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Boss Moanaroa PHOENIX Charlestown rose from almost certain defeat on Sunday to maintain their unbeaten record in the Newcastle Major League.
Phoenix were down 5-2 to Boomerangs atthe top of the ninth at Stevenson Park.Daniel Arms startedtherally with a two run-single before coming home on a wild pitch to tiethe game.
Sean Doudle, who coached Boomers last season, then shut down the boys from Mayfield in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to an extra inning.Phoenix added another three thanks to RBI singles to left field from Tristan Watts and Rob Fenwick in the 10thbefore Doudle used all his guile and experience to garner three straight groundouts and secure an 8-5 triumph. James Donoghue was superb on the mound for Boomers, allowing only two runs from five hits in eight innings.
The action was just as excitingsouth at Miller Field as Toronto also prevailed in extra innings, 7-6 over Belmont.Boss Moanaroa hit a two-run bomb in the top of the fifth to give Toronto a 4-0 lead.Belmont hit back as Matt Ireland’s fence-clearing blast brought home three in the bottom of the dig.Pat Maat handed the Tigers back the lead with a two-run homerin the top of the ninth, before Belmont responded with a brace of runs to send the game into overtime.
Kenny Judge hit a lead-off single to kick-start the 10thand came home thanks to a double from Dillan McMaster. Toronto declared soon after in an effort to secure the win before darkness descended. Power hitter Moanaroa became an unlikely hero on the mound for Tigers, striking out Belmont’s Chris Hook to clinch victory.
Belmont have the bye in round seven.Toronto face Boomerangs at Stevenson Park andPhoenix host White Sox on Sunday.
North Melbourne is poised to launch a major play for explosive Tigers star Dustin Martin with a long-term contract offer worth more than $1 million a season in a deal that would tie him to the Kangaroos until at least the end of 2022.
The North board has given the club the green light to table the offer of between five and six years to the 25-year-old who has told Richmond he will not make a decision on his future until the end of this season.
In an attempted recruiting raid reminiscent of decades past, the North Melbourne Martin offer marks the second audacious bid by the club in recent months following the $9 million nine-year play for young GWS Giant Josh Kelly.
Richmond has accepted it will need to pay Martin $1 million a season to retain him and has offered its star a five-year deal. The North offer will exceed that.
The Kangaroos are hopeful of luring Kelly and Martin to Arden Street next season saying their war chest remains one of the most generous in the competition following the forced retirements last year of Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie, Nick Dal Santo and Michael Firrito.
Martin’s manager Ralph Carr refused to confirm or deny whether North had yet officially made the offer although it is known he has held specific discussions with the Kangaroos football bosses. “I’m not going to answer that question,” Carr told Fairfax Media. “We will be making our decision at the end of the year and that’s final.”
Carr also angrily denied he had been shopping his No.1 client to rival clubs although he has spoken at the very least with North, the Giants and St Kilda and indicated those clubs should put forward their offers should they wish to remain in the market for Martin, Richmond’s reigning club champion and a Brownlow favourite.
St Kilda is also understood to have shown significant interest in Martin while the Giants have not.
The player manager has held talks with the Kangaroos whose board, now chaired by Ben Buckley, approved the parameters earlier this season for the Martin offer. North’s governance rules dictate that any offer of five years or more or exceeding a specific financial amount must be ratified by the club directors.
Richmond’s football boss Neil Balme said the club was in constant contact with Carr and added he was not aware of specific offers to Martin from rival clubs.
“We accept that this is the way it is and we completely understand it’s Dustin’s right to consider his future,” said Balme.
“We are in this situation due to free agency and we had no say in it but the AFL brought it in and it’s here. I personally don’t think it’s good for footy.”
The Tigers remain steadfast in their belief that Martin will remain at Richmond while the player himself has reportedly communicated to the club through his manager that he has delayed a decision on his future not only due to money but also because his ultimate call will also be based on his view regarding the club’s future.
North, like St Kilda and Carlton, are currently paying well below 100 per cent of the salary cap. That, along with the new pay deal that will inject more than $2 million into each club’s total player payments this year, has opened up the aggressive recruiting blitz.
