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Archive for June, 2019

29 June
Comments Off on RV calls for help on cheats

RV calls for help on cheats

Racing’s rulers have denied suggestions they are losing control following a series of damaging claims about drug use, race fixing and criminal involvement in the industry.
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But they accept that racing’s image is taking a hit – unfairly, they insist – as a series of revelations that strike to the core of the sector’s integrity continue to issue from media, insiders and police.

Racing authorities said on Tuesday they wanted to take tougher, swifter action to weed out cheats and any criminal element infiltrating the industry, but their hands were tied unless information uncovered by police in a criminal investigation can be given to racing authorities.

Police are not permitted to pass on such findings – sometimes discovered through phone taps – because a body such as Racing Victoria is a regulatory organisation and not a law enforcement agency, a situation RV chief executive Bernard Saundry described as ”very frustrating”.

Dayle Brown, the head of RV’s integrity operations, said: ”We need the co-operation of the enforcement bodies so we can act, but we have been stymied from getting access to this information.”

Brown said that fostered a public image that racing regulators were ”in a state of paralysis, that we can’t go forward” when authorities had been seeking information sharing for several years.

He explained that for the situation to change there needed to be amendments to the Telecommunications (Interception) Act of 1979 – a policy decision governments needed to take.

”We have not lost control of the image,” Saundry said, but acknowledged it had been tarnished by a series of high-profile headlines. The sport’s $15 million investment on integrity and its improved surveillance procedures were evidence that it was working to stamp out cheats.

RV’s new chairman, Robert Roulston, backed the CEO. ”My view of racing is that 99.9 per cent of this industry is trying to do the right thing and race for prizemoney,” he said. ”I really don’t accept wide-ranging opinions in the media that racing is full of crooks. Our view of racing is that it’s a clean sport, and probably less corrupt than other sports.”

But Saundry said that racing’s integrity services were well ahead of most other sports. There were 14,000 drug tests for the 9000 horses competing in Victoria – an average of 1.5 per competitor and well in excess of other activities.

”I would challenge any other code to have that sort of testing regime,” he said.

‘We continue to invest in people and systems. We can only act on what we have got. But when people break the rules they will be caught.”

Saundry said changing the Telecommunications Act ”has got to be the priority”, adding that Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna had made that a priority in his recommendations.

29 June
Comments Off on Persistence pays off for Saints

Persistence pays off for Saints

St Kilda’s coach Scott Watters says the reward for persisting and winning will be significant for his young group. Photo: Sebastian CostanzoHaving twice played well and fallen short, St Kilda coach Scott Watters says the reward for persisting and winning will be significant for his young group.
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”I think you take a lot out of that as a group – that you went through the fire and still got the result, so the boys are pretty happy, and so they should be,” he said after Monday’s win against Carlton at Etihad Stadium.

”It’s reward for the players. Our last two weeks their efforts were very, very good. You go back to Sydney a fortnight ago and last week against Collingwood, so to give the effort and get the reward is a real catalyst for this group.

”For a lot of senior players who have been leading really strongly for us, and younger players, that sort of experience is invaluable.

”I am really proud of them. They were great.”

Watters said youngster Nathan Wright would have scans after a heavy blow to the head which may have broken his jaw, when he clashed with Blues forward Eddie Betts after disposing of the ball.

Watters said it was ”a credit” to Carlton to come back so strongly after being six goals down given it had lost two players to injury before quarter-time.

It was the third successive victory for Watters against the Blues. ”We are having a reasonable run against a side that I really rate and obviously I rate the coach, so to get a result was important for us,” he said.

Watters praised Jack Steven, who had 39 touches, Sam Fisher’s last-quarter composure, Ben McEvoy’s dominant display in the ruck and Nick Dal Santo’s selfless game for the team.

”We challenged [Steven] during the week. In a lot of games this year he has [had] 19-20 possessions in a half and tapered off.

”So that was a focus for him this week to really get the job done. That is the difference between being a B-grade midfielder and elite.”

Nick Riewoldt, with three goals and 13 marks, was the dominant player on the ground.

29 June
Comments Off on Blue sorry for the Waite

Blue sorry for the Waite

St Kilda’s Jack Steven battles Carlton’s Jaryd Cachia at Etihad Stradium on Monday. Photo: Sebastian CostanzoJarrad Waite will return to the Blues’ team this weekend having vowed to remedy his poor disciplinary record, after missing Carlton’s surprise loss to St Kilda due to suspension. But the revolving door continues to turn with small forward Eddie Betts offered a three-match ban for a bump on St Kilda’s Nathan Wright on Monday night.
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Blues vice-captain Kade Simpson said Waite could have helped his team’s scoring against the Saints, with only four goals being kicked across the first three quarters before a late comeback reduced the final deficit to nine points.

”He’s an integral part of our team. I think our ball delivery to our forwards (against St Kilda) wasn’t great, but having Jarrad (might have been significant because) everyone knows he’s a great player. He’s obviously going to help every time he’s out there,” Simpson said on Tuesday, as the club held a recovery-based training session at its Visy Park headquarters.

Simpson confirmed he and his fellow leadership group members had approached Waite, who missed the first five matches of the season due to injury, and was then banned for one match after a round six clash with Melbourne’s Tom McDonald.

”We had a chat with Jarrad. He knows he did the wrong thing. When he comes back in this week he’s got a chance to make up for it. I know he’s really wanting to do that,” Simpson said.

”He knows he let the team down. He addressed the group, apologised and said it won’t happen again. We’ve got to take Jarrad at his word. Hopefully this week … he can bounce back and repay the boys.”

