Canberra judge warns drug trafficker who avoids jail not to ‘let his guard down’

A Canberra man caught red-handed as he peddled drugs to an undercover cop has avoided more time behind bars after a judge said his attempts to rehabilitate had been “very pleasing”.

But Justice John Burns warned drug trafficker Robert James Masling, 28, his early progress was “only the beginning” and he couldn’t let his guard down when he learned his fate in the ACT Supreme Court on Monday.

Masling and his childhood friend, former public servant Joel Andrew Lemmon, 27, were charged over a string of drug transactions involving ice, MDMA and cocaine between August and October in 2016. 

They pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to drug charges.

The men were arrested when police raided properties in Amaroo and Kaleen after a long-running investigation into an illegal drug syndicate operating in the territory. 

Lemmon had been driven by family illness and mounting financial pressures when he acted as “facilitator” to source drugs for Masling to sell, the court previously heard.

Prosecutors said the “inexperienced” pair were leading double lives in the months before they were arrested in the undercover sting, hoodwinking members of their extended families who had no idea they were trafficking drugs.

Masling was handed a deferred sentence order earlier this year after Justice John Burns said he would give the man an opportunity to show he could address the problems that led to his offending. 

He returned to court, supported by his family and following a stint at a rehabilitation centre in NSW, on Monday. 

Masling’s mother said from the witness box she acknowledged her son had committed a crime but said his actions since had been “a great source of pride” for his family.

He had been considered an “inspiration” and role model at the rehabilitation centre he attended, she said. “We were so incredibly proud of him for that.”

She said he wanted to continue to help others and his future was “very bright”. 

“I can’t see him ever reoffending, or ever turning to drugs as a way to cope.”

She believed he would instead turn to friends and family members, and would not hesitate to seek professional help if required. 

In sentencing Masling, Justice Burns said: “It’s very pleasing you have taken the opportunity that’s been given to you. 

“You are one of a very small number of cases that come before me I can say have made the most of this opportunity.”

He told Masling it was “only the beginning”. “You can’t let your guard down. You must maintain that commitment.”

Justice Burns sentenced Masling to 23 months imprisonment, taking into account 50 days spent in custody after his arrest and suspending the rest. He was ordered to serve a two-year good behaviour order.

Lemmon, who worked for the Finance Department for four years and had top-secret security clearance, was handed a suspended sentence of two years and 10 months in April. He must serve a three-year good behaviour order. 

‘They will never heal’: Man raped by former St Edmund’s teacher speaks of irreparable trauma

Updated December 11, 2017 17:32:03

A man who was raped and indecently assaulted by a former teacher at Canberra’s St Edmund’s College has spoken of the irreparable and enduring trauma he suffers, saying it haunts him every night.

In August, Garry Leslie Marsh, 72, was found guilty of molesting the boy in the 1980s.

Marsh taught at the college and coached football to the then-13-year-old.

In a victim impact statement tendered to the ACT Supreme Court on Monday, the man said he still struggled with the embarrassment, shame and self-blame trigged by the events.

“Your actions and thoughts robbed me of one of the basic rights of all children, to be a child,” the statement read.

“The taking of my innocence for your personal pleasure can never be forgiven.

“The events of all of those years ago creep into my dreams every night … I cannot show the physical scars … but to me they are just as real, they will never heal.”

The man said the memories were an unwanted part of him that he could never remove.

The court heard following the abuse, he stopped enjoying school and instead saw it as something he had to survive.

He said the memories surfaced as he walked through the corridor, went to the gym or sat at the bus stop.

The man also detailed how he self-medicated with drugs and alcohol, dropped out of school and developed post traumatic stress disorder.

He said to this day he suffers erratic sleep patterns, alcoholism and severe mood swings — behaviours that have damaged his relationships with his partner and children.

“Sometimes it is easier for me to find a place and just cry,” the man’s statement read.

“Without my family I doubt I would be here today, as I suspect the demons and memories I carry would have won.”

Mercy not to be given because of Marsh’s sick mother: Judge

Marsh, who continues to deny the crimes, said he was in disbelief by the man’s statement.

He said being sentenced to prison would likely kill himself and his sick mother.

