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Archive for March, 2019

Police overhaul worries MP

Wednesday, 13 March, 2019

CONCERNED: Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen has criticised a mooted police restructure.A GOVERNMENT MP has raised fears about a loss of local decision-making in the Upper Hunter under mooted changes as part of a police restructure.
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As part of the restructure, top brass are considering moving boundaries and centralising management, with Hunter Valley, Port Stephens and Central Hunter local area commands set to be affected.

Among the proposals which the Newcastle Heraldunderstands is under consideration includes splitting the Hunter Valley command in two, with Scone and surrounds to be absorbed by the Tamworth-based Oxley command. The other half wouldbe taken in by the Maitland-based Central Hunter.

The move is seen as a mechanism to boost front line police.

However, the restructure has been criticised by Upper Hunter Nationals MP Michael Johnsen, who said “we need a senior officer, who is experienced,based in Muswellbrook.”

“There is a restructuringgoing on –and the whole reason for the reshuffle is to get more coppers in the bush,” Mr Johnsen told Fairfax Media.

“My only issue there is, looking at the LAC structure, the Hunter Valley LACneeds to be continued to be based in the Upper Hunter.

“Decisions need to be made here in the Upper Hunter.”

Hunter Valley police were briefed about the potential changes this week.

And the Upper Hunter MP also launched a survey about the restructure on his website.

However, Northern Region Commander Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell said a decision was yet to be made.

“Part of the NSW Police Force re-engineering process includes looking at opportunities to consolidate local area commands,” he said.

“This does not mean disbanded. Hunter Valley is a command that is being considered for consolidation. As part of any process, the Deputy Commissioner and myself are committed to ensuring appropriate consultation occurs with police and local communities.”

Waratahs sign Wallabies lock Simmons on two-year deal

Wednesday, 13 March, 2019

The curious tale of Queensland Reds discard Rob Simmons has entered a new chapter with the Wallabies lock joining the NSW Waratahs on a two-year deal.
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Axed by the Reds in June after nine years of service, Simmons was recalled to the Australian side for the last two Bledisloe Cup Tests against New Zealand and started in Saturday’s heart-breaking six-point loss to the All Blacks.

Yet his Super Rugby career had hung in limbo until Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson asked him to help mentor a young NSW forward pack as it looks to move past a disastrous 2017 campaign.

Simmons’ contract with the Waratahs sees him through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, which he is desperate to be a part of with the Wallabies.

“It’s not what people would script, it’s part of sport I suppose, you ride those rollercoasters,” Simmons said upon reflection of his last few months.

“I wanted to get this contract done and then move forward and forget about, I suppose, the debacle that’s been earlier in the year.

“It is what it is, whatever happened has happened and we all move on from that.

“The best way to play for Australia is to be here and be a part of the way the season’s run. That’s the best way to do it, I know it is possible to go overseas and that would’ve been probably an easier option for me.

“They [the Waratahs] were looking for an experienced lock, they had a few young guys coming here. It was something that I was interested in.

“It’s quite a good young group here and they seem to be all hungry for success, and to turn last year’s results around.”

Gibson was keen to rebuild his scrum after the departure of Dean Mumm (retirement) and Will Skelton (England), and said Simmons fit the bill.

“With signing Rob we’re getting that intellectual property and leader that we need in that tight-five area,” Gibson said.

“Losing Dean Mumm and Will Skelton, it’s a big loss to the team.

“The thing that really impressed me about Rob is that he’s got a real purpose. He knows he wants to go to the World Cup, he wants to do well, he’s coming to the Waratahs with a real purpose and that’s what appealed most.

“We want Rob to be number one there. Part of his recruitment is around that development.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

McEnroe: ‘Kyrgios will be finished in under five years’

Wednesday, 13 March, 2019

John McEnroe claims Nick Kyrgios will be “finished in under five years” after the Canberra firebrand’s rollercoaster career continued with a shock first round exit at the US Open.
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Kyrgios claimed he “is not dedicated to the game at all” and probably never would be after completing a “diabolical” grand slam season with a dramatic defeat.

It’s a stunning twist with the fiery McEnroe set to team up with the controversial Kyrgios at the inaugural Laver Cup in September.

Kyrgios was called into Team World by captain McEnroe as an injury replacement for Milos Raonic, bringing together two of tennis’ most famed tempers.

