Archive for Current Cases

Woman Ordered To Pay Neighbour $120k For Suggesting He Was A ‘busybody’

A Manly woman has been ordered to pay a former neighbour $120,000 for suggesting he was a “busybody” during an email dispute about unlocked mailboxes in an apartment complex.

Gary Raynor was awarded $90,000 in damages and $30,000 in aggravated damages after a NSW District Court judge found he was defamed by former neighbour Patricia Murray.

Mr Raynor’s lawyers claimed a 2017 email written by Ms Murray suggested he was: “a small-minded busy body who wastes the time of fellow residents on petty items”.

Manly resident Gary Raynor was awarded $120,000 in damages today. (9News)

He also claimed the email suggested he harassed her, acted menacingly and sent malicious emails to humiliate her.

Ms Murray had sent the email to the 78-year-old and other residents, to ask him to stop emailing her about locking her letterbox.

“To avoid further harassment, I’ve not replied to your provoking mailbox emails. However, your consistent attempt to shame me publicly is cowardly,” Ms Murray wrote.

Amid reports of thefts from mailboxes in the area, Mr Raynor had sent a number of emails to residents as chair of the Strata committee of the building.

Mr Raynor’s lawyers claimed a 2017 email written by Ms Murray suggested he was: “a small-minded busy body who wastes the time of fellow residents on petty items”. (9News)

Lawyer, Hugo Aston Acted For Mr Lysaght

A man who has pleaded guilty to using an internet dating site to groom a child for sex has said at his sentencing hearing he did it partly because he was feeling neglected by his wife.

Jeremy Lysaght is awaiting sentencing for grooming an underage girl on Filipino Cupid.

Jeremy Paul Lysaght, 43, has admitted he began speaking to women on dating site Filipino Cupid in 2015, including one who was under the age of 16.

Lysaght told the Sydney District Court he believed he had an alcohol problem and was drinking heavily at the time, which he said “removed inhibitions” and contributed to his offending.

He said he was having problems with his marriage and he was “not very intimate” with his wife when he began speaking to the underage girl online.

“I think I felt neglected for a period of time,” he told the court.

Lysaght said that was one reason he believed he committed the offence.

He said speaking to girls online “made me feel good and appreciated” and he was flattered by the attention which gave him an “ego boost”.

He also said he was “feeling quite down” at the time and believed he had depression and anxiety, and although he had not been diagnosed he was planning to see a psychologist this month.

When Justice Peter Maiden questioned why he had not sought help for his mental health earlier, Lysaght said it could be tough for people to admit they have a problem.

Justice Maiden responded: “You have a problem with sexualised fantasies about young girls.

“The offender appears to have little insight into his offending behaviour.”

Justice Maiden ordered the case be adjourned so Lysaght could be assessed by a psychologist and a report be prepared on the sexual nature of his offending.

Lawyer Hugo Aston has Charges Dropped

Christine Jiaxin Lee used the error to buy luxury goods, authorities had claimed

Australian prosecutors have dropped charges against a Malaysian woman who allegedly withdrew A$4.6m (£2.6m; $3.5m) following a banking error.

Christine Jiaxin Lee, 22, was alleged to have spent much of the sum on luxury items, such as jewellery and handbags.

The money was mistakenly made available to her by Westpac bank. Police had claimed the withdrawals in 2014 and 2015 constituted fraud.

Prosecutors did not give a reason for withdrawing the charges.

Ms Lee’s lawyer, Hugo Aston, said she was relieved.

“She has returned to Malaysia with her family and is happy to be getting back to her normal life,” he told the BBC on Friday.

Many items purchased by Ms Lee had been seized and returned, Mr Aston said.

Unlimited Overdraft

The former Sydney University student opened the bank account in 2012 and had mistakenly been given an unlimited overdraft.

Money was then withdrawn over an 11-month period until the bank realised the error in 2015.

Ms Lee was arrested at Sydney Airport last year and charged with obtaining financial benefit by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

Her lawyer told a court in Sydney that although Ms Lee had been dishonest, she had not committed any deception because the error had come from the bank.

The chemical engineering student, who lived in Australia for five years, has been declared bankrupt.

A Westpac spokesman said the bank had “taken all possible steps to recover its funds”.

Last year a magistrate told prosecutors that the spending may not have been illegal, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“It isn’t proceeds of crime. It’s money we all dream of,” magistrate Lisa Stapleton was quoted as saying.