Marsh was found guilty of 11 charges over a series of incidents, including a serious assault when the boy was sleeping over at his house before a football match.

Prosecutor Jane Campbell told the court Marsh had shown a gross abuse of trust by grooming the victim slowly and gaining the trust of his mother.

“He assured [the mother] that she should have no concerns about him staying over,” Ms Campbell told the court.

She described how he used a sporting injury the boy suffered as an excuse to inappropriately touch him, and how he abused him at the college during school hours.

“The victim statement spoke volumes about the psychological impact of child sex abuse,” Ms Campbell said.

“That child was lost.”

Defence lawyer Greg Walsh asked the judge to consider the impact a full-time jail sentence would have on Walsh’s ill mother, as well as the difficulty of being sent to prison at his age.

But Ms Campbell said mercy should not be given because of his mother’s circumstances.

Marsh will be sentenced on Friday.

Topics: sexual-offences, courts-and-trials, canberra-2600, act, australia

First posted December 11, 2017 17:27:03

Ruddock review next big battle for gay community, LGBTIQ council chair says

An inquiry into Australia’s religious freedom protections spearheaded by former Howard government minister Phillip Ruddock will be the new battleground for the gay community, the chair of the ACT’s LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council has warned.

Anne-Marie Delahunt has called for a federal bill enshrining human rights after an ACT Human Rights Commission forum on the the next steps after marriage equality on Friday.

Ms Delahunt said it became clear during the debate over legalising same-sex marriage conservative politicians wanted to “institute religious rights at the expenses of the rights of individuals”.

“I think that these issues, although they were lost in the parliament thank goodness, I am sure will be returned in the inquiry that Phillip Ruddock will be heading and I think that will provide an opportunity for the institutional power of the churches to increase their sway,” Ms Delahunt said.

“That’s what worries me a lot. The right of a school to discriminate against gay and lesbian teachers, surely that means in the school if there are young vulnerable kids they’re going to be at risk because there’s no sympathy and in fact antagonism towards them and I think that’s a real concern.”

The inquiry was announced to smooth the way for the passage of the Dean Smith bill before Christmas. 

Mr Ruddock introduced the bill that changed the definition of marriage to be between a man and a woman in 2004 and opposes having a bill of rights. 

But Ms Delahunt said having a human rights bill would make it clear having the right to freely practise religion did not give people a licence to discriminate according to their beliefs. 

“I think what Tony Abbott and the others were hoping for was the right to express thier beliefs and bad luck about me. I’m an articulate, relatively wealthy woman who’s able to stand up for myself. A 16-year-old person who’s still questioning their identity doesn’t have the same ability as me to fight back and that’s what I’m really worried about,” Ms Delahunt said. 

“Many of the churches in Australia are extremely powerful and we’re talking about groups of people who have been discriminated against and vulnerable all their lives. When I was younger I had quite a hard time. Not as hard as others but you know when Meg and I first got together I wasn’t able to will her my super because you couldn’t do that if you were gay.

“I have lived through all of that stuff and I don’t want us to go back to a situation where I don’t know if I can gain a service from an organisation because they’re a religious based organisation and they just don’t like lesbians.”

Mr Ruddock will be assisted in the inquiry by Australian Human Rights Commission president Rosalind Croucher, Jesuit priest Frank Brennan and retired Federal Court judge Annabelle Bennett.

There are no terms of reference but the inquiry is due to report by March 31. 

‘I’m still afraid’: Woman raped by relative as child wants spotlight on home abuse

Updated December 10, 2017 10:55:52

It has been 25 years since Hayley Blease was last raped by a family member, and all it takes is a certain scent or mannerism for the sickening memories to rush back.

“It can be something as simple as someone walking down the street who smells like him, or talks like him,” she said.

Ms Blease endured the physical abuse and callous betrayal of trust for eight childhood years.

She was told she would be killed if she told a soul.

If you or anyone you know needs help:

“I was so young, I didn’t know if it was right or wrong,” Ms Blease said.

“He would come and get me [from the lounge room] at certain times of the night and it got to a point where I would have to come to him.”

