Man charged after Aussie cop struck by car during group motorbike ride for police who died in the line of duty

A 21-year-old man is in custody after a police officer in the Australian state of Victoria was hit by a car and killed while taking part in a group ride to commemorate police who died in the line of duty.

Victoria Police say the car was travelling along the Princes Highway near Orbost in the state's east on Friday afternoon when it veered onto the opposite side of the road and struck the policeman's bike. He died at the scene.

The officer, who the Herald Sun have named as Detective Senior Sergeant Vic Kostiuk, was among 300 riders in the Wall to Wall Ride who set out from the Victoria Police Memorial in St Kilda Road, Melbourne, headed for Merimbula and then on to Canberra on Saturday.

A Botanic Ridge man is in custody charged with one count of culpable driving, police said.

He is due to appear at Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court on Monday.

Vic Kostiuk.
Vic Kostiuk. Source: Supplied



Australian doctor admits to helping suffering patient die

An Australian doctor has admitted to helping one of her suffering patients to die in an exclusive interview with Australia's 60 minutes.

West Australian based GP Alida Lancee is putting her reputation and freedom on the line by identifying one patient who requested her help in assisted dying.

This admission will most likely spark a police investigation and a possible murder charge.

"I’m not wimping out now. I’m going to take this all the way," Dr Lancee told 60 Minutes. "Deal with me as you see fit."

A long-time campaigner for euthanasia, Dr Lancee was investigated by police in 2016 over the death of one of her patients.

They found that her patient died of natural causes and there was no wrongdoing.

What police didn't realise is they were investigating the wrong patient.

Now, Dr Lancee wants to set the record straight in a bid to change Australia's euthanasia laws.

"Right now, behind closed doors in Australia, hundreds of people are begging for help," says Dr Lancee.

"This is no minor issue. This is not something that you can say, 'oh it's not happening because I can't see it'.

"If this requires a challenge in the court system, I have medical opinions who will back me up."

A police investigation has seen Dr Lancee face very public scrutiny being labelled "Dr Death", but 60 Minutes reveals, she is not without support.

Two other Australian doctors have come forward to 60 Minutes and have admitted to assisting terminally ill patients end their life.

Dr Frank Kotai says he has assisted in half a dozen deaths and Dr Rodney Syme admits to a staggering 300.

This admission could land them both in jail, but it is one they say is worth the risk if it results in their patients having control over the end of their lives.

"We recognise her courage and her enthusiasm," Dr Kotai says. "(Dr Lancee is) courageous enough to go out there in the public space.

"Not many doctors are willing to do it, and so she’s quite unique."

In June 2019 new laws will make Victoria the only state in Australia where it is legal for doctors to assist terminal patients who seek their help to end their lives.

Dr Lancee, Dr Kotai and Dr Syme are hopeful that by airing their stories, Australians will support them in their campaign to allowing for an end of life choice.

Mr Seymour, author of the End of Life Choice Bill, debated the pros and cons with Dr Peter Thirkell of the Care Alliance, which opposes euthanasia.
Source: 1 NEWS


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Woman accusing US Supreme Court nominee of a decades-old sexual assault to testify

The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a decades-old sexual assault has accepted a Senate committee's request to tell her side next week but Christine Blasey Ford wants to resume negotiations over the exact terms of her appearance, her lawyers said Saturday (local time).

It was not immediately clear whether the Republican-run Senate Judiciary Committee would agree to more talks with Ford's team.

Also unclear was when she might come to Capitol Hill and she was offering to speak in a public session or a private one.

The committee wanted her to appear Wednesday, but she prefers her earlier request for Thursday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly.

Her lawyers' letter to the committee's GOP majority was released just at the 2:30 p.m. deadline set by the chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, to respond to the panel's latest offer.

Grassley, R-Iowa, had set a possible Monday vote to decide whether to recommend Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate.

As Republicans were considering their next move in private talks Saturday, they also made it clear they viewed Ford's offer as a way to delay voting on President Donald Trump's pick for the court.

A senior official at the White House said the letter amounted to "an ask to continue 'negotiations' without committing to anything.

It's a clever way to push off the vote Monday without committing to appear Wednesday."The official was not authorised to publicly discuss the Senate negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The White House views Ford's potential testimony with trepidation, nervous that an emotional performance might not just damage Kavanaugh's chances but could further energize female voters to turn out against Republicans in November against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement.

