British tourist pleads not guilty to king-hit on Australian Sevens veteran - 'He hit me before I hit him'

A British tourist who allegedly punched an Australian rugby union player told emergency services there had been an argument but denied flooring the footballer with a king-hit, a Sydney court has heard.

Sam Oliver, 23, has pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and reckless grievous bodily harm against rugby sevens veteran James Stannard, 35, outside a kebab shop in Coogee in the early hours of March 30.

Then-Australian rugby sevens coach Andrew Friend was being farewelled that night at a Rugby Australia function before he and some players moved to the Coogee Bay Hotel.

Security removed all patrons onto the street at 3am including Oliver and Stannard.

"He denied the king-hit, saying that there was a fight, but denied the king- hit," responding NSW Ambulance officer Acacia Vormister testified in Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday, adding that Oliver himself had "very recent bruising" and blood on his face.

Oliver's lawyer Chris Watson has argued his client was hit first and acted in self-defence.

Mr Watson has asked for the matter to be resolved soon as "there are some issues" in relation to Oliver's status in Australia beyond September 21.

The court was played video taken from a police body-worn camera on Constable Maria Gregory, who interviewed the British national shortly after the alleged Good Friday assault.

In the footage, Oliver says he got into an argument with men he didn't know about "Pommies in general" and "it got a bit nasty".

Const Gregory asks: "What do you mean by they were getting aggressive?" Oliver replied: "He hit me before I hit him ... look at my eye".

"I hit him back and then I ran away," the then-22-year-old says in the footage.

Prosecutor Burton Ko argues "there was only one hit" during the altercation.

Stannard, who had been captain of the national sevens team, missed the 2018 Commonwealth Games due to his head injuries and later retired.

The hearing continues before magistrate Richard Funston.

James Stannard of Australia during the HSBC Sydney Rugby Sevens Quarter Final between New Zealand  and Australia at Allianz Stadium, Sydney,  Sunday 28th January 2018. Copyright Photo: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz
James Stannard of Australia in action against New Zealand during the quarter final of the Sydney Sevens tournament at Allianz Stadium. Source: Photosport



Average Joe to Olympian: How NZR's new initiative paves a path for sevens triallists to Tokyo Games

New Zealand Rugby says the new initiative it has launched today could see some undiscovered Kiwi talent head to the Tokyo Olympics as part of the World Champion All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens squads.

The Ignite Sevens was announced today which will see New Zealanders under the age of 23 able to trial for spots in the two sides.

NZR head of high performance Mike Anthony says the programme was designed to "encourage talented athletes from all sporting codes, regardless of rugby experience, to come forward and have a go at sevens".

"Our national Sevens teams compete at the highest level on the world stage and we want to be sure we are casting the net as wide as possible and tapping into the huge reservoir of athletic talent that exists across New Zealand."

Coming from a touch and hockey background Grace Steinmetz admits she is still getting used to contact. Source: 1 NEWS

People registered their interest earlier this year before NZR's high performance sevens coaches and trainers selected 96 players (48 men and 48 women) who will assemble in Auckland from 21 November to 24 November for a training camp and tournament.

The selected athletes will have their strength, speed, skill and agility measured before three days of training to start the camp.

Then, on the final day, players will be divided into four teams to play against each other in the inaugural Ignite7 tournament with three men and women selected by scouts to attend national development camps next year.

"The selected six players will be training alongside the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens in the New Year," Anthony said.

"It’s a massive opportunity that will give these players access to the full benefits of NZR’s high performance system and it effectively opens the door for selection into our two national Sevens teams."

After that, the chosen six can become full-fledged Sevens players in time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan much like how Black Ferns Sevens players Michaela Blyde and Portia Woodman did in 2016 after a similar programme.

High performance manager Tony Philp says the Ignite 7s could be a big break for untapped Kiwi talent. Source: 1 NEWS


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Over 20 vehicles vandalised overnight in suburb on Auckland's North Shore

More than 20 vehicles have been damaged overnight in an area on Auckland's, North Shore.