Lawyer, Hugo Aston Has Charges Dropped

SHE was alleged to have spent millions on designer goods after her bank accidentally gave her an unlimited overdraft in a “big, fat error”. But all charges have now been dropped.

A STUDENT who was alleged to have spent $4.6 million on designer goods — after the bank accidentally gave her an unlimited overdraft — has had all her charges dropped.

It was alleged Christine Jiaxin Lee, a 21-year-old Malaysian resident who is studying at Sydney University, realised she had an unlimited overdraft in July 2014 and then went on a multimillion-dollar spending spree for 11 months.

Prosecutors said her extravagant purchases included designer handbags, clothes, jewellery, mobile phones and a vacuum cleaner. She was alleged to have stocked up on Hermes, Chanel and Dior products before her bank, Westpac, caught on.

Christine Jiaxin Lee was accused of fraud. Source: FacebookSource:Facebook

However, prosecutors dropped charges against the chemical engineering student after a similar case involving a man charged with fraud for withdrawing $2.1 million from ATMs was thrown out of court.

Her lawyer told Hugo Aston told the Daily Telegraph Lee would be moving back to Malaysia following the outcome of the case.

“She is happy it is behind her, and to move on with her life,” he told the newspaper.

“There was no deception.

“It’s a very interesting case, and an interesting outcome.

“It is obviously clear the bank should adopt better policies.”

It is unclear whether the seized items will be returned to the student.

The error was picked up by the bank in April 2015 and a senior manager phoned Lee, demanding she explain where the missing millions were.

She previously claimed she believed the money had been transferred into her account by her parents.

Lee was arrested in May 2015. Source: Facebook.Source:Supplied

When she found out police were trying to contact her about the money, Lee is understood to have arranged for herself to be granted an emergency Malaysian passport.

Prosecutors alleged she did this so she could leave the country undetected.

Lee was arrested in May 2015 at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport when she tried to board a flight to Malaysia.

Senior banking officials told the Daily Telegraphthe bungle was a “big, fat banking error”. They admitted they were forced to track down more than $1.3 million Lee allegedly hid in multiple private accounts.

A Westpac spokesman said: “Westpac has taken all possible steps to recover its funds, including taking civil action against Ms Lee.

“The criminal charges against Lee were a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and police, and we respect their decision.”

Wife says husband who attacked her and lover with tyre lever is ‘not violent’


THE husband who brutally attacked his wife and her lover with a tyre lever is not violent and remains a close friend, his spouse said today.

Robert Andrew Mann, 30, was yesterday sentenced to 12 months in jail for his vicious assault on Jaimi-Lee Atkinson, 26, and her then-boyfriend Jeremy Sampson. He had tracked them from the couple’s Tamworth home to Sydney using the Find My iPhone app.

Terrifying footage of the June attack shows Mann, armed with a steel rod, dragging a screaming Ms Atkinson out of a vehicle in a Parramatta car park before she runs away. He then leaned into the car and punched Mr Sampson up to 30 times, before returning his attention to his partner of 13 years.

Jaimi-lee Atkinson, 26, and three of her five children.Source:Facebook

Standing over her, he shouts: “Thought you got away from me, didn’t you?”

Ms Atkinson can be heard begging bystanders to call the police.

The mother of five accompanied Mann to court, where he pleaded guilty on two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, one count of intentionally destroying/damaging property and one count of driving on a suspended licence.

Ms Atkinson today told “Me and my ex are only friends. We will remain close friends. I’ve spent the majority of my life with him.

“Our marriage is over, too much has been done to repair our marriage, but for our children, the stuff that’s happened in our marriage isn’t their fault. We need to be there for them.

“People have made him out to be some kind of animal who bashed me and someone else and that wasn’t the case. He didn’t hit me.”

Mann arrives at Parramatta Local Court for sentencing yesterday. Picture: John GraingerSource:News Corp Australia

Asked whether she had been able to forgive her husband for the attack, Ms Atkinson said: “There is some sort of forgiveness there, but this story that’s been publicised through the media is not what happened. I don’t know where the media got that from. It’s a load of crock.”

She said reports at the time that there was an AVO (apprehended violence order) in place were inaccurate. “There was no domestic violence, no police involved. Robert was never an abusive partner or husband.

“What happened that night was a one-off thing, we had a lot of personal issues leading up to what happened that night, and it just got to the point where something happened he regrets a lot. I regret what happened leading up to that.