The Canberra girl suffered in silence until she confided in an art teacher who became alarmed by her drawing of a man’s eyes and arms towering over a frightened little girl.

“My mother was called, Year 11 and 12 were pretty much down the drain and it was straight to court,” Ms Blease said.

But the family member walked free, because at the time a guilty rape conviction required a witness to the crime.

Masking the abuse with a smile, Ms Blease developed severe mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and an eating disorder.

“Sadly I tried to kill myself twice back then,” she said.

But resilience prevailed.

Ms Blease has since moved to Sydney where she advocates for more support for sex abuse survivors all around Australia, including by starting her own support group called Be Brave.

When she is not raising tens of thousands of dollars for charity through extreme sporting challenges — including taking on a 100-kilometre bike ride — she is meeting with politicians around the country in an attempt to drive change for survivors.

Ms Blease has long been calling for the establishment of a special body of professionals and survivors to help protect children at risk of abuse.

But as a royal commission into institutional abuse prepares its final report, those in power are finally listening.

‘It’s not the monster in the dark’

Institutional child abuse has been in the spotlight since the royal commission began in 2013.

But with police figures showing more than half of all abuse occurs at home, Ms Blease wants the council to ensure the royal commission’s findings are applied to protect children abused in all settings.

“[Because] it’s usually people that you trust,” she said.

“It’s lawyers, it’s doctors, it’s fathers, it’s brothers, it’s uncles — it’s people that you know.

“It’s not the monster in the dark.”

Lack of specialised support

ACT Policing statistics show 58 per cent of all reported sexual assault occurs in the home and the latest Victims of Crime report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that family members are the perpetrators in one in five cases.

Carol Ronken from the child sex abuse victim charity Bravehearts said she believes a stronger focus on prevention is crucial.

And Ms Ronken agrees that a dedicated group of professionals, advocates and survivors is needed to drive the change.

“I think what we will see is government investing into these recommendations as they’re handed down,” Ms Ronken said.

“But we also need survivors and advocate groups like Bravehearts, like Broken Rites, like Forgotten Australians, all of us working together as a collective to ensure those findings are implemented in the best interest of survivors.

“We need … to use this as a movement of change.”

Bravehearts does not have the funding to run its education, risk management and child protection programs in the ACT, despite offering them in most other jurisdictions.

“If there was funding for us to open up here in Canberra we’d be here in a heartbeat,” Ms Ronken said.

“Unfortunately there is no specialised expert service that deals specifically and holistically with child sexual assault here in the ACT — and that’s the case in most states and territories.”

While ACT Health’s specialist Child at Risk unit delivers provides basic child protection training for ACT public school staff, Ms Ronken said there needs to be more comprehensive education and regular discussions with teachers and families, because stigma still prevents children from speaking out.

ACT Children’s Commissioner Jodie Griffiths-Cook has been in talks with Ms Blease about tackling her proposal locally and said it could be beneficial.

She said there was a need for more awareness around the signs of sexual assault and grooming.

“I think it is about knowing what those signs might look like, so if you see a bit of evidence they can put that together and say ‘this is something I want to chat to someone about, just to make sure’,” Ms Griffiths-Cook said.

‘I’m still afraid’

ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said he was confident the royal commission’s recommendations would go beyond legal reform to sufficiently improve education and counselling.

And he said the ACT Government would ensure those recommendations were implemented.

He said any specific oversight body would need the input of all states and territories.

“Because it can often take so much time for people who have been abused as children to disclose that, to be able to seek support, consistency across jurisdictions is important,” he said.

“The ACT Government is determined to do what we can [for] those people who have been through such profoundly painful circumstances.”

With Ms Blease’s trauma yet to fade, she hopes the spotlight on abuse will only get stronger.

“I’m still afraid that he’ll come back and get me,” she said.

“[But] I won’t stop talking and sharing my story until things change.

“Because once we stop talking then people stop listening and the kids can’t be heard.”

Topics: child-abuse, community-and-society, royal-commissions, law-crime-and-justice, canberra-2600, act, australia

First posted December 10, 2017 08:23:26

Motorcyclists deliver Christmas joy in annual Toy Run

While Santa is normally seen at Christmas delivering presents in a sleigh, in Canberra they were seen delivering gifts in a rather different mode of transport.