Kyrgios complained of a “dead” shoulder during his 6-3 1-6 6-4 6-1 US Open loss to fellow Australian John Millman.

The 22-year-old says he’ll never be the guy dedicated to doing all the one-percenters and McEnroe says “Nick Kyrgios will be finished in under five years if this carries on”.

After winning an unprecedented 20 from 20 matches against lower-ranked or unseeded rivals at grand slams, Kyrgios has since suffered upset losses at five straight majors.

The world No.17 enjoyed one of his best weeks a fortnight ago when he reached his first Masters 1000 final in Cincinnati.

The US Open was set to be his big chance to go deep in a major tournament with some of the game’s biggest names missing through injury.

But Kyrgios bowed out early and he admits even he is not surprised.

“I have had a diabolical year at these slams. It doesn’t surprise me,” Kyrgios said.

“It’s just the story of my career, really. I will have good weeks; I’ll have bad weeks. It’s just a roller-coaster.”

It’s an ugly turn of events after his performance at the Cincinnati Masters had plenty of people, including former coach Todd Woodbridge, thinking Kyrgios had turned a corner.

Kyrgios made his first Masters final and having three of last year’s US Open semi-finalists ruled out made this year’s tournament a massive chance for him to make a statement.

But now he’s got little time to rue the disappointing early exit with Australia set to battle it out with Belgium in the Davis Cup semi-finals in September.

Kyrgios admits he isn’t sure if he will continue working with Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean beyond the Open.

“I don’t know, honestly. I’m not good enough for him,” Kyrgios said.

“He’s very dedicated. He’s an unbelievable coach. He probably deserves a player that is probably more dedicated to the game than I am. He deserves a better athlete than me.

“I’m not dedicated to the game at all.

“He’s helped me a lot, especially with the training, in training sessions, but there are players out there that are more dedicated, that want to get better, that strive to get better every day, [do the] the one-percenters. I’m not that guy.”

The US Open defeat continues Kyrgios’ run of outs at the tournament, with McEnroe becoming a repeat offender of criticising the youngster at the major event.

McEnroe teed off on Kyrgios when he withdrew from the US Open last year because of injury, saying: “Nick Kyrgios, if you don’t want to be a professional tennis player, do something else.”

He threw another uppercut at the Australian Open earlier this year, adding: “It’s OK to show your emotions … but when [Kyrgios] goes through those periods when he’s not competing it’s just a black eye for the sport. And it’s a black eye for him.”

Kyrgios will start his Laver Cup campaign against Marin Cilic at the three-day tournament which pits the best of Europe against Team World.

with AAP

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Media heir Ryan Stokes sells bachelor pad he bought when he was 24

Wednesday, 13 March, 2019

Media scion Ryan Stokes cashed in on his Walsh Bay bachelor pad on Thursday morning, securing close to $7.8 million.
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Stokes, who was appointed chief executive of Seven Group two years ago, bought the three-bedroom spread atop the Pier Apartments development as a first-home buyer in 2000 for $2.95 million.

He extensively renovated the two-storey apartment in recent years with American oak flooring, a third-bedroom converted into a study and Ecosmart fireplaces to be regarded by some locals as one of the best offerings on the Pier.

He returned it to the market earlier this year with initial hopes of $9 million before launching a full marketing campaign with Michael Coombs, of McGrath Estate Agents, and Richard Shalhoub, of Sotheby’s International, with a most recent guide of $7.8 million.

Neither Coombs or Shalhoub would comment for this story, but their online ads were withdrawn on Thursday and a source tipped a result at close to the asking price.

Stokes bought a second apartment next in 2010 for $4.8 million amid reports he planned to amalgamate it with his bachelor pad, but he sold it two years later for $5.2 million.

Stokes and his new wife Claire are set to move to Darling Point where they bought the recently renovated Federation property Rilworth earlier this year as their matrimonial home. Their new home is set around the corner from the waterfront trophy home Glanworth long owned by his billionaire Seven West executive chairman father Kerry Stokes.

The couple married last December at Sydney’s historic Garden Island naval base, surrounded by 200 family and friends.

The protracted settlement on their Darling Point purchase means the newlyweds are not expected to take the keys until later this year, presumably about the same time they settle on the sale of the Walsh Bay apartment.

Stokes also heads up the group’s WesTrac heavy machinery business in China that was sold off last week for $540 million.

