Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Mother found guilty of daughter's murder

A woman has broken down in the South Australian Supreme Court as a jury unanimously found her guilty of murdering her young daughter.

The death happened at Swan Reach on the River Murray in November 2005.

The jury was told that Tracey Lee Smith fatally bashed her daughter Ti-Aysha because the 21-month-old would not eat her baked beans.

24-year old Smith denied killing Ti-Aysha and tried to pin the blame on her former de facto partner Adam Troy Barty.

After nearly 12 hours of deliberation, the jury rejected Smith's story and found her guilty of murder.

She broke down as she was led from the dock, facing a mandatory life prison term.

Justice Kevin Duggan will hear submissions in July for setting a non-parole term.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

UK/ CCJS says age of criminal responsibility should be raised

The age of criminal responsibility should be raised from 10 to as high as 18, a report says.

The document from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) also suggested children should no longer be sent to prison.

Claiming there was an urgent need to review the approach to "children in trouble", a collection of essays from academics and campaigners said the British age of criminal responsibility is much lower than in countries such as France, Germany, Canada and Russia.

The age at which children can be prosecuted should be raised to 14, 16 or even 18, the authors said.

Rebecca Palmer of the Children and Young People's Unit at the Greater London Authority said in her essay: "The negative perception of young people as 'hoodie-wearing yobs' should be concertedly challenged.

"The age of criminal responsibility should be raised to 18 and Asbos should be abolished. No child should be in prison and alternatives should be sought."

Bob Reitemeier of the Children's Society suggested 14 years should be the minimum.

Criminologist professors Barry Goldson, of Liverpool University, and John Muncie, of the Open University, wrote: "We submit that serious consideration should be given to raising the age of criminal responsibility to 16 or even 18."

The CCJS, which is based at King's College, London, said England and Wales has one of the highest child imprisonment rates in Europe. The report suggested moving responsibility for youth justice from the Home Office to the Department for Education and Skills. Grave crimes by children should be punished by a "residential training order" of up to five years, it added.

CCJS deputy director Enver Solomon said: "We are publishing this because we believe the current age of criminal responsibility is too low and there needs to be an urgent rethink. All options need to be under consideration, and we want to start a debate about what the new age should be. We think the new Ministry of Justice should make it a priority to look again at the age of criminal responsibility."

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

NZ passes anti-smacking law

New Zealand's anti-smacking Bill will become law within weeks after winning overwhelming support in Parliament.

The country joins only a handful of European nations to legislate against the use of unreasonable force in disciplining children.

The parliamentary vote is the culmination of a two-year campaign by Greens Party MP Sue Bradford, who argued New Zealand's appalling record of violence towards children demanded drastic action.

"Every day, there are dreadful injuries inflicted on children," she said.

"People need to realise this is what happens in the name of child discipline."

Under the new law, police will have the discretion to decide what constitutes acceptable discipline and what is assault.

The law change had been strongly opposed by conservative family and church groups, who said it would make criminals of parents.

Opponents held public marches and rallies outside Parliament.

Mainstream church groups and child welfare organisations had strongly supported the change.

Politicians adopted a late compromise that gave police the discretion not to prosecute parents if a smacking incident was considered minor.

Under the previous law, smacking children was classified as an assault but parents could claim a statutory defence of using reasonable force to correct bad behaviour or remove the child from danger.

Members of Parliament were free to vote on the issue according to their conscience but there was near unanimous support for the change, which passed 113 to 7 in the 121-seat Parliament.

Loud applause broke out from the public galleries after the vote.

The Bill only needs the official assent of New Zealand's Governor-General to become law.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Aust: Perth woman acquitted of murdering former partner

A 28 year-old woman subjected to years of domestic violence has been acquitted of murdering her former partner.

Magdalena Dziuba, 28, spent 18 months in custody awaiting trial for wilfully murdering 38 year-old Rhett Greenhill.

He was fatally stabbed during a struggle at their home in the southern Perth suburb of Coogee in November 2005.

A Supreme court jury acquitted Ms Dziuba after accepting she was acting in self defence.

She said she feared for her life and believed she was only moments away from death when the stabbing happened.

Outside the court she said she was too scared to seek a restraining order against Mr Greenhill.

"I knew that wouldn't stop him. He would just come back and get more angry, so I was too afraid," she said.

Ms Dziuba says she hopes her life can now return to normal.

Ms Dziuba's lawyer, Jeremy Scudds says the verdict brings his client's nightmare to an end.

"It's a terrible case where it shows the plight of women who are subjected to domestic violence and it's just regrettable she found herself in a position where she had to defend herself," he said.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Australia: Aborigines comprise 25pc of jail population

A Bureau of Statistics report suggests Indigenous people were last year 13 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to have done time in prison.

