Sydney siege inquest reveals final moments
An inquest into the deadly siege at Martin Place has heard how hostage and Lindt cafe manager, Tori Johnson, was made to kneel before he was shot once in the back of the head. The inquest also revealed 38-year-old mother of three and barrister Katrina Dawson was hit by fragments of police bullets that had ricocheted off hard surfaces, one of which struck a major blood vessel. The Glebe Coroner’s Court heard details of the 17-hour siege which took place on December 15 when gunman Man Haron Monis took 18 customers and staff members hostage. Counsel assisting the coroner, Jeremy Gormly, SC, explained Mr Monis arrived at cafe around 8:33am and asked to be moved to a different table before requesting to see the manager. Staff said they saw Mr Johnson become distressed as he spoke with Monis and asked one member to lock the front doors. “Everything is OK, I want you to be calm,” Mr Johnson reportedly told staff before Monis stood up and declared he had a bomb. The inquest heard how two police snipers took out Monis after 2:14am, when he appeared to shoot Mr Johnson in the back of the head without warning. Monis shot twice at police but died instantly after being struck by at least 11 bullets or fragments. Mr Gormly said the inquest would expose any “defects in the management of the siege” and would look into Monis’ criminal history.
“Bribes” and “wrongdoing”: parliamentary inquiry into police bugging operation
Deputy police commissioner Nick Kaldas has accused an internal affairs unit, formerly run by Commissioner Andrew Scipione and deputy Catherine Burn, of “massive wrongdoing and habitual illegal acts” in regards to a secret bugging operation which occurred over a decade ago. The operation, codenamed Mascot, is subject to a parliamentary inquiry following a long-standing investigation into revelations surveillance warrants were issued for at least one journalist and police officers not under suspicion of any illegal activity. Mr Kaldas claimed the illegal actions of the Special Crime and Internal Affairs (SCIA) unit were “sanctioned and covered up” by the Police Integrity Commission. Mr Kaldas is one of the more than 100 police and civilians who were bugged by the operation between 1999-2000. His submissions were published as the hearing began this morning, shortly after the committee’s chairman and MP for the Shooter and Fishers party, Robert Borsak, accused the NSW attorney-general of trying to bribe him into withdrawing from the inquiry. An internal police operation was launched to investigate Operation Mascot in 2003 but the report has never been released. Mr Kaldas and Ms Burn are expected to give evidence on Friday, with Mr Scipione and NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour to appear on Tuesday.
Three members of Perth family killed in South Africa
Three members of a family have been found dead in their South African home, with one daughter in critical condition and one son injured. Martin van Breda, his wife Teresa and son Rudi were reportedly murdered with an axe in their home approximately 50 kilometres east of Cape Town. The family had lived in Perth for six years before returning to South Africa last year. The 16-year-old daughter was rushed to hospital with severe head trauma and a severed jugular, emergency services said. The 20-year-old son suffered minor bruising to his arms and was treated at the scene. Police have not made any statements over possible motives.
Jordan willing to make prisoner swap
Jordan has said it is willing to swap a would-be suicide bomber on death row for the Jordanian pilot who has been held hostage by the Islamic State since December. The statement, released by government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani, made no mention of captive Japanese journalist Kenji Goto who is also under threat by IS. The group had given a 24-hour ultimatum for the release of Iraqi prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi or they would execute Goto and Muath al-Kaseasbeh. The second Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, was executed last week after Japan failed to meet a ransom of $200 million within a 72-hour deadline.
Three dead after Hezbollah attack
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed by a Hezbollah missile fired at a military vehicle on the border of Syria and Lebanon. Seven soldiers were also injured in the attack, which saw Israeli forces retaliate in southern Lebanon with a shell attack which left a Spanish UN peacekeeper dead. Hezbollah released a statement claiming responsibility for the attack on the convoy and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to make those responsible “pay the full price”. The attack is thought to be a retaliation for an Israeli air strike on January 18 which killed six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general. – Compiled from internet sources by Naomi Winner
Top photo by Rebecca Hopper.
From Monday to Friday during the summer break The Macleay Newsroom will present this daily summary of news highlights. The full Newsroom service returns on February 4, 2015.