More than 800 motorcycle riders, many dressed up as the man in the red and white suit, took to the streets of Canberra on Saturday morning to take part in the ACT Motorcycle Riders Association’s annual toy run.

Now in its 37th year, the event saw riders from Canberra and surrounding areas do a lap of the city starting at Old Parliament House, before returning to donate toys, money and food to charities ahead of the festive season.

Toys were donated to The Salvation Army as part of its Christmas appeal, while food and more than $4000 in donations were given to St John’s Care.

The motorcycle association’s vice president Jen Woods said preparation for the toy run had been underway for several months.

“We let the individual groups do their own donations and they bring it in to hand over on the day, but there’s a lot of planning for a ride like this,” she said.

“The motorcyclists have been conducting the toy run for a long time, and we just keep on doing it.”

As well as motorcycling groups from around Canberra, several other groups from Eurobodalla, as well as Yass and Goulburn, also took part.

“We also had Defence Force riders, and there was a good presence from them,” Ms Woods said.

“The ACT postmen always come along as well and donate over the years, and there were riders from ACTION buses as well.”

As well as the ride itself, there was also a competition to find the best dressed riders, with many dressed in Santa costumes.

While they needed help with the Santa suit, many of the motorcyclists had no troubles with the beard element of the costumes.

Many of the bikes themselves were given a makeover in Christmas decorations.

“There are many generous motorcycling communities, and they love to come together and show off their bikes,” Ms Woods said.

“People are able to differentiate between the ordinary motorcyclists and the bikies.”

With Christmas just around the corner, Ms Woods said the donation of food and toys will go a long way at this time of year.

“We know from the delegations from The Salvation Army and St John’s Care that all these supplies are critical at Christmas time,” she said.

Zookeeping is more than getting up close with cute animals

Posted December 09, 2017 08:00:00

Zookeeper Bec Scott begins her day caring for the tallest animal at the National Zoo and Aquarium — Hummer the giraffe.

She hoists his breakfast of lucerne and wattle five metres up a pole.

“Hummer … gets quite hungry, so we head down there first thing in the morning to put his food out,” Ms Scott said.

She then checks and washes his feet before letting him out into his enclosure.

“Hummer is 16 years old and he needs work on his feet, they do get a little bit overgrown sometimes,” Ms Scott said.

“He might step on a pebble or get some dirt stuck up inside his hooves, so before we let him out we hose them out and do any care on them.”

Ms Scott then drives her buggy around to the deer where she rakes up all the droppings.

“It’s a pretty epic job; they have tiny little poos and they’re everywhere.”

The deer also need some extra TLC.

“Our deer get sunburnt ears over summer, so every three days we’ll pop a bit of powdered sunscreen on their ears.”

The tigers are up next, and again it is time to get out the pooper scooper.

“Every day we go in, pick up the poo, we scrub the water bowl and check for anything that’s in the enclosure that’s abnormal,” Ms Scott said.

It’s then on to the lions to clean their enclosure, check their teeth and feed them.

After lunch, it’s time to check on Hummer again.

“We give him some more food because he likes to browse throughout the day and if he runs out of food he gets a bit antsy.”

Ms Scott spends the afternoon running the Meet a Cheetah encounter where visitors get the chance to pat Jura the cheetah.

Hummer’s enclosure is then cleaned and the tigers are given access to their dens.

“We put something in their dens as well, whether it be a scent or some tree leaves or another toy,” Ms Scott said.

All of the animals are given a final check and observations are recorded before heading home for the day.

“A key part of our job is to report and make observations on all of our animals, whether there’s anything behaviourally different, they might be coming into season, or pregnant, or unwell,” Ms Scott said.

“It’s a busy day.”

Every day is different

Many of the keepers at the National Zoo rotate through looking after different animals which each have individual requirements.

“I like the everyday challenges; you don’t exactly know what you’re going to get until you turn up,” Ms Scott said.

“Animals are such incredible personalities to work with. You get the cranky ones, the ones who’ve had a bad day, or ones that are just playful that day.”

Ms Scott has been a zookeeper for 16 years and she enjoys how varied the job can be.