If you’ve ever been outshone by a colleague, teammate or sibling, you’ve got that in common with one third of the sniffer dogs trained by the federal police.
Officers at the National K9 Centre in Majura say a man’s best friend is also the best detector of hidden drugs, money and explosives.
But one in three of the hand-picked Labradors housed in Majura never become fluffy detectives.
AFP canine trainer Jayson Mesman said the selection process was akin to that of sports stars.
“Customs breed between 200 and 400 dogs a year. We only look at about 50 of those and about 70 per cent pass,” he said.
“It’s like athletes, everyone might be pretty fast but you’re going to have your standout players and champions.”
Those who don’t make the cut – or more bluntly, get fired – either return to the border force where they may be offered to other agencies to become detector dogs or get adopted out to members of the public.
So just how hard is it for a dog to become a four-legged Sherlock?
The AFP opened the sniffer dog facility at its Majura complex in 2007. Labradors are sourced from a number of places but mainly the border force, where they are bred and fostered out for about a year.
Many puppies are disqualified before even leaving the border force, as only those of the most sound temperament and intelligence, and with the keenest hunting instincts, are sent to Majura at 14 months old. They then undergo a 13-16-week intensive training course in detecting hidden drugs, cash, firearms, and bombs.
Once (and if) the fluffy agents graduate, they’re assigned a handler and sent to airports, seaports, cargo depots and international mail centres around the country. State and territory police also draw on them for search warrants and events such as music festivals.
But the tests are tough when the stakes are as high as public protection.
Mr Mesman pointed to a whiteboard outside a simulated house, one of three scenarios used for the dogs’ training. The whiteboard listed names of the 14 trainees in the current 13-week course. By week three, two had already been laid off.
One of the biggest challenges for both police and their dogs is the myriad of scents the canines are required to detect. Officers are constantly on the lookout for new drugs on the market and updates in technology, and the dogs must be trained to sniff out each new substance.
“Any trend that is happening, we are either ahead of it or not far behind,” Mr Mesman said.
“If there is a new drug coming in from overseas or domestically as a threat, we are working on that, and I guess that’s the power of the whole of the AFP, because we work across all the different areas to collate that information.”
Dogs are not addicted to drugs, despite what many people think, but to the game of hide-and-seek that underpins their training. They are taught to sit when they recognise the smell of the odour being tested, which had been fermented on a hidden toy. Each stage of the game becomes more difficult as trainers hide drugs among obstacles such as long grass or confusing household items. If the dog walks past a scent, they’re out.
Mr Mesman said the tough standard was why a third of the dogs don’t graduate, and why those who do never rarely it wrong in the real world.
However, the effectiveness of sniffer dogs has been called into question on several occasions, including when NSW figures revealed the proportion of searches where no drugs are found remained stubbornly high.
But handler and Senior Constable Craig Manning said he found that only inexperienced dogs made mistakes – and they were quick to learn from them.
“The dogs are definitely capable of some amazing things, and the more experience they have the better they are,” Mr Manning said.
“With drugs, the best dogs will find smaller amounts where as the majority of dogs will find bigger amounts. But the majority of times they should distinguish what they are and aren’t looking for.”
The Department of Education is unaware of the number of child sex offenders attending WA schools with the figure potentially in the hundreds, according to children’s court data.
In documents obtained by WAtoday through freedom of information laws, an urgent meeting attended by several ministers on March 27 revealed “it is likely there are offenders in schools unknown to the school or department administration and therefore no risk management or support is in place”.
Children’s Court of WA data showed 132 children aged between 10 and 17 were charged with sexual offences in 2015-16, with 10 children given custodial sentences for sex assaults that same financial year.
Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, nearly 600 children were charged with sexual assault and related offences, meaning hundreds of convicted children could be attending schools.
The revelation comes after angry parents demanded laws that effectively gag the state government from informing schools and parents about child sex offenders be changed to better protect the broader community.
It followed three separate incidents at two WA schools in recent months where three boys – one a convicted child rapist, and two accused child rapists – had quietly returned to school after their conviction or charges were laid.