The information on Indigenous law and justice finds Aboriginal people are over-represented in prisons and make up a quarter of jailed offenders.

A 2002 survey used in the bureau's report shows the biggest law and justice problem for Indigenous people is witnessing violence.

Other problems include suffering abuse or violent crime, trouble with the police and having a family member in jail.

The survey results show Indigenous people in remote areas are much more likely to face these issues.

Australia: War criminal Howard wants crackdown on school violence?

War criminal prime minister John Howard wants to give more power to teachers and principals to 'crackdown' on school bullying.

But where does he get his credentials? Wars of aggression? Crimes against humanity? Kidnapping and torture? Human Rights violations? What a major problem we have here?

Howard will deliver the second speech in his series called "Australia Rising" today in Sydney, and he says he will outline the government's plans for the education system.

But how are we rising really? Most people would say that Australia has been free falling with crimes against humanity and human rights violations every since Howard came to power.

If leaders don't lead by example then how can they lead young Australians and encourage them not to be aggressive towards each other?

Just like a cigarette smoker telling others they should give it up?

Besides that what has Howard asked for? A crackdown? Now how is a crackdown going to solve the problem of bullying at school?

What about more decent lessons? Conflict Resolution, Communication and a balanced curriculum of Social Skills, Academic Skills, and Technical Skills? That would help fix the problem but a 'crackdown' is just another form of domestic violence perpetrated by an adult.

A crackdown is a judge ordering some form of behaviour and judging people but more social skills are needed. See links.

In his weekly radio address, Howard has flagged school violence as an area that needs greater attention.

"Like all Australians I am very concerned at reports of school violence and disorder," he said.

"Parents would be well served by more information about school discipline, bullying and disruptive behaviour in the classroom."

But it's a pitty we have that coming from a person who knows and has shown no better example in relation to bullying with the war of aggression and the subsequent holocaust in Iraq.

Discipline is not achieved by cracking down but by teaching better lessons that include self awarness, empathy towards others and insight into offending behaviour. Once more Howard couldn't possibly teach those lessons because he himself lacks all of the above. That's why he asked for a 'crackdown'.

Howard should be addressing the International Criminal Court for the destruction of Iraq where he's inherited the over 655,000 dead because of his Coalition of the Killings war of aggression and where he himself has shown no remorse whatsoever for those crimes.

Howard says parents and teachers should be given more information about school bullying.

Does he mean information about 'cracking down'? Well you only get out what you put in Howard and if you put nothing in then don't expect to get anything out!

Howard: "Parents are entitled to expect that their child is safe at school and that teachers are principals have the authority to ensure a strong learning environment," he said.

And parents are also entitled to have their country led by a person who has set some form of example in terms of 'aggression' if that someone is going to tell others what to do?

Mary Bluett, from the Australian Education Union, says Mr Howard is overt stating the problem.

"In fact, our schools are overwhelmingly incredibly safe places," she said.

New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma says the state already provides this extra information to parents.

"It appears to be a case of the prime minister trying to play catch-up after 10 years of neglecting funding for education," he said.

"After 10 years of reducing funding to students and to universities," he said.

Schools need resources, not public disclosure: principals

Primary and secondary school principals say there is a need for more resources to deal with problem students.

Prime Minister John Howard will today unveil a new plan to give parents more information about school discipline, violence and bullying in schools.

But Andrew Blair, president of the Australian Secondary Principals Association, says a policy of public disclosure is a simplistic plan that does not address a chronic lack of funding for schools.

"Schools in Australia are crying out for more support in terms of welfare officers, psychologists to work with these young people who need assistance, that's the real issue," he said.

"We are not in a position to help all young people as we would wish, because simply the resources are not there."

State response
The Northern Territory Education Minister says Mr Howard has raised concerns about violence in schools to distract the public from his flagging popularity.

Paul Henderson says it is a sign of a Prime Minister who is struggling in the polls and lashing out on all sorts of issues.

"We had the federal Education Minister in Darwin and all of the state ministers in Darwin for a meeting of education ministers just three weeks ago and if this was such a huge issue of concern for the Prime Minister, for the Federal Government, I would have thought that they would have raised it at that meeting. It wasn't raised," he said.

New South Wales Education Minister John Della Bosca says Mr Howard's move to play a more interventionist role in state education systems is simply an election stunt.

He says the policy idea shows the Prime Minister is out of touch.

"In his home state in New South Wales, every government school already has a discipline policy and and anti-bullying policy and parents get a report on their operations in the annual report of each school," he said.

"John Howard has suddenly discovered in the shadow of an election the prospect of public education."

Victoria's Education Minister John Lenders says systems are already in place to deal with bullying in Victorian schools.

