Sadistic North Shore rapist Kay placed under supervision order

A serial rapist who preyed on women in Sydney’s northern suburbs will be subject to close supervision, including electronic monitoring, after a court found he continues to be a serious risk of further violent sexual offences.
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Graham James Kay sexually assaulted eight women, aged from 16 to 39, between December 1995 and December 1996 after grabbing them from behind and holding a knife to their necks in “premeditated and planned” attacks.

Kay was only stopped after a 1997 police operation dubbed Strike Force Allier caught him driving around looking for women and following them in Macquarie Park, Glebe and Epping.

The former Rural Fire Service volunteer was released on parole in February 2015 after serving about 18 years of a 20-year maximum jail sentence.

On Friday, the Supreme Court was told Kay had been sacked from his job after the application by the state for an extended supervision order two weeks ago came to the attention of his employer.

In an affidavit, Kay told the court his employer had identified him from media reports despite an interim non-publication order on his name.

Justice Ian Harrison declined to continue the prohibition on identifying Kay when handing down his judgment on Friday.

Kay had been working a job which required a 2am start and travel to and from home on public transport.

The state sought orders that Kay be subject to a high-risk sex offender extended supervision order for three years.

Kay opposed the orders, arguing he was not a high-risk sex offender. The court heard he had been “a model parolee” and has successfully completed intensive treatment and rehabilitation programs.

In a report to the court, two forensic psychiatrists found it likely Kay has sexual sadism disorder, a chronic and relapsing paraphilic disorder.

In granting a three-year supervision order, Justice Harrison said: “I am satisfied to a high degree of probability that Mr Kay poses an unacceptable risk of committing a serious sex offence if he is not kept under supervision.”

Kay will have to abide by a lengthy list of conditions including electronic monitoring and a ban on accessing pornographic, violent and classified material. He is not allowed to legally change his name or use an alias on social media or any other website.

In sentencing Kay in 2000, Justice Robert Shallcross Hulme said the graphic artist attacked most of his victims in a premeditated and planned way.

The attacks took place in Balgowlah, Artarmon, Epping, Eastwood and Wollstonecraft.

“The prisoner’s conduct was calculated to instil in at least some of his victims the fear of death with the concomitant loss of all that life holds, at least unless they bowed to his demands,” he said.

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White supremacist became gun ‘obsessed’ at age five, court told

A radicalised white supremacist who was stockpiling homemade guns has been “obsessed” with firearms since he was five, a court has heard.
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Michael James Holt, 26, pleaded guilty last year to manufacturing and possessing guns, knuckledusters and slingshots at his mother’s house in Windsor, his grandfather’s house in nearby Hobartville and room five at the Tall Timbers pub hotel in Ourimbah.

In an agreed statement of facts, an anonymous caller, who tipped police off to Holt’s gun stash, said Holt often talked about loading weapons into his car and driving to a public place where he would “just start shooting it up”.

He had recently said he wanted to do this at Westfield in Tuggerah on the Central Coast.

In a sentencing hearing in Penrith District Court on Friday, Holt’s lawyer Paul Bodisco emphatically denied that his client had expressed such a desire.

He said Holt was an obsessive gun collector and there was no evidence he had any intention of using them for violence.

He said his client’s offending was “causally related” to his autism spectrum disorder, which led to his obsessive behaviour.

Making guns was “an outgrowth of this fascination he had”, Mr Bodisco said.

He said Holt, who previously told a school teacher that Adolf Hitler was “the greatest person to live”, has been undertaking cognitive therapy in jail to change his behaviour.

He has also been counselled by a reformed white supremacist as part of a deradicalisation program funded by NSW Police.

However, Judge Jeffery McLennan questioned whether he could be rehabilitated.

“He has been obsessed with guns since the age of five,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult isn’t it?”

Holt had dropped out of a business course at Evocca College in Gosford in the lead-up to his arrest in 2015.

He was infatuated with neo-Nazi ideology and once told a school friend that he dreamed of walking through the school shooting students and teachers, the agreed statement of facts said.

The court heard he identified as a member of the Christian Separatist Church, an extreme, anti-Jewish church movement in the US.

On his online profiles, he posted pro-gun violence and anti-government rants, uploaded videos of homemade guns and made “disturbing” posts about killing himself and others after a failed relationship.

When police raided his rented room at the Tall Timbers Hotel, they found eight firearms hidden in the cupboards and a flick knife and slingshot in the fridge.

Some guns were “slam fire” guns, capable of firing a single shot.