Simpson predicted Carlton’s review of Monday’s match at Etihad Stadium would compare its encouraging second half to the first half ”where we went wrong”.

”In the third quarter, we didn’t take our chances and in the last quarter we played some really good footy, but probably left it too late. If you give a team like St Kilda a six-goal break, you’re rarely going to pull them in,” he said.

”Being two guys down pretty early and then to run the game out the way we did was something we’ll take into next week, hopefully continue on that last-quarter form.”

The Blues suffered a double injury blow early in the match, with David Ellard and Chris Yarran sidelined with hamstring injuries. Simpson said the flow-on effect was significant.

”You probably play about another 10 per cent game time, which doesn’t sound like much, but it does take its toll, especially with rotations … being a big part of the game these days.”

With the Blues having to contend with a six-day break before facing Port Adelaide at home on Sunday, Simpson said they were due to have a ”pretty light week anyway”, but agreed other sore players such as Marc Murphy and defender Michael Jamison could be treated more cautiously.

Waite will bolster the Blues’ forward marking capabilities, which were hampered on Monday despite the presence of tall players Shaun Hampson and Matthew Kreuzer. For small forwards, however, they may struggle, with Yarran in doubt and Betts suspended.

Simpson was still optimistic Carlton would boast an effective forward line against Port.

”The reserves didn’t have a game this week, but I know Dylan Buckley has already come in this year and he’s obviously a chance. Jeffy (Garlett) is playing great footy. (Andrew) Carrazzo, Bryce Gibbs, there’s quite a few boys who can come back in, (along with) Jeremy Laidler who’s been playing up forward,” he said.

29 June
Comments Off on Police leaks linked to Fox

Police leaks linked to Fox

ABOVE BOARD: Assistant Commissioner Carlene York, right, leaves the inquiry. Picture: Darren PatemanARCHIVE of Herald reports
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TRANSCRIPTS AND COURT EXHIBITS

SENIOR police were concerned that confidential details about the investigation into alleged cover-ups of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church were being leaked and Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox was the suspected source of the leaks, the region’s former commander said yesterday.

Assistant Commissioner Carlene York said there was no evidence that Newcastle police did not want to investigate the claims and the investigation that was done was ‘‘thorough’’ and ‘‘extensive’’.

She also said she had never heard the term ‘‘Catholic mafia’’ during her time as Northern Region commander and her decision to assign the investigation to the Newcastle City detectives office was based on a number of factors including the locality of the alleged offences and the resources of that office.

The Special Commission of Inquiry being held in Newcastle is examining claims by Mr Fox that he was ordered to stop investigating claims of concealment of sexual abuse within the Church.

The inquiry was also examining allegations that Church officials hindered such investigations.

The inquiry heard that the electronic files of the strike force charged with investigating the claims were marked ‘‘highly protected’’, which restricted access to those files.

Assistant Commissioner York said there were concerns that confidential information was being leaked to the Newcastle Herald and she was later told by another officer the suspected source of the leaks was Mr Fox.

She said such leaks could hinder an investigation because it could tip off suspects.

Assistant Commissioner York said it was her decision to assign the investigation to Newcastle City detectives after she received a report from Mr Fox in 2010 containing a number of allegations.

She said she never considered Mr Fox to be on the strike force because he was crime manager at Port Stephens, one of the smallest commands in the region, and there were insufficient resources to cover him.

She said every command in the region was under-resourced, but Port Stephens in particular was too small for such an inquiry.

When referred to a comment by another officer that an element of the investigation was being ‘‘abysmally managed’’ she said she didn’t agree.

She admitted that the strike force encountered difficulties when a number of investigators went on sick leave, but an ‘‘excellent’’ brief of evidence was prepared and sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The hearing before Commissioner Margaret Cunneen continues.

29 June
Comments Off on Legal Aid to stop environmental challenges

Legal Aid to stop environmental challenges

LEGAL Aid NSW will stop paying for public legal challenges on environmental matters as part of its efforts to cut costs from July.
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Hunter environmental and community groups say without legal aid some of the most significant legal challenges mounted in the region would not have been possible.

These included challenges against Centennial Coal’s Anvil Hill (now Mangoola) mine, near Wybong, the Hunter Environment Lobby against the expansion of the Ulan mine, the Sweetwater Action Group against Huntlee, the Ironstone Community Act Group against what is now Yancoal in the Gloucester area and Barrington-Gloucester Stroud Preservation Alliance against AGL’s Gloucester gas project.

Legal aid, which is means-tested and subject to a merit test, has been available for public interest matters that raise ‘‘substantial’’ public concern about the environment.

In addition to financial support, litigants who have obtained legal aid have been covered by an indemnity against costs that protected them from claims from the corporations they challenged.

A spokesman for Lock the Gate Hunter, Steve Phillips, said the loss of the indemnity was probably more significant than the financial support.

‘‘Only cases that are 100per cent sure of a win will go ahead and that is rare,’’ Mr Phillips said.

Hunter Communities Network spokeswoman Bev Smiles said community challenges were on important issues, such as the health impacts of projects, and against multinational corporations for whom money was no object.

Barrington-Gloucester Stroud Preservation Alliance spokesman Graeme Healy said the cuts would stop all legal challenges from community groups.

Environmental Defender’s Office executive director Jeff Smith said it was unlikely challenges similar to those made in the Hunter in recent years could proceed once the cuts were made.

Legal Aid NSW and Attorney-General Greg Smith’s office did not respond to the Newcastle Herald’s request for comment yesterday.