He says Mr Howard is interfering with the state governments.

"The Prime Minister and the Federal Government run no schools, yet they meddle all the time," he said.

"If the Prime Minister was serious about these issues, he'd actually talk to the states about them rather than announce it by press release, so it's all about policy by headline."


Bullying victim awarded lifetime damages

A teenager has been awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, and weekly earnings, after suing the New South Wales Government for failing to protect him from being bullied at primary school.

Benjamin Cox was bullied by an older student at Woodberry Public School near Maitland in the Hunter Valley 13 years ago.

He was six at the time.

On one occasion, the student tried to strangle him, and he fell to the ground unconscious.

His mother reported the bullying to school authorities, but it did not stop.

Mr Cox is now 18 years old.

He suffers from a severe psychiatric condition and is unemployable.

He claimed damages in the Supreme Court, alleging the State of New South Wales had breached its duty of care.

Justice Carolyn Simpson found the school's response was "dismally inadequate".

She said the staff made no attempt to deal with a serious problem, and grossly failed in their duty to him.

Mr Cox was awarded more than $213,000 and weekly earnings for life.


Of course this report couldn't have come at a better time!

They say, "Justice Carolyn Simpson found the school's response was "dismally inadequate".

But they don't say when she found that out? My guess it wasn't today! John Howard's ABC would like you to think it was?

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Rural footy league sees two-thirds of teams hit by suicide

A regional Victorian Australian football league has launched a suicide prevention course, after the deaths of players from eight of the 12 teams that make up the competition.

After a number of suicides since 1999, the Goulburn Valley Football League has teamed up with local organisation Family Care in a bid to identify depression among young men before it is too late.

Family Care's David Mellington says the Coaching the Coaches program gives coaches and players mental health training to help spot troubled players.

"The program uses the football team structure to effectively reach young men in rural towns to increase the recognition of suicide risk and the encouragement of both self-help and professional-help seeking behaviours," he said.

"It aims to try and assist the people that are studying the course in identifying the early warning signs of mental disorder and some basic first aid methods in which we can deal with those disorders."

Lorraine Appleby's son Gary committed suicide in 1999, the weekend after his team won the premiership.

She says that despite working with her son every day on the family's dairy farm, she had no insight into the depression he was suffering.

"We didn't have any awareness at all because we didn't know anything about depression," she said.

Ms Appleby says it is only since her son died that she has learnt the tell-tale signs of depression.

"I went to a suicide awareness program which was run by the CWA in conjunction with Lifeline and the young gentleman from Lifeline was really good and gave us information as to what the signs of depression were, and suddenly it all fell into place," she said.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Teens to serve 15 years for 'gruesome' murder of friend

Two teenage girls have been sentenced to life imprisonment in Western Australia for murdering their 15-year-old friend who they then buried in a shallow grave in the south-west town of Collie.

The two girls, who are now 17, pleaded guilty to killing their friend, 15-year-old Eliza Jane Davis in June last year.

They covered her mouth with a chemical-soaked rag and strangled her with a piece of wire.

President of the Perth Children's Court, Denis Reynolds, said the offence they committed was gruesome and merciless in the extreme and showed a gross disregard for human life.

But because of their age, the pair will eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 15 years.

Outside, Eliza Davis' grandfather expressed his outrage at the sentence.

"They'll be free running around in 15 years and I've lost a grand-daughter," he said.

"I'll never get her back."

Their sentence will be backdated until June last year when they were taken into custody.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Teens who killed taxi driver jailed

Two teenage girls who killed a taxi driver in western Sydney in January last year, have been jailed for at least three-and-a-half years.

The Supreme Court has been told the girls, who were 14-years-old at the time, dragged Youbert Hormozi out of his taxi after he tried to grab one of them when they got out without paying the fare at Canley Heights.

They kicked and punched the 53-year-old before abandoning him on the road and driving-off in his taxi.

Mr Hormozi had severe coronary disease and died from a heart attack triggered by the assault.

The girls pleaded not guilty for murder but guilty for manslaughter.

The judge said the offences were serious but the sentences should reflect that they were committed by young people whose judgment was affected by drugs and alcohol.

The girls were sentenced to six years' in a juvenile detention centre, with a non-parole period of three-and-a-half years.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Australia: Mental health problems on the rise among youth: academic

A Brisbane academic says the number of young people with mental health problems is increasing.

Professor Graham Martin from the University of Queensland outlined the research at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists' annual conference on the Gold Coast.

He says 300 Australians under 25 committed suicide last year.

Professor Martin says the suicide toll has dropped by about 40 per cent in the past decade, but other issues, such as self harm, are emerging.

