No conviction against White Jail term disproportionate: Chief Justice

Former Tasmanian Compliance Corporation director John White (right) has avoided a conviction after pleading guilty to interfering with an executive officer.FORMER Tasmanian Compliance Corporation director John White has avoided a conviction for his role in an agreement signed with the former Deputy Premier Bryan Green. The agreement gave the TCC a lucrative three-year monopoly to accredit the State’s builders.
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Chief Justice Peter Underwood yesterday said a jail term, whether actual or suspended, would be disproportionate to the gravity of White’s criminal conduct.

He adjourned the case for two years upon White giving an undertaking to be of good behaviour for that period.

White changed his plea to guilty to interfering with an executive officer on the day his joint trial with Mr Green was due to start in the Supreme Court in Hobart.The court heard that White was trying to protect the “very substantial income” he received from the TCC when he approached the Government in 2005. White and Mr Green’s department began work on a series of draft agreements, with White pressing for the inclusion of a clause that granted the TCC a monopoly.

By early 2006, White was becoming concerned about an imminent election because he knew the Liberal Party wanted to take the job of accrediting builders from the TCC and give it to Consumer Affairs.

He lobbied Mr Green and his advisers and then State ALP secretary David Price for their support and refused to sign the agreement without the monopoly clause.

Mr Green instructed the monopoly clause be included in the agreement, which was signed by White two days before the election was called and by Mr Green the day before the election was called.

Chief Justice Underwood said White was entitled to lobby but broke the law when he signed the deal knowing it would interfere with the free exercise of a minister’s ability to appoint another body to accredit builders.

However, he stressed that Mr Green was presumed innocent because he has pleaded not guilty to the same charge as White and the jury deciding his case was unable to reach a verdict.

“It does not follow that because Mr White intended to interfere with the authority or duty of the minister, Mr Green was of the same state of mind,” he said.

Mr Green will reappear in court in February next year.

During sentencing submissions, defence lawyer David Porter, QC, asked that a conviction not be recorded against White because it might risk his ability to practise law or disqualify him from being a company director for five years.

Director of Public Prosecutions Tim Ellis, SC, accepted a penalty that did not require a conviction would be within proper range in White’s case.

Chief Justice Underwood questioned why the case was brought against White if Mr Ellis knew that his criminal culpability was so low that a penalty that did not involve conviction was appropriate.

However, he noted that it was the DPP’s job to prosecute if there was sufficient evidence to gain a conviction and it was in the public interest.

“One can well imagine that having decided that the minister should be prosecuted, the DPP may have considered that it was in the public interest also to proceed against the other signatory to the agreement, even though his level of wrongdoing was of a very low order,” Chief Justice Underwood said.

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Making news

The region
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Geelong yacht eXtasea took line honours in the Centenary Rudder Cup Melbourne to Launceston yacht race at 3.25 pm yesterday and her crew were delighted with their performance. Page 3

The nation

David Hicks should be given a fair go, but he should make a genuine apology for his terrorist-related conduct, politicians say.

NATIONAL NEWS: Pages 16,18

The world

The director of the zoo where a teenager was killed by an escaped tiger acknowledged that the wall around the animal’s pen was well below the height recommended by the accrediting agency for the nation’s zoos.

The body of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto arrived in her family village for burial yesterday, hours after her assassination plunged the nuclear-armed country into one of the worst crises in its 60-year history. WORLD NEWS: Pages 21, 22

Business

RAMS Home Loans Group Ltd, which has been trying to refinance debt amid difficult conditions in credit markets, has secured enough funding to roll over about two-thirds of its maturing US short-term debt.

BUSINESS ROUND-UP: Page 26

Sport

Only the rewriting of Test cricket history stands between Australia taking a 1-0 series win over India in the first Test at the MCG.

ALL SPORTS Pages 79-88

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In your region today

Launceston College will launch its annual TAP CD at the St James at 7.30pm today, showcasing the audio production and musical talent of its students. Live bands will be playing at this all ages event.
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The annual meeting of the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council will be held at Swansea Town Hall at 7pm. Members of the public are invited to discuss matters relating to the annual report.

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Rudder Cup win is pure eXtacea

Sailing master Jamie Bennett and the rest of the eXtasea crew sailing into Low HeadGEELONG yacht eXtasea took line honours in the Centenary Rudder Cup Melbourne to Launceston yacht race at 3.25 pm yesterday and her crew were delighted with their performance.Paul Buchholz bought the 14.1m yacht just three months ago but a fierce rivalry has developed with Sandringham yacht Dekadence, a similar British DK46 design.”Dekadence beat us out the Heads and we had a two-hour tacking duel with them off Cape Schank and came out in front,” sailing master Jamie Bennett said. “We had our best Bass Strait crossing ever, it was pretty calm. We’re really pleased with the way the boat has gone.”The boat led the fleet for most of the race and had a six or seven mile break on Phil Coombs and Matt Hannaford’s Dekadence as they approached the Tasmanian coast. Bennett said getting an early two-mile break and keeping to the east of the rhumb line when the north-easterly breeze came in overnight paid dividends.EXtasea crossed the Low Head finish line more than an hour in front of Dekadence and fellow Sandringham yacht Alex Team McAdie. The two-hander Alex Team MacAdie, sailed by father and son Jock and Hamish MacAdie, won the Melbourne to Osaka race earlier this year.EXtasea, which is also an entrant in the Melbourne to Hobart race, took 28 hours and 25 minutes to complete the course. It was nearly 10 hours outside the Melbourne to Launceston race record of 19 hours.The crew of 13 included expatriate Tasmanian Damian Charleston.EXtasea immediately headed off to Banks Strait and expects to be in Hobart by tomorrow afternoon. It is the second big win for three-year-old eXtasea since being acquired by Buchholz. The yacht won the November Melbourne to Stanley race on handicap.The first Tasmanian yacht home was Hobart’s David Rees in Creative InTension, 12th across the line, followed by Tamar Yacht Club commodore Richard Fisher’s Blue Sky, which finished 17th. A record Bass Strait fleet of 82 boats started in the Centenary Rudder Cup race at Portsea on Thursday.Handicap placings are expected to be available tomorrow before the Melbourne to Launceston fleet will compete in the third race in the Rudder Cup series at Beauty Point today.The TasPorts Cup race starts off Inspection Wharf at 1pm.A trophy presentation dinner will be held at the Tamar Yacht Club’s Beauty Point marina tonight.The first Rudder Cup race in 1907 was Australia’s first ocean yacht race and attracted just four entrants with winning yacht Thistle, skippered by Edgar Newlands, taking 35 hours.To celebrate the event’s 100th anniversary the Ocean Racing Club, which organises the Kidder Williams Melbourne to Launceston yacht race in association with the Tamar Yacht Club, combined this year’s race with the Melbourne to Hobart race, sending the fleet down Tasmania’s East Coast.
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Your numbers