One of the boys, 11, had his charges dropped on May 12 after a psychiatric report revealed he was not mentally fit to stand trial.
He had been supervised by two full-time staff at his school until February when parents discovered he had been accused of raping an eight-year-old boy at knife-point in December and forced the department of education’s hand to remove him.
File photo: iStock
Notes from the ministers’ meeting revealed the boy and his family had since been relocated by the Housing Authority after they received vigilante threats from community members.
“Provision of education has involved the student and his siblings being relocated, with the siblings being enrolled in another WA public school and the offender to be provided an education program at an engagement centre, separated from other students and under constant supervision,” it read.
Chaired by education minister Sue Ellery, the meeting also revealed another complex case of a child sex offender never previously reported.
It detailed the difficulty the state government faced to ensure a child’s statutory right to an education was upheld, while still protecting the broader community.
The boy, who was in detention at the time of the meeting, once released would require the location of his education be kept a secret and due to the “level of danger” he would be transferred to and from the education facility by police.
“Emergency planning if the site became known and was approached / entered by a community member” and “safety concerns for staff delivering his educational program” were highlighted during the meeting as highly problematic issues.
The case was described as being extremely resource intensive with the state government noting its capacity to provide the same level of planning for multiple similar cases was “very limited”.
Current laws which protect juvenile offenders’ identities mean a child is able to return to school following a serious sexual assault charge or conviction without an assessment or any clinical intervention.
The omission was deemed inappropriate during the ministers’ meeting, as it meant the risk the student presented to other students was not determined or discussed with teachers.
Alternative schooling options for child sex offenders in WA were described during the meeting as limited, mostly due to the intensive resources required to carry out individual teaching options.
The School of Isolated and Distance Education was touted as an option that would allow child sex offenders to be home-schooled, similar to students who live in remote areas of WA.
However many of the children convicted of sexual crimes do not have suitable supervision at home to carry out this option and instead would likely be required to attend a small specialised engagement centre or undergo individual tuition at a location where there are no other children.
In the instance of the 11-year-old boy who was charged with sexually assaulting an eight-year-old, the Perth Children’s Court had previously ordered he attend school as part of his bail conditions.
Meanwhile another 17-year-old boy who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy who attended the same school was sentenced to a 12 month intensive supervision order in February.
The order required he also attend school.
His victim has been accused of going on to sexually abuse a nine-year-old boy and is due to face court on Tuesday.
Both boys were removed from their school following a public outcry from parents after their offences and alleged offences became publicly known and parents kept their children home in protest.
“Predominantly the offenders (or alleged) have bail conditions that prevent them from having contact with other children except for when in school (where most children are all day),” the minister’s meeting notes revealed.
“Bail conditions applied to school-aged young people can compromise the safety of other children.
“Meeting those conditions in a manner that ensures the safety of other children can impose considerable strain on a school’s resources, most often requiring individual constant supervision.
“With older children, safety of staff is also a potential issue, particularly if the department is prevented from informing them.”
Ms Ellery, who inherited much of the public’s outcry on the school safety issue when she was sworn in as education minister in March, has vowed to improve the management of sex offenders at schools.
“The education department has been working with police, child protection, corrective services, and the attorney general to set up a new notification process,” she said.
“We will release our proposal and key recommendations soon.”
Keep our Communities Safe spokeswoman Georgie Elle said any changes to the notification process would not be enough to protect children from sex offenders.
“Nearly every parent I’ve spoken to feels like none of these people should be in schools,” she said.
“When the minister has a policy in place that says this is to minimise the risk, I guess parents feel like you acknowledge that there’s a risk, remove the risk, you shouldn’t have to manage the risk.
“How do you manage grooming?”
Ms Elle is advocating for alleged and convicted sex offenders to be educated away from the broader school population, claiming principals and teachers often weren’t equipped to deal with the issue.
During the ministers’ meeting, the state government conceded the situation was a catch 22, whereby parents expected to be informed about risks at their child’s school, but privacy and legal implications limited how much information could be shared.