Moreover, the West Wing aides who had urged Trump to remain muted in his response to the accusations worried about how the president might react if she ended up partaking in an hourslong, televised hearing.

In a single tweet Friday, Trump broke his silence to cast doubt on Ford's story in ways Republicans had been carefully trying to avoid.

Trump mused to confidants that the "fake" attacks against his nominee were meant to undermine his presidency, according to a White House official and a Republican close to the White House.

Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss private conversations.

Other Republicans scoffed at Ford's willingness to accept the committee's request to tell her story.

"When?" tweeted the No. 2 GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of the committee.

The lawyers for Ford wrote that she "accepts the Committee's request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh's sexual misconduct next week."

Attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said many aspects of Grassley's latest offer were "fundamentally inconsistent" with the committee's promise of a "fair, impartial investigation."

They said they remained disappointed by the "bullying" that "tainted the process." Yet they remained "hopeful that we can reach agreement on details."

It was unclear whether Grassley would permit more negotiations Saturday, with patience among Republicans is running thin.

The GOP is facing enormous pressure from its base of conservative leaders and voters to swiftly approve Kavanaugh, who would become the second of President Donald Trump's nominees to sit on the nation's highest court, before the Nov. 6 election.

A spokesman for GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, a committee member, tweeted that Ford "agreed to nothing. She rejected the committee's offer to testify Wednesday."

Earlier Saturday amid the latest deadline standoff Vice President Mike Pence called Kavanaugh "a man of integrity with impeccable credentials." He expressed confidence that Republicans "will manage this confirmation properly with the utmost respect for all concerned" and said he expected Kavanaugh to join the high court soon.

Grassley had set a Friday night deadline for the 51-year-old California psychology professor to agree to the committee's latest offer setting terms for her appearance.

Grassley said that if she missed that deadline, he would scrap the hearing and his committee would vote on sending Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate.

Ford's lawyers asked for another day. In a tweet aimed at Kavanaugh shortly before midnight, Grassley said he was giving them additional time.

"She should decide so we can move on. I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It's not my normal approach to b indecisive," Grassley wrote.

Ford's accusations and the standoff over the terms of her appearance have left the appeals court judge's confirmation in jeopardy.  And just seven weeks from an election in which Democrats are hoping to capture control of the House and maybe the Senate, her emergence also has drawn intensified attention to the #MeToo movement's focus on sexual abuse.

Ford says an inebriated Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, muffled her cries and tried removing her clothes when both were teenagers in the 1980s.

Kavanaugh has denied doing this and said he wants to appear before the committee as soon as possible to clear his name.

In backing away from his deadline, Grassley underscored the sensitivity with which Senate Republicans have tried handling Ford.

Moderate female voters will be pivotal in many races in the elections and the #MeToo movement has elevated the political potency of how women alleging abuse are treated.

In requesting another day to decide, Katz called Grassley's original deadline "arbitrary" and said its "sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family."

Earlier Friday, Grassley rejected concessions Ford wanted if she is tell her story publicly before the committee.

Grassley turned down Ford's request that only senators, not attorneys, be allowed to ask questions.

The committee's 11 Republicans - all men - have been seeking an outside female attorney to interrogate Ford, mindful of the election-season impression that could be left by men trying to pick apart a woman's assertion of a sexual attack.

He also rejected her proposal that she testify after Kavanaugh, a position lawyers consider advantageous because it gives them a chance to rebut accusations.

Grassley's stance reflected a desire by Trump and GOP leaders to usher the 53-year-old Kavanaugh onto the high court by the Oct. 1 start of its new session and before the November elections, when Democrats are mounting a robust drive to grab congressional control.

Friday was the latest in a string of tumultuous days for Kavanaugh, whose ascension to the Supreme Court seemed a sure bet until Ford emerged last weekend and provided details of the alleged assault.

Earlier, Trump ended a week of constraint and sarcastically assailed Ford, tweeting that if the episode was "as bad as she says," she or "her loving parents" surely would have reported it to law enforcement.

Trump's searing reproach defied the Senate Republican strategy, and the advice of White House aides, of not disparaging Ford while firmly defending his nominee and the tight timetable for confirming him.