“Even picking up the poo is fun. You grow to love it,” she said.

“You’re being active, out in the open air and getting up close and personal with your animals.”

Hard work rain, hail or shine

But there is a lot more to being a keeper than pats and cuddles.

“A lot of people think that all we do is sit around and pat our animals all day, but only about 2 per cent of our day is that, if that,” she said.

“Zookeeping is quite a physical job, there’s a lot of hard work.

“We have to be out in the weather; regardless of whether it’s sunny or windy or rainy, the animals still need to eat and have their enclosures cleaned and so those days can be quite trying.”

And some days can be extra challenging.

“Sometimes you might come in and find that you have an animal that is unwell,” Ms Scott said.

“When you’re working with that animal every day, it can be quite trying to realise that your animal is not in its best shape.

“That is a reality that we have to face … and we work really hard to make that animal better as soon as possible.

“Seeing animals recover from an illness or an injury is quite rewarding as well.”

Topics: zoos, people, animals, human-interest, careers, canberra-2600, act

Former Canberra jockey riding Highly Geared in memory Samara Johnson at Rosehill

Samara Johnson loved anything purple, so it’s fitting friend and fellow jockey Rachel Hunt will wear her favourite colour in a touching tribute on Saturday.

Racing NSW have cleared the way for Hunt to wear a purple helmet and silks with Johnson’s named stitched into the leg after the 25-year-old died in a single-vehicle crash on Sunday.

Hunt will be riding with a heavy heart aboard Canberra mare Highly Geared at Rosehill as the racing community rallies to pay respects to Johnson’s life and support trainer Garry Kirkup, who is still in hospital.

There will be a video tribute to Johnson at the course in what will be an emotional moment for her friends and family.

Kirkup was brought out of an induced coma on Tuesday night and will watch the race from Canberra Hospital, where he is battling organ complications but remains in a stable condition.

Canberra trainers have come together to train Kirkup’s horses, including eight-year-old Highly Geared, while he recovers.

Hunt lived next to Kirkup and Johnson when she was completing her jockey apprenticeship in Canberra and is still coming to grips a heartbreaking year.

Hunt moved to Sydney six months ago following the death of her best friend and Canberra track work rider Riharna Thomson – and said the racing community has pulled together during such a tough year.

“The best thing we can all do is be there for each other, it’s already a hard situation but made even harder with Riharna as well, she was one of my best friends,” Hunt said.

“When I first moved to Canberra I lived across the stables from Garry and Samara and they were the first people I got to know and were really good to me.

“Everyone knows each other in Canberra racing, we’re a close-knit family and I feel a huge amount of responsibility to do the best I can and do Garry and Samara proud on Saturday.

“I feel very honoured and blessed to ride for them and happy the horse still gets to run, hopefully I can do them proud because that’s what everyone is trying to do getting the horse ready.”

Kirkup and Johnson shared stables with Doug Gorrell and Johnson rode her last winner aboard Gorrell’s Liabilityadjuster at the Young Cup on October 7.

Gorrell has taken responsibility of Kirkup’s 12 horse this week said it had been a joy working with the pair every day and that he’d miss their morning banter.

“They have a great sense of humour and I used to piss myself laughing at the banter we’d have all morning over our wash bay walls,” Gorrell said.

“She was half his age but they were inseparable in work and play, just two peas in a pod who were madly in love.

“It’s just so sad and really not fair, she was too young and busy to not be with us anymore and I’m worried sick about Kirky, just a horrible thing to lose your partner.

“They’ve been so wonderful to me, they had 75 years of wonderful horse knowledge between them and they’ve helped me no end since I’ve got into the business.

“She was a great jockey and thinking this summer about having a crack at riding professionally, Kirky was convinced she’d make a good jockey and a lot of people thought the same, but unfortunately we’ll never know.”

Canberra jockey Kalina Bone echoed the sentiment ans said her best friend would have made a terrific jockey.

“Samara was a great rider and helped me a lot with my riding when I started doing track work in Canberra, she was amazing horseperson and just really talented,” Bone said.

“If she she could have got her weight down a bit she could have been a good professionally jockey because she rode plenty of winners at the picnics.