“These issues are most effectively managed if the offender is not placed in a school or similar environment where other children attend,” the meeting notes read.
The Millner family regard Brickworks and Washington H. Soul Pattinson as family companies and their cross shareholdings in each amount to “ghost equity”, the Federal Court has heard.
In the first day of the case before Justice Jagot in Sydney, it was suggested that a nil premium merger would unlock $454 million for shareholders of both companies.
Brickworks and Soul Patts, the court was told, also went to great lengths to block the nomination of an independent director, Robert Fraser, to the Soul Patts board in 2011 including attacking the performance of Perpetual’s funds.
Investor Perpetual backed Mr Fraser’s appointment but the nominee was ultimately unsuccessful.
Tony Bannon, SC, representing Perpetual, argued that the cross-shareholding structure was originally devised primarily to thwart a takeover bid. But it also gives the Millner family-led boards effective control in any general meeting, the court heard, at the expense of minority shareholder interests.
“We submit that the maintenance by these boards by use of that cross-shareholding to maintain the cross-shareholding which serves to entrench management’s position is not in the interests of shareholders generally,” Mr Bannon said. ‘Old school connections’
Current Soul Patts chairman Robert Millner is also the chairman of Brickworks; Brickworks and Soul Patts own roughly 40 per cent of each other’s equity.
Mr Millner, who has not sworn an affidavit, enlisted a plant at the Soul Patts AGM of 2011 to “populate the audience with old school connections”, it was heard.
“To suggest that management should not be subjected to the votes of shareholders almost expresses a fear of management if they are exposed to the general will of the meeting they may be removed,” Mr Bannon said.
He continued: “The key reason the cross-shareholding unravelling attempts have been blocked or resisted is the recognition the current board, Millner influenced as they are, will lose control.”
Mr Bannon reflected that the Millners would argue the cross-shareholding has worked well to date, and both companies have prospered. Historically it was akin to a “father knows best mentality”. Recruiting company
In the lead-up to the AGM of December 2, 2011, when Soul Patts shareholders were also asked to vote for the re-election of Michael Millner, David Fairfull and Thomas Millner to the board, the senior Mr Millner asked Bruce Bagley to stand up at the meeting and “say some things about the Fraser motion”.
Mr Millner also asked Mr Bagley to make some remarks about how the best way to find director talent was via a recruiting company. On November 24, Mr Bagley responded: “only too pleased” and “can you let me know the names of one or two recruiting companies you would use?” He also inquired as to whether he should “talk about Tom”, being Thomas Millner.
A public relations firm, Gavin Anderson, provided a media strategy that included closing part of the meeting to cameras so as not to reveal any potentially agitating expressions, Mr Bannon said, and Soul Patts’ insistence on attacking Perpetual’s track record was “playing the man and not the ball”.
But at one stage, there was an indication that Brickworks would vote its proxies in favour of Mr Fraser.
The court was told of an email from Alex Payne, Brickworks’s chief financial officer, responding to an inquiry around whether Brickworks would be voting in support.
“This is very, very confidential. You are correct though,” he is said to have responded.
“As it turns out you’ll see they didn’t vote for,” Mr Bannon said.
In October and November of that year, Perpetual’s then head of equities Matt Williams was communicating with Mr Millner with the intent to convince him to appoint Mr Fraser to improve governance. Public statements
Mr Millner was unmoved, it was argued, and apparently displeased with the public statements made by the fund manager. Mr Williams is expected to appear in court on Wednesday; he now works at Airlie Funds Management. Mr Williams had the support of other shareholders too.
Referring to the composition of the boards of the two companies, “Whether by blood or other connections, the connections with the Millners run deep”, Mr Bannon said.
One means to resolve that would see Brickworks and Soul Patts merge, and the cross-shareholdings cancelled. A nil premium merger would give ownership of the two companies back to the shareholders who are not the cross shareholders, and reduce the shares on issue of the merged company by 30 per cent, it was argued.
The combined assets would be worth $4.25 billion. Of the $454 million estimated to be unlocked, $143 million is attributed to Brickworks shareholders and $311 million to Soul Patts shareholders.
The case continues.