“I had a miscarriage, he was working away from home, long hours … I was basically doing it by myself. He was only home one or two days a week and when he was home, he was sleeping. It put a lot of pressure on our marriage.

Robert Andrew Mann is heard shouting ‘thought you’d got away, didn’t you?’ in terrifying iPhone footage of the attack.Source:Channel 7

Ms Atkinson was by her husband’s side as he was sentenced at Parramatta Local Court yesterday.Source:Channel 9

“I’ve suffered, he’s suffered, our children have suffered from what’s been in the media. We’ve basically been shamed in public for what happened. My children have been bullied at school.

“You can see in the video he was getting cranky there … the cut eye I got was from a broken window during the altercation between the two males. I was very scared about them fighting, like anyone would be.”

She and Mr Sampson were treated by paramedics after the attack before being taken to hospital. Police alleged that when officers later approached Mann, from Wee Waa northern NSW, they were verbally threatened and had to use a taser.

Ms Atkinson continued: “I haven’t been the best wife, I was being unfaithful to my husband. I was having an affair. There was three of us at fault … we’re all sorry for what happened that was publicised and people had to see that. Robert’s very sorry about what happened.

“My main priority now is my children and trying to deal with our personal things. It’s hard on them with their parents separating, without the news talking about all this.

“My son’s going to football training and people are talking about it. The kids knowing Robert, he was never like that … Robert’s not known as a violent person … that stuff never happened.

“My hope for the future is the best life for my children. We just want everyone to know the truth.”

Ms Atkinson said her husband, from whom she is now separated, regularly sees their five children, who are aged between 10 and just under a year old. He lost his job in the cotton industry after the attack.

The 26-year-old says it is too late for her and Mann to resume their relationship, but added: “I still care for Robert deeply, I will forever.”

After pleading guilty to four charges, Mann was sentenced to 12 months’ jail, with a non-parole period of six months, disqualified from driving for two years and fined $300, Nine News reported.

Magistrate Jenny Giles said: “You hunted these two victims, pursuing them across the state in a vengeful, rage-filled vendetta.”

Mann walked free after lodging an immediate appeal and will return to court next month.

Call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) if you or someone you know needs help. | @emmareyn

Former NFP Head Charged With Sexual Assault

The founder and former managing director of disability support organisation Lifestyle Solutions, David Hogg, has been charged over an alleged sexual assault dating back to the 1980s.

On Friday, Hogg was charged by Sydney police with “sexual assault knowing no consent was given” following an investigation that commenced last year. He was granted conditional bail and will appear in court on 24 January 2017.

The charge relates to an alleged incident on 29 July 1988 when the female victim was 16 years old and Hogg, who was known to her, was 35.

Hogg, who was also a winner of Pro Bono Australia’s 2015 Impact 25 award, established not-for-profit organisation Lifestyle Solutions, which provides national support services for people with disability and children living in out-of-home care, in 2001.

He stepped down from his role of managing director in June this year, and Lifestyle Solutions confirmed that he no longer has any involvement with the organisation.

Andrew Hyland, who was appointed CEO in November this year, told Pro Bono Australia News: “David Hogg left the organisation on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 to make way for new leadership.

“We note that the alleged assault was dated Friday, 29 July 1988, pre-dating the inception of Lifestyle Solutions in 2001. David left Lifestyle Solutions in June 2016, and is no longer a director or employee of the organisation.

“As the matter is before the court we cannot make any further comment.”

Hogg declined to comment, but his lawyer Hugo Aston said on his behalf that he would be entering a plea of not guilty.

“He will be vigorously defending the charge,” Aston told Pro Bono Australia News.

Pro Bono Australia will assess David Hogg’s Impact 25 award following the outcome of the court case.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit


Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

Had to give the accessories back then? Student, 21, who ‘spent millions on luxury items after bank mistakenly put $4.6M in her account’ pleads not guilty after fronting court in sneakers and an energy drink cap

  • Christine Jiaxin Lee, 21, pleaded not guilty at Downing Centre Court on Tuesday
  • Her lawyer, Hugo Aston, said they would be ‘vigorously defending the charges’
  • Mr Aston said her family had come to Australia from Malaysia to support her
  • Ms Lee allegedly spent $4.6 million on luxury items after Westpac error

The Malaysian student accused of splurging $4.6 million on luxury items after Westpac mistakenly gave her account an unlimited overdraft has pleaded not guilty.