"Our best understanding is that perhaps five or 6 per cent of young people in schools may be doing this and it appears that they may be doing it to somehow cope with internal issues, such as issues of upset or stress or pain," he said.

Professor Martin says 15 per cent of Australians have had a major depressive episode by their 18th birthday, but the cadet project, like the MindMatters program in high schools, can develop resilience.

[So can better social skills, which matter more because they're general and not specific. In otherworlds why break it down?]

Martin: "If we have the right kinds of programs at the right times, say at year eight, we can actually develop optimism and connectives to the school and a number of other protective factors which in fact reduce the likelihood of depression occurring," he said.


Sure Social Skills, in self-awareness, communication, conflict resolution, self worth and self esteem, and public speaking.....In general Life Skills that are just as important as academic skills. It should start when you're a baby.

Remember teachers aught not complain about the additional workload because the money saved from the victim industry, police, prisons, courts, hospitals, etc is put back into employing more teachers to teach the said skills.

What is wrong with kids having one hour of communication? One hour of conflict resolution? One hour of self-awareness? One hour of other skills necessary for their own survival? Alternatively or once a week? Then when they have kids they can teach them!

That will keep 5 percent of them out of prison the hospital and the morgue.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

NZ parents retain right to smack?

Parents in New Zealand will retain the right to discipline their children with a smack after political leaders reached a compromise in a debate that has divided the country.

Supporters of what has become known as the anti-smacking bill, including Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark, say New Zealand needs to take some responsibility for its appalling record of violence towards children.

Miss Clark says police discretion to determine what constitutes reasonable parental discipline and what is assault was always implicit in the bill.

It has now been spelt out explicitly under the amendment.

"There has been no desire at all to see decent, good parents marched into court for something that is inconsequential," Ms Clark said.


Dear Ms Clark,

It is not a matter of marching, decent, good parents into court. It's a matter of leading by example. Violence does not win and smacking children is the root cause of domestice violence.

There are no laws that allow people to smack anyone else. Why children? If parents learn better parenting skills then they would never use smacking to teach their children a lesson.

NZ parents retain right to smack?

Baby shaking sentence 'too lenient'

A child advocacy group says the sentence given to a Melbourne man for shaking his one-month-old baby to death is too lenient.

Tomas Klamo, 23, was found guilty last month of manslaughter after his son, Isiah, died from bleeding on the brain in July 2005.

Today, the man of Melton in the city's west was sentenced in the Victorian Supreme Court to five years' jail, with a two-year non-parole period.

Australian Childhood Foundation spokesman Dr Joe Tucci says the sentence sends a message that violence towards children should be tolerated.

"It's out of step with community expectation," he said.

"I think the community wants crimes against children of this degree treated much more seriously than a two-year minimum sentence reflects."

Baby shaking sentence 'too lenient'

Other root causes of domestic violence

The NZ and Australian government won't lead by example if you haven't worked that out by now you're a complete drongo.

The contradiction in terms my learned friends is the example set by the government and the citizens not by learners raising children with no skills.

If smacking were banned then parents would have to learn how to raise children without smacking or losing it whilst trying to raise children.

If children had those skills they could pass them onto their children. Because allot of their parents missed out and so did they.

Didn't you read any of the examples posted?

Just being a red neck goodie two shoes is just an emotive response to a child killing, but a much better response would be to learn the lessons of the past and change the program.

If governments ignore that then they are responsible as well and so are people like you and me for not insisting that smacking children is a bad lesson that shouldn't be taught and should be banned.

Who else are you alowed to smack? Your pets?

That lesson sent that man to prison and killed a child, how much did that cost the community? The child was priceless and the prison cost over 60,000 dollars a year. Not to mention building more prisons.

We haven't gone into the hospital, courts, coroners, family courts, or police bills yet or the subsequent domestic violence out in the wider community, say between parents themselves, bullying at school, youth suicide, excess drug taking etc.

Prevention is better than cure. There are pragmatic answers after all, so why aren't the government listening completely?

The fact is violence is also perpetrated by the authorities, police, and prison guards and the armed forces.

Tens of thousands remember Anzac murderers and tens of millions stayed home

Teaching kids that Anzacs are brave and not biscuits, or that diggers are brave and not either digging holes to bury their dead or dieing, is a another lethal meme that encourages domestic violence in the community.

And that's probably why governments won't ban smacking because they want children to grow up with a bad attitude? So that they can get into trouble. Then they can political grandstand on law and order for political points using these learners as fodder for the victim industry or to be enlisted in the armed forces more easily.

Policeman, Prison Guards, and Military Personnel who end up killing themselves or others.

Think about Iraq for instance 655,000 dead!

Well what about it bah bah bah, are you a sheepy?