Police say a number of vehicles' tyres have been vandalised in Birkdale's, Tiri Tiri Road and Woodhams Street area.

Anyone who has had their car damaged is urged to report it to police if they haven't already done so.

Police are making area enquiries and conducting scene and forensic examinations and are interested to hear from anyone who may have information.


John Healy says people drastically underestimate the risks of leaving kids or pets in their car.
Source: 1 NEWS

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Strawberry sabotage prompts harsh new penalties in Australia

Pranksters who post food contamination hoaxes on social media could soon face 10 years behind bars in Australia, as the federal government announces harsh new criminal penalties in response to the strawberry needle crisis.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the "idiot" who first sabotaged Queensland strawberries, setting off a distressing series of events, had risked the livelihoods of farmers and put fear in the hearts of parents across the country.

"This is a shocking and cowardly thing for this individual and others who have jumped onto the bandwagon here to have engaged in," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra today.

Anyone found guilty of contaminating food could soon face a maximum of 15 years in prison, up from 10 years.

The threshold for the harsh penalties will also be lowered from an intention to cause anxiety or harm, to simply engaging in a reckless act.

The new criminal penalties are on par with child pornography and terror financing offences.

Additionally, anyone who piggy-backs off such a crisis by engaging in a reckless hoax would also face 10 years behind bars.

The offence would extend to people who provide false reports or make jokes in poor taste on Facebook.

"It's not a joke, it's not funny, you are putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk and you are scaring children, you're a coward and you're a grub." Mr Morrison said.

"If you do that sort of thing in this country, we will come after you and we will throw the book at you."

Mr Morrison wants the laws to pass Parliament by the time it rises on Thursday evening.

"I don't care if you've got a gripe with a company, I don't care whether you've got a gripe with your fellow worker, this is a very serious thing," he said.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the sanctions would not be applied retrospectively to those responsible for the existing strawberry saga.

"But the reason we are doing this so quickly is ... this sends a massive deterrence message to anyone out there who would further cripple this industry."

Canberra is cracking down in response to the needle contamination crisis. Source: 1 NEWS


'Some links to the Mongrel Mob' – seven charged after BOP police sting sees guns, Hilux vehicles, $21k cash, drugs seized

Police have arrested and charged seven people after executing a number of search warrants in the eastern Bay of Plenty as part of Operation Notus II.

Speaking to media today Senior Sergeant Richard Miller said the operation had "some links to the Mongrel Mob".

Operation Notus II is the second phase of a long-running investigation, led by the National Organised Crime Group, into organised crime and the supply and supplying of methamphetamine and cannabis in the eastern Bay of Plenty region.

Acting Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander, Senior Sergeant Richard Miller briefed media today. Source: 1 NEWS

Search warrants were conducted this morning in properties in Kawerau, Whakatāne and Te Teko.

The seven are facing a number of charges, including possession for supply, and supplying, methamphetamine and cannabis, as well as firearms-related offending.

They will appear in Whakatāne District Court this afternoon.

Along with methamphetamine and cannabis, 26 firearms and more than $21,000 in cash has been seized.

Three stolen Toyota Hilux utes were recovered from one address in Kawerau, along with a number of power tools.

A stolen Toyota Hilux Surf and trailer were recovered from another address.

Operation Notus, launched in October 2017, revealed the Kawerau Mongrel Mob's involvement in the commercial distribution of meth and cannabis to the community.

As a result of the investigation, 48 people were arrested and almost $3 million in assets were frozen in March 2018.

Acting Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander, Senior Sergeant Richard Miller, said, "This was a major disruption to organised crime and methamphetamine supply in EBOP".

Guns seized during Operation Notus II in the Eastern Bay of Plenty
Guns seized during Operation Notus II in the Eastern Bay of Plenty Source: NZ Police