Related: Ryan Stokes buys $16m Darling Point home

Related: Ryan Stokes lists Walsh Bay penthouse

Related: Licence plate No. 4 sold for $2.45m

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Woodlands boy denied photos

Wednesday, 13 March, 2019

Request: Hunter man Stephen Stackman at his home. A judge in 2015 found Mr Stackman and his former wife not guilty of sexually abusing three boys at Woodlands boys’ home, West Wallsend, in the 1970s. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.A HUNTER man found not guilty of sexually assaulting three young boys during holiday breaks from a West Wallsend boys’ home in the 1970s has refused a man’s requests for childhood photos from the boys’ home era.
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“He’s not getting them. Not after what he’s put me through,” said Stephen Stackman, who was found not guilty in 2015 of 11 offences against the boys from the United Protestant Association’s Woodlands boys’ home, including buggery. His former wife Margaret Hartnell was also found not guilty of the offences.

A Newcastle District Court judge on August 14 lifted non-publication orders that prevented their names from being published, after an application by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions following nearly two years of requests by one of the former Woodlands boys who alleged he was sexually abused.

Mr Stackman confirmed he had childhood photos of the man who pushed for the suppression orders to be lifted. Mr Stackman said his solicitor relayed the man’s requests for the photos, which he rejected.

The former Woodlands boy’s wife said he had one photo from his childhood, taken at Woodlands.

“He’s about eight years old and he’s up against a wall, obviously upset. We have nothing else. We don’t have a photo of him smiling as a child,” she said. The former Woodlands boy and his wife cannot be identified.

The trial heard photos were taken in 1978 when Mr Stackman and his former wife offered to take Woodlands boys for the Christmas break, and showed Stackman family gatherings at Gloucester and West Wallsend.

NSW District Court Acting Judge Peter Garling found Mr Stackman and MsHartnell not guilty in a judgment where he noted there was “no doubt these were vulnerable children with no family support and were easy targets”.

Legacy: Boys from Woodlands boys’ home in the 1970s.

“I have to say when I consider all these matters there is a strong suspicion that the accused committed each of these offences,” Judge Garling said, before noting that “strong suspicion”was not “beyond reasonable doubt”.

He was “impressed with the boys’ evidence” and there was “no substantial challenge to what they said in those statements and their evidence as to the sexual acts”, which were “of an unusual type” because they allegedly involved MrStackman and his former wife.

“The behaviour of which the boys gave evidence was of an unusual sexual behaviour, that is, both husband and wife acting together to abuse the boys. They were acting so as each of the accused were obtaining sexual pleasure. That is not a simple version as we often hear in this court. This is far more complex and unusual. Yet the boys gave evidence of a similar nature. There was no evidence that they had got together to tell a similar story. Each, as I understand the evidence, independently gave their versions with most unusual facts, and they are not easy versions to give,” Judge Garling said.

He also noted some evidence by Ms Hartnell was “most unimpressive and troubled me”, and questioned why she visitedone of the former Woodlands boys after 20 years “to see if he was also going to complain”, following child sex complaints by two other boys.

“It could be argued that she did that because she knew he had been sexually assaulted,” Judge Garling said.

He found Mr Stackman and his former wife not guilty after noting that “the most important matter to consider is delay in complaint and any forensic disadvantage to the accused”.

“The delay is very extensive.. of about 24 or 26 years,” Judge Garling said.

“During that time the accused had no opportunity to collect evidence which may have assisted in their defence. If the complainants had drawn it to their attention, say, within five years, it would have allowed them to look for evidence which may have provided a complete defence, or at least evidence which would have thrown doubt on the boys’ evidence,” he said.

At his home on Wednesday Mr Stackman said he and his former wife took Woodlands boys camping and on outings to give them a break from the home over the summer holidays.

“We accepted them as family,” he said.

The former Woodlands boy and his wife who pressed for the lifting of the non-publication order said they were devastated at the trial’s outcome, but encouraged all victims of child sexual abuse to report allegations to police.

“With everything we’ve been through I would still encourage people to come forward. We would like to thank Lake Macquarie detectives at Belmont, and particularly Detective Sandy who took our statements because they supported us the whole way through,” the former Woodlands boy and his wife said.

“We wanted the non-publication order lifted because we have an open system of justice in Australia. The judge several weeks ago accepted that the order should be lifted.”