SATURDAY TATTSLOTTO – Draw 2753 dividends: Division 1: $1 million. Division 2: $13,614.10. Division 3: $1630.60. Division 4: $49.30. Division 5: $29.90. TATTS 2 – Drawn numbers: 3 and 99. Division 1 dividend: $500.
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KENO – Drawn numbers: 1, 4, 17, 19, 20, 21, 29, 30, 34, 36, 38, 45, 51, 52, 65, 66, 69, 71, 72 and 79. Spot 10 jackpot: $2 million.

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Christmas appeal

Donations are still being accepted for the East Coast Counselling and Family Support Service’s 2007 Christmas Appeal. Funds are distributed in the form of vouchers to families in the Break O’Day and Bicheno areas to allow the purchase of food. All donations of $2 and over are tax deductible and can be made by phoning Thom Ryan on 1800111878 or posting to PO Box 358, St Helens, 7216.
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Student drowns on East Coast

Police seal off the scene of yesterday’s drowning at Ansons Bay, where a 25-year-old Chinese man drowned after getting into difficulty in a rip while swimming with friends near Policemans Point.br> He was swimming with his girlfriend, another female and two male companions when they were caught in a rip near Policemans Point about 12.15pm.
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Three of the swimmers were able to reach the shore, while a fourth, a female, was assisted by a member of the public.

Tasmania Police Acting Insp. Jason Elmer said that a camper heard calls for help and used a kayak to retrieve the man, before several campers and a Parks and Wildlife officer tried to resuscitate the man for about 30 minutes before ambulance officers arrived and pronounced him dead.Acting Insp. Elmer said the area could be treacherous for swimmers who were unfamiliar with the area. “It’s a dangerous area if you don’t know it,” he said.

“The water goes from shallow to deep very quickly and there are strong tidal movements.”

Fellow campers at the popular holiday spot were shocked by the drowning.

“It’s an absolute tragedy,” one said. “I can’t believe it’s happened here.”

The man’s name has not been released and police will prepare a report for the coroner.

The drowning comes just two weeks after a 51 year-old Hobart fisherman was swept off rocks and presumed drowned at Cosy Corner near Binalong Bay, about 30km south of yesterday’s incident.

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Council meeting

Glamorgan Spring Bay Council will hold its regular meeting at Bicheno, today, from 2pm, not 1pm as previously advised. The meeting will be held in the memorial hall, and will be followed by the council’s annual meeting at the Swansea Town Hall, starting at 7pm. Members of the public are invited to attend both meetings.
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Age care approval for Kogarah

KOGARAH Council has approved an application for residential care accommodation for seniors to be built next to Kogarah Town Centre.
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Urban renewal: the development at 3 Railway parade will beautify the entry into Kogarah’s business district

The building, with 98 rooms and seven self-contained units, is part of a seven-storey mixed development also containing two levels of commercial/retail space and a basement car park.

The development site is an irregular shaped block wedged between Kogarah Town Centre, Railway Parade and the railway.

and now comprises several commercial premises, including a service station and mechanical repairs shop.

Kogarah councillor Nick Katris, an architect, said seniors accommodation was ideal for Kogarah business district as it would have minimal affect on traffic and parking and the seniors would have access to all the health services nearby.

He said the council had encouraged the development of the site as part of its urban renewal.

‘‘The building itself is of an attractive design and diverse presentation and it will be an attractive entry into Kogarah’s business district,’’ Cr Katris said.

He said the site had attracted a number of proposals during the past seven or eight years but this was the first time it was assessed as a seniors development.

The development comes under State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) principles regarding housing for seniors or people with a disability.

Only those who meet certain criteria can occupy this type of accommodation: seniors or people who have a disability; people who live within the same household with seniors or people with a disability or staff employed to assist in the administration of and provision of services.

At least 10percent of the dwellings in the proposed development will be affordable places under SEPP guidelines.

A minimum of 50 off-street car parking spaces will be built.

The applicant, Galanos Bros Pty Ltd, could not be contacted.

NEW LANDSCAPE

Although technically in the Rockdale Council area, the redevelopment of the old Mecca Theatre site in Station Street (diagonally opposite 3 Railway Lands) will also alter the Kogarah landscape.

The $21 million redevelopment was approved by the NSW government Joint Regional Planning Panel on July 12.

It will contain five retail tenancies, 92 residential units and car parking.

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SUDOKU

(1/2) (2/2)
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INSTRUCTIONS:

To solve a Sudoku puzzle, every number from 1 to 9 must appear in:

•Each of the nine columns

•Each of the nine rows •Each of the nine 3 x 3 blocks

Today’s solution and a new puzzle will appear tomorrow.

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