Pipes and other gun parts, hand drawings relating to making guns, Nazi memorabilia and white supremacy propaganda were also found.

Prosecutor Alex Brown argued Holt’s online conversations showed an intent to be violent.

“It all points to the fact that there may have been other purposes other than just [gun] collection,” Ms Brown said.

Holt will be sentenced in April.

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Who are you gonna call? Lucky Gattellari, jury told

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 31: Lucky Gattelari is escorted to a police car under special security at King Street court on January 31, 2017 in Sydney, . (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Fairfax Media) Photo: Daniel Munoz
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“Lucky Gattellari is never going to be awarded n of the Year,” said the Crown prosecutor in the murder trial of wealthy property developer Ron Medich.

“But who do you go to if you want to arrange a murder and an intimidation?” posed Gina O’Rourke, SC, to the jury. “If you are the accused, ladies and gentlemen, you go to Lucky Gattellari. That is exactly what he did.”

Mr Medich has pleaded not guilty to the 2009 murder of Michael McGurk and the subsequent intimidation of his widow Kimberley.

Gattellari, the Crown’s key witness, received a discount on his sentence in return for giving evidence against his former close friend. Gattellari has told the jury that Mr Medich paid him $500,000 to organise the murder and intimidation because Mr McGurk and Mr Medich were embroiled in a number of legal disputes which Mr Medich wanted to end.

Ms O’Rourke said the reason Mr Medich approached Gattellari to do the murder was because Mr Medich trusted Gattellari “implicitly” and that he knew Gattellari “was a man prepared to do things that Joe Citizen would not be prepared to do.”

She said that, on Mr Medich’s behalf, Gattellari had been prepared to break into Mr Medich’s brother Roy’s house, follow Mr Medich’s then wife Odetta and chase up debts owed to his friend and benefactor.

The jury heard that Gattellari was financially beholden to Mr Medich and that, in the two years prior to Gattellari’s arrest in October 2010, Mr Medich poured more than $16 million, without any form of security, into Gattellari’s failing electrical businesses.

After six weeks of evidence in the trial, Ms O’Rourke began her closing address to the jury on Friday. But in a dramatic development before she commenced her address, a juror was discharged.

For legal reasons, it cannot be disclosed why this occurred.

After an hour and half’s delay, the remaining jurors were told by Justice Geoff Bellew that “it won’t have escaped your attention” that one of their members had been discharged.

The judge warned the remaining jurors that they were not to speculate about the reasons behind the discharge of the juror.

They were also warned that they were not to have any contact with that person until the trial had concluded.

The trial, which started at the end of January, commenced with 15 jurors. After four days, one juror was discharged and now, at the end of the trial, another juror has gone.

It is customary in lengthy trials to start with a larger jury in case of illness or misadventure.

Once the judge has completed his summing up, which is due to happen next week, there will be a ballot to see which of the remaining jurors will make up the final panel of 12.

At the end of the day Justice Bellew reminded jurors that it was a criminal offence to discuss the evidence outside the confines of the jury room and that they should not make their own inquiries about the evidence.

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City of Sydney’s new plan for affordable housing

Developers building in inner Sydney suburbs such as Potts Point, Darlinghurst and Erskineville will be forced to contribute to building affordable housing across the city, under a new proposal by the City of Sydney to tackle the lack of homes for low-income workers.
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The proposal recommends expanding the council’s current affordable housing policy, which operates only in pockets of the city, across the whole council area – a move which would boost the number of low-income homes by 40 per cent, but likely anger developers.

Under the policy, developers would be required to make a contribution – either a monetary payment to a community housing provider or an in-kind contribution of finished homes in their development for affordable homes – on new building projects across the city.

The levy would be phased in over four years and would create 600 affordable homes to be rented at below-market rates to low-income workers, according to the council’s projections.

Lord mayor Clover Moore, whose independent team has a majority of seats on council, is expected to approve the new strategy.

“Our experience in Green Square and Pyrmont shows affordable housing levies are an economically feasible way to deliver affordable housing without affecting the viability of development,” Cr Moore said.

Currently, the city’s affordable housing schemes are limited to three areas – Ultimo/Pyrmont, Green Square, and the Southern Employment Lands in Alexandria and Rosebery – and are expected to build 1300 homes.

The CBD would be excluded from the policy, as would land controlled by the state government.

In addition to this policy expansion, the council also wants to impose a separate “supplementary affordable housing contribution” on developers whose projects have benefited through changes to the council’s planning controls, such as height rezoning or floor space increases.