“Samara and I were both really close to Riharna and when that happened earlier in the year we were there for each other a lot, that was really hard to deal with and now this has happened.

“It’s such a big loss and is going to be so hard to deal with, she was my best friend and it’s just been such a tough year which has really rocked everyone.

“It’s such a small community and because we’re all so close everyone just came together straight away… it helps so much when you don’t have to have to go through it by yourself.

Gorrell said there had been “countless helpers” getting Highly Geared ready for Rosehill and it would be amazing to see the $34 shot pull off an upset.

“She’s an easy mare to train and keep fresh but it would be a fairytale if she could do something special in honour of Samara and give Kirky a kick along,” Gorrell said.

Highly Geared has won $311,420 since she was bought as an untrained four-year-old for just $12,000 in 2013 and Kirkup’s son Ben is the majority owner.

“Dad came good for about an hour on Wednesday and fortunately I filled him in on Highly Geared and he was happy with the jockey selection and happy we were racing,” Ben said.

“Rachel Hunt was in Canberra and has been riding really well Sydney, she knew Samara and we thought it would be nice to put a connection there with the jockey.

“Samara’s parents and brothers are going to come to the race and it’s such tragic circumstances but a win would certainly put a smile on some people’s faces in what has been a very terrible time.”

Couple feared only one of them would live to see same-sex marriage legalised

Updated December 08, 2017 17:18:52

Glenda and Jennifer Lloyd have endured an on-again-off-again marriage, but that all ends at midnight.

The couple were married for “five days of bliss” under ACT law in 2013 before the High Court ruled the territory was inconsistent with the Federal Marriage Act.

A small ceremony in the United States made their marriage official again, but that joyous moment in Baltimore meant their regular trips to the US took on a bittersweet tone.

“Every time we travelled to America the plane would come into land and we’d be like ‘we’re married again!'” Glenda said.

“And then when we took off we’d say ‘ah, now we’re not’, so that was quite difficult.”

But with the law taking effect in Australia in the first seconds of Saturday morning, that odd sensation of only being married when the geography is just right is coming to an end.

“I think we should just stay up … [and] wait until the clock comes around,” Glenda said.

“It’s a bit like waiting for new year.”

Glenda feared Jennifer would not live to see SSM legalised

And as they count down the seconds, it will put to bed one of Glenda’s biggest fears.

The Lloyds — Glenda changed her name to match Jennifer’s by deed poll rather than marriage — have been watching the clock on same-sex marriage perhaps closer than most.

Jennifer has terminal cancer and Glenda said the tears flowed freely after they watched the bill pass the House of Representatives.

“[Jennifer] was saying ‘are you alright?’ and I said ‘I was just so worried that this would happen after you were gone’,” Glenda said.

“It was a genuine fear that I would still be here and Jennifer would be gone and I would be seeing this enacted without her there to celebrate with.”

But now their marriage will be officially recognised by Australia and it is so much more than a symbolic gesture for them.

Gone are questions about next of kin, which are particularly important due to Jennifer’s stints in hospital.

“And even what’s written on the death certificate is different if you’re not actually married, so it’s really good to have that sorted out,” Jennifer said.

“We probably won’t really think about that until afterwards, and then you’ll think ‘oh that’s good that … it’s clear’.

“[There’s] no question about whether it’s marriage or not.”

Topics: marriage, gays-and-lesbians, cancer, canberra-2600, act, australia

First posted December 08, 2017 17:14:30

Nothing innocent about visit to sex offender’s home, prosecutors say

Three men accused of trying to break into a sex offender’s home after seeing a video of him molesting a girl were not just stopping by to borrow a cup of sugar, a jury heard on Thursday.

They were not “politely knocking on the door for a chat”, the prosecutor Rebecca Christensen said.

She told the ACT Supreme Court jury the men were there with the intent of harming or threatening the 62-year-old man.

But barristers for the men said the Crown relied on a witness, the alleged victim, whose inconsistent accounts of what happened that morning raised doubts.

The trial has heard that one of the men, Paul Arthur Palmer, 39, had a video on his phone that the sex offender had filmed of himself molesting an underage girl.