The president's tweet brought blistering rejoinders from Democrats and a mix of silence and sighs of regret from his own party.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who hasn't declared support for Kavanaugh, called the remark "appalling."

Grassley rebuffed other Ford requests, including calling additional witnesses.

Ford wants an appearance by Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford asserts was at the high school party and in the room where the incident occurred.

Grassley consented to other Ford demands, including that she be provided security and that Kavanaugh not be in the hearing room when she testifies.

Ford's request for security comes after her lawyers said she has relocated her family due to death threats.

President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is sworn-in before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, September 4, 2018, to begin his testimony in his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Source: Associated Press


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New Zealand resident involved in people-smuggling to be deported

A Pakistani man involved in a people-smuggling operation in America, who gained residence in New Zealand, is the subject of a fraud investigation and is going to be deported.

But he has been told he can make a fresh application for residence.

In 2005, the stepfather-of-two was caught by a United States border patrol crossing from Canada, driving a van carrying eight Indian nationals, none with visas.

He changed his name and arrived in 2013 to enter into an arranged marriage.

When he applied for residence, the 39-year-old failed to disclose he had been convicted, deported and had used another name.

He had also previously unsuccessfully claimed refugee status in Canada.

When his visa deception was revealed, the former immigration minister, Michael Woodhouse decided he should be deported.

He appealed to the immigration and protection tribunal, which heard about his part in the people-smuggling.

He met an "agent" who offered to get him a legitimate visa for the United States for $US5000 ($NZ7479) and offered to reduce the cost if he agreed to drive a vehicle to the border for him, he told the tribunal.

He was arrested and jailed, meeting his New Zealand resident-wife online once he had been deported back to Pakistan.

His lawyer said he would face severe risks to his safety if he was again deported there, because he is a Shia Muslim.

He suffered threats to his life on his last visit there, she said, and deportation would result in the permanent separation from his family to whom he was a "pillar of support".

The tribunal heard he was the subject of an open fraud investigation by the police in relation to his directorship of a car company. The sum under investigation is said to be substantial.

It ruled he did have exceptional humanitarian circumstances because of his wife and stepson's health issues but it would not be unduly harsh to deport him.

"[His] concealment of his deportation from the United States (bolstered by his concealment of ever having lived there, or in Canada) went to the heart of his residence application," it said, in its written decision.

"The concealment undermined the integrity of New Zealand's immigration system in a serious way.

"He was not the architect of the scheme but more of a 'mule'. It does not, however, alter the fact that he sustained a conviction for a serious, immigration-related offence."

But it lifted a ban on him re-applying for visas.

"While deportation is not unjust or unduly harsh in all the circumstances, the tribunal considers that any adverse effect on [her and her children] ought to be mitigated as far as is possible, given the genuineness of the marriage and the fact that she and her children are innocent parties."

By Gill Bonnett

rnz.co.nz

Generic passport Source: Breakfast


Three tiger sharks now caught, killed in bay where girl, 12, woman were attacked

Three tiger sharks have been killed by the Queensland government after life- threatening attacks on a woman and a girl, but officials say it is impossible to know if they caused the bites.

The girl is Hannah Papps, who lives in Melbourne with her New Zealand parents. Source: 1 NEWS

Hannah Papps, who lives in Melbourne with Kiwi parents, was bitten on her right leg while swimming in Cid Harbour with her father and sister on Thursday, less than 24 hours after Tasmanian Justine Barwick, 46, was bitten on her left thigh while snorkeling in the same area.

Baited hooks dropped into Sawmill Bay by Fisheries Queensland officials on Friday have since caught a two-metre tiger shark, a 2.6-metre tiger shark and a 3.3-metre tiger shark.

The state government insists killing the sharks is in the interest of public safety, even though it unclear whether they were behind the attacks.

The sharks were to be cut open and measured before being dumped at sea.

Both victims remain in hospitals in Brisbane.

Ms Barwick was last known to be in intensive care after 18 hours of reconstructive surgery to her injured right leg.

Meanwhile, the family of Hannah Papps have expressed gratitude for the quick actions of those involved in her rescue.

"We would like to thank everyone who has helped and cared for Hannah, including the police, emergency services and the hospital teams," the girl's family said in a statement on Friday.

"We ask that everyone, including the media, please respect our family's privacy during this very difficult time so we can focus our energies on Hannah's recovery."


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