Known as the “value added method”, developers will be required to contribute 50 per cent of any increase in land value back to the council on these buildings.

Labor councillor Linda Scott, who supported the proposal, said the community needed to see some benefit from the “enormous windfalls” developers secured through land rezonings.

“This proposal allows for some of the financial benefits to be reinvested into a public good.”

Liberal councillor Craig Chung said the city needed to focus on fostering better relations with the developers who would ultimately be building the homes.

“The changes to the affordable housing policy goes some way towards achieving more affordable housing, but it is unfortunately tarnished by the Clover Moore political team’s blanket opposition to development in general.”

The proposal will be considered at the council’s planning committee on Monday, before going to a vote of councillors on March 27.

Its implementation, however, will be contingent upon approval from the Department of Planning.

The new approach follows a review of the city’s existing housing affordability strategy, which is struggling to reach the goal of providing 11,000 homes for low-income workers by 2030.

The policy is expected to anger developers and associated lobby groups, which oppose such levies on the grounds they undermine the viability of developments and have flow-on negative economic consequences by discouraging building across the city.

The council sought independent economic advice on this issue. It concluded that although there would be an impact to development viability in the short term, the levy could be introduced over four years “to allow for market adjustment”.

Woollahra Council, which represents some of Sydney’s most expensive postcodes, also took its first steps towards formulating an affordable housing policy on Monday.

In a move described by Greens local government spokesperson David Shoebridge as a “key mood change”, the eastern suburbs council agreed to explore the option of using its own property portfolio, as well as changing its planning controls, in a bid to provide housing for local workers who can’t afford to live in the area.

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Rain sends us all a-Twitter with emotion

The March rain sucks, right, but it’s better than the February heat wave, no?
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Yes and no, says one of the world’s first big data tools to monitor collective emotions on a massive scale.

How we all feel at any given time is hard to know. Surveys suffer from relying on people to remember how they felt at a particular time in the past.

We Feel is a data tool from the CSIRO that monitors population emotions in real time by analysing words used in Twitter posts, on a large scale and in real time. It shows Sydneysiders expressed more joy over three days of rain this week than they did during the February heat wave.

Joyful tweets made up an average of 15.42 per cent of English language tweets from Sydney on the three wet days from Wednesday to Friday, which was more than the 11.47 per cent of joyful tweets during three days of heat from February 9-11, when the thermometer soared to 41 degrees.

And if Twitter users are representative, the heat made us crankier too, with anger coming out in 1.15 per cent of tweets in the heat, compared with 1.07 per cent during the rain days.

The differences between February and March may have been exaggerated by system maintenance but the overall patterns seem clear. The tweet stream also seemed to confirm the rainy day blues, registering an average of 4.12 per cent sad words over the three wet days compared with 3.16 per cent over the February scorchers.

“We wanted to see if we can monitor people’s emotional states in real time over parts of the country” says Cecile Paris, senior principal researcher at CSIRO’s Data61.

“We hope it can uncover, for example, where people are most at risk of depression and how the mood and emotions of an area or region fluctuate over time,” said Dr Paris. “It could also help understand questions such as how strongly our emotions depend on social, economic and environmental factors such as the weather, time of day, day of the week, news of a major disaster or a downturn in the economy,” she said.

Project collaborator The Black Dog Institute is using the tool to better understand the prevalence and drivers of emotions. The tool processes 45,000 Twitter posts per minute, on average. The results are visualised online in real time and freely available for use.

Joy has been dominant emotion every day so far this year with peaks on New Year’s Day and most recently, International Women’s Day on March 8. Women tweeted more joy than men in and New Zealand that day, most frequently using words such as happy, great, good, proud, strong, smart and successful. They also tweeted more joyfully than their female counterparts worldwide, with 20.09 per cent of their tweets expressing joy compared with 14.45 per cent the world over.

So far the data has confirmed typical known patterns of mood through the day. Peaks of sadness have been observed in relation to events such as the deaths of cricketer Phillip Hughes and comedian Robin Williams. But “joy tends to be quite high most of the time. It is usually predominant,” says Dr Paris.

“With major events we see sadness increasing a lot, but it doesn’t necessarily overcome the joy either.”

Tweeters expressed the most sadness so far this year on January 20, the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration. An anger peak was reached nine days later, coinciding with widespread dismay and demonstrations at US airports in response to the first ban on immigration to the US from seven Muslim countries.

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