safe."

It’s something Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis supports.

"We know that psychoactive substances are out in the streets, in our communities and we would be naive to think people aren't trying to get them into our prisons," Mr Davis said. 

Corrections is working with the Ministry of Health, and Environmental Science and Research (ESR) to improve the scope of ingredients they can detect. 

"NPS (New Psychoactive Substances) is extremely difficult to keep on top of, in terms of the chemical makeup of the drug," Mr Mills said. 

It’s a tough job for both the dog, and trainers.

"We match it up to what we're searching for currently and if we see any differences or irregularities with ingredients it means we can go back to our training room and load our dogs with that odour. So we are constantly staying ahead of what's out there today," dog trainer Ricky Trevithick said. 

Training for the five dogs will be on-going, with ingredients constantly changing and new batches constantly coming onto the drug market.

1 NEWS reporter Emily Cooper has the exclusive details. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Accused Kiwi conman's partner arrested in Australia two years after he's nabbed

The partner of a New Zealand man who was deported from Australia over two years ago after the couple arrived in Sydney on a stolen yacht has herself now been arrested in Australia on multiple charges including supplying ecstasy to a 15-year-old girl and indecently assaulting her.

Christchurch Police have told TVNZ tonight that Australian Federal Police, acting on New Zealand-endorsed extradition warrants, arrested Simone Smith, AKA Simone Wright, in New South Wales on Tuesday this week.

She was arrested on charges of supplying a girl aged 15 with the class B drug ecstasy, the indecent assault of the same girl, multiple charges of fraud and theft of a yacht, Detective Craig Farrant of Christchurch Police said. 

She has been remanded in custody to reappear in court in Australia on September 28.  

Her partner, Paul James Bennett, was arrested in Australia when the couple arrived in Sydney on a stolen yacht from New Zealand.

Bennett was deported back to New Zealand on May 13, 2016. He was taken into custody at Christchurch Airport and taken to court next day on 48 charges stretching back to 2008.  

These were 28 charges of dishonestly using documents or obtaining funds, 10 of forgery, five of theft, three of supplying a girl aged 15 with the class B drug ecstasy, and two of indecently assaulting the same girl. 

The total involved in the alleged dishonesty offending is $567,000 and Bennett's case is currently proceeding before the court.

Bennett had been on the run until being arrested aboard a yacht moored on the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney in February 2016 .

The yacht had been stolen from the Bay of Islands the previous year.

Simone Wright and Paul James Bennett..


Melbourne dad kills son after row over burnt omelette, court hears

Twenty minutes after an argument with his son about a burnt omelette, Peter John Smith assembled his shotgun, walked calmly inside and fired two fatal rounds into his son's chest.

Andrew Smith was 30 years old, a father of two little boys and several weeks into his latest attempt at getting off drugs.

He'd spent the afternoon having a few drinks in the backyard of his family's suburban Melbourne home with mum Kathleen and later his dad, and had gone inside with her to cook omelettes for tea.

It was just a week before Christmas last year.

In a Supreme Court plea hearing today, crown prosecutor Mark Rochford QC said Andrew went outside and tossed a burnt omelette on the ground, upsetting Smith who thought their dog might get sick.

"F*** the dogs, f*** you. You'll be dead in a year," he told his father, who had recently had bowel cancer surgery.

Smith tried to punch his son, missed and the pair wrestled on the ground for a moment before Andrew went inside to bed.

Smith sat down for dinner with his wife, put on his dressing gown and went to the caravan parked in their driveway.

From under the bed he retrieved a shotgun, assembled it, put ammunition inside and walked back to the house.

He passed his wife on the way, telling her "I'm going to kill the c*** and kill myself".

She didn't think he was serious and replied, "yeah right, of course you are".

He continued inside, opened his son's bedroom door, turned on the light and fired two shots through his son's chest. Both caused fatal injuries.

Smith dismantled the gun, left it in the living room and went outside to tell his wife to call the police.

He later told investigators: "I think I might have lost it a bit".

Smith, who is in his early 70s, pleaded guilty to murder in July. He also admitted possessing unregistered rifles and a shotgun.

His lawyer Richard Edney said Smith was suffering from undiagnosed and untreated depression.

He said his son Andrew had been in a repetitive cycle of using ice, synthetic marijuana and abstinence.

The Smiths had paid between $30,000 and $40,000 for him to attend rehab, while also supporting him at home.

Mr Edney said Smith told police he had "just had enough over the years", leading Justice Andrew Tinney to suggest the egg argument may have been the last straw.

"I couldn't put up with any more. Just making everyone miserable," Smith told police.

Justice Tinney was unconvinced depression played a role in Smith's actions. He also said it did not appear to be a case of someone snapping and flying off the handle.

"Although incredibly unexpected and extreme behaviour, it was not some momentary loss of judgment," he said.

He said trying to explain Mr Smith's actions that night may be impossible.

Smith will be sentenced at a later date.

Loading bullets into a shotgun
Loading bullets into a shotgun. Source: Breakfast