Mr Palmer told police that he went to the man’s home only to bang on the door, show the man he had the video and to educate him.

He said police had the video days ago but had not done anything about it.

The Crown says that at about 7am on February 20, Mr Palmer, along with Daniel James Nicholas, 32, and Joshua Darcy Watson, 33, went to the house and, armed with a knife, tried to force entry to hurt or threaten the man.

They have all pleaded not guilty to one count of attempted aggravated burglary.

In her closing address, Ms Christensen said the men were frustrated by what they saw as the police’s lack of action, though detectives were pursuing the case.

She said the Crown did not say the men should not feel upset, angry, or even livid about the sex offender’s acts.

She said that explains why they did what they did.

But no type of vigilante justice was acceptable, the prosecutor said, and when people take the law into their own hands the law says it will not be tolerated.

She described damage to the front door that was consistent with people trying to break in, she said.

The knife police found outside the house had a bend in the tip consistent with being used in the lock, Ms Christensen said.

The alleged victim hid in his room and called triple-o, which was more consistent with people trying to break in, she said.

That the men tried to flee from police revealed their guilty mind, she said.

But barristers for the three men said there were inconsistencies in the victim’s account, and a close look at the evidence would give the jury a doubt.

Barrister for Mr Watson, Beth Morrisroe, said there was no damage to the lock despite allegations one man was using a knife and to try to open it.

She said the man never told the triple-o operator about a knife, but “wouldn’t a weapon be the first thing you’d scream down the line?”

Barrister Alyn Doig, for Mr Nicholas, questioned how a door with minor damage could show a serious attempt to enter the premises.

He said the man first told police he heard yelling for him to open the door, and there was a lot more reality in that than his different account months later.

It “doesn’t cut the mustard”, he said.

And the barrister for Mr Palmer, James Sabharwal, suggested the alleged victim may have embellished what happened.

He questioned whether the alleged victim had really heard wire being used in the lock from his second floor bedroom.

“You might think he had bionic hearing,” he said.

The jury retired to consider its verdicts about 1pm Thursday.

They will return on Friday to continue deliberating.

Did you know the Vatican is home to an Indigenous art collection?

Updated December 07, 2017 16:18:55

Alongside the work of Michelangelo and Raphael at the Vatican in Rome is a collection of Indigenous Australian artefacts and artworks.

“Few people know that more than half the works in the Vatican Museums are from outside of Europe,” Father Nicola Mapelli told ABC Radio Canberra.

“There are more than 80,000 objects from all over the world.”

Father Mapelli is the director at the Vatican Ethnological Museum and is in Australia this week to launch a book about the Vatican’s Indigenous Australian collection.

In an effort to learn about the origins of the artefacts, Father Mapelli travelled to the Kimberley region and the Tiwi Islands.

“When we went to reconnect with the communities … we asked the people about their ancestors, about the objects and about their meaning,” he said.

“We have a keen interest in Australian and Aboriginal culture.

“The first permanent exhibition of the Vatican Museum has been dedicated to Aboriginal Australia.”

The collection includes some of the earliest preserved Pukumani funeral poles from the Tiwi Islands, artworks from the Kimberley, and gifts given to popes on their travels.

Vatican officials claim the collection is one of the museum’s most visited exhibitions.

“We have more than 6 million visitors [to the Vatican] every year,” Father Mapelli said.

“More than 30,000 people every day are passing in front of these Pukumani poles or the other objects that came from Aboriginal Australia.

“It’s a way to educate people about Aboriginal culture and spirituality and to engage with the spirituality.”

Gifts of exchange

Father Mapelli said the Ethnological Museum had not been an active collector like other museums.

“Many objects came as a gift of exchange in the 1850s from the Benedictine community of New Norcia in Western Australia,” he said.

“A second group of objects came for a great exhibit that was organised in the Vatican in 1925 from the Kimberley region and the Tiwi Islands.”

The museum catalogue, Australia: The Vatican Museums Indigenous Collection, is being launched in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra.

Topics: indigenous-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander, indigenous-culture, art-history, religion-and-beliefs, library-museum-and-gallery, human-interest, canberra-2600

First posted December 07, 2017 16:13:17