Christine Jiaxin Lee arrived at Sydney’s Downing Centre Court on Tuesday wearing ripped jeans, a Monster energy drink cap and white canvas shoes.

The 21-year-old’s lawyer, Hugo Aston, told Daily Mail Australia they would be ‘vigorously defending the charges’ of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

Christine Jiaxin Lee arrived at Sydney’s Downing Centre Court on Tuesday to plead not guilty after she allegedly spent $4.6 million when she was mistakenly given an unlimited overdraft

Ms Lee is pictured with a Chanel cushion and luxury handbags, including YSL

We feel confident our client will be acquitted,  Mr Aston said.

Mr Aston said her family have travelled from Malaysia to support her through the matter.

Ms Lee is pictured wearing a Chanel necklace. The 21-year-old was arrested in May

Ms Lee allegedly went on a massive shopping spree after receiving the overdraft. She is pictured with a YSL purse

Representatives from Westpac were in court to observe the matter.

Matt Tregoning, from the bank’s investigations area, told Daily Mail Australia he hoped to see ‘justice’.

Ms Lee sat in court on Tuesday wearing ripped jeans, white canvas shoes and a black singlet. She had a tattoo on her wrist, arm and ankle visible, and had a pink fluffy key-chain attached to her light brown backpack.

As she left the court room, Ms Lee put her Monster energy drink cap back on, a germ mask, and grey hooded jacket.
Ms Lee was arrested in May by immigration officials at Sydney airport as she tried to board a flight to Malaysia.

Some of the handbags seized from Ms Lee’s apartment were by designer brand Hermes (centre two and two at right)

She allegedly spent $220,000 at the Christian Dior shop in Sydney in a single day

The chemical engineering student had been given an unlimited overdraft in a Westpac processing error in 2012.

It is alleged she realised in July 2014 she had an unlimited overdraft and then allegedly went on a $4.6 million spending spree for the following 11 months.

In a single day, Ms Lee allegedly handed over $220,000 at the Christian Dior shop in Sydney.

In April last year, a senior manager from the bank realised the error and called Ms Lee and demanded she account for the missing millions.

Ms Lee has previously claimed she believed the money had been transferred by her parents.

Pictured: Hermes handbags including The Birkin Bag (right) and The Kelly Bag (left) seized from Ms Lee’s apartment in Rhodes

The 21-year-old chemical engineering student from University of Sydney pleaded not guilty on Tuesday

Pictured: The Birkin Bag by Hermes, one of the luxury goods Ms Lee allegedly purchased with the overdraft

Pictured: Hermes handbags. The Rodeo Horse charm pictured on the centre front Hermes Birkin Bag is also by Hermes and sells for about US$1,1500

Ms Lee is pictured with a designer handbag and Moschino sticker or case on her smart phone

Christian Louboutin heels among the items allegedly found at Ms Lee’s Rhodes apartment

Pictured: A Christian Dior handbag at Ms Lee’s Rhodes apartment

Dior and Chanel jewellery seized from Ms Lee’s Rhodes apartment is pictured

The overdraft was put in her account by mistake by Westpac in 2012

Ms Lee’s lawyer told Daily Mail Australia she hopes to return to Malaysia

Ms Lee’s lawyer told Daily Mail Australia her family was supporting her

Her boyfriend, Vincent King, is pictured leaving court earlier in the year

Sydney student accused of $4.6m spending spree pleads not guilty


Christine Jiaxin Lee accused of going on a $4.6m spending spree after a banking error gave her access to unlimited funds. (AAP)


The Sydney student accused of going on a $4.6m spending spree after a banking error gave her access to unlimited funds has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

Christine Jiaxin Lee, 21, was arrested in May trying to board a flight to Malaysia and has been charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

It is alleged Ms Lee transferred $5000 per day over a nine-month period in several bank accounts across Australia and spent $220,000 in a single day at a Christian Dior store in Sydney.

Hugo Aston, the 21-year-old’s lawyer told the Daily Mail his client would be “vigorously defending the charges”.

“We feel confident our client will be acquitted… Her family are fully supportive of her. We are very much a united team,” he said.

The chemical engineering student was given access to the extraordinary amount of funds when Westpac accidentally linked an unlimited overdraw facility to the account she opened in 2012.

A senior manager with the bank released the error in April last year and contacted Ms Lee to question her over the missing millions.

Ms Lee, who has been living in Australia on a student visa, is expected to return to Malaysia at the end of the court case.


Greg was my best mate. Knowing that I killed him … it’s left me with terrible feelings

The thing about the death of Greg Wood at the hands of his best mate, Daniel Gray, is how easy it is to imagine someone you know in the same situation.
Think about the ragged end of a wild bucks’ night in the Sydney central business district. Only two men are left standing after hours of drinking and recreational drug use.
One of the men, Wood, a 33-year-old with a penchant for pushing the limits, has been hassling his mate, Gray, for hours to do something very stupid – to try heroin together for the first time. It’s a couple of days after New Year’s Eve 2009.

Mateship gone wrong: Daniel Gray arrives at court for sentencing. Photo: Ben Rushton
Gray, an honest, thick-set Kiwi now living in Western Australia, refuses for the best part of five hours. But then his resistance fails.

”The biggest mistake of my life was giving in to Greg’s persistent requests to go to Kings Cross and buy heroin, ” Gray says, speaking publicly about what happened for the first time outside the witness box.
After travelling to the city’s red-light district, where Wood buys the drug with ease, the two mates travel back to their cheap hotel and come to the bizarre conclusion that it will be safer if they inject each other.
Wood’s attempt, it seems, is unsuccessful, but Gray is able to tap a vein and sends the heroin home.
Within a couple of hours, it is clear something is wrong – Wood’s lips have begun to turn blue and he has stopped breathing.
Gray tries desperately to revive his mate, attempting CPR and then calling an ambulance, but it is too late. About an hour later, at about 11am, the ambulance officers stop pumping Wood’s chest and take him away.
”Greg was my best mate,” Gray says. ”Knowing that I killed him … it’s left me with terrible feelings … regret, sadness.”
Gray immediately confesses to ambulance officers and police what has happened, telling them: ”It’s my fault … I’ll call his mother and tell her.”
What follows is a protracted legal nightmare.
A coronial inquest into Wood’s death is called and it hears a moving statement in which Wood’s widow Kristen says that her husband was a compulsive risk taker and that she doesn’t want any further action taken against his best mate.
But, as District Court judge Ian McClintock said in sentencing the 39-year-old on Friday, it is the justice system’s job to uphold the law on behalf of the entire community, not just a few individuals. Gray is charged with manslaughter and, some months later, pleads guilty to the charge.
”I cannot express enough to Greg’s family how sorry I am,” Gray says. ”The effects of my mistake have left them without a husband and a father.
”I just want people to know the terrible consequences that can flow … from taking drugs. It will be with me for the rest of my life.”
On Friday, Gray was sentenced to a three-year good behaviour bond, meaning he will not spend a single day in jail over the incident.
McClintock said Gray had taken part in the incident out of a ”misplaced sense of loyalty and mateship” that had ”resulted in a very tragic loss of life”.
”The idea to use and inject the heroin was the victim’s own,” McClintock said. ”It was the deceased who initiated the process of obtaining the heroin … pressing the offender to accompany him to Kings Cross to purchase it.
”He negotiated the purchase and it was he who incited his friend to use it to satisfy his own appetite.
”In light of the very low moral culpability, a sentence of imprisonment would not be appropriate.”
Speaking after the decision, Gray’s lawyer, Hugo Aston, said he believed the good behaviour bond was the right result, but that ”obviously, no one is a winner”.
”When you look at the circumstances of this particular case and these particular facts, quite clearly this man shouldn’t go to jail,” Aston said.
”He just wants to go home, be with his wife and try as best he can to get on with his life.”

See Story as Published in Sydney Morning Herald

Former Wife Confirms Charles Blackman Artworks are Fake

Genevieve de Couvreur, former wife of Charles Blackman, has confirmed that the two paintings recently sold as Charles Blackman paintings for $120,000 were not painted by the 84 year old artist.

“I saw Franki painting them,” Ms de Couvreur said. ”I saw those works in progress.”

Ms De Couvreur declares the Charles may have thought that he painted these, sadly he has been unwell for quite so

Ms de Couvreur accepts that her now 84-year-old former husband may have declared ”I painted that” during one of his two excursions to sign the paintings at the Deutscher and Hackett gallery in Sydney last year, as recounted by the auction house’s executive director, Damian Hackett.

”But look,” she said, ”Charles is sick. He doesn’t have his mental faculties, sadly.”

Barclay Churchill is still looking to discuss this case with the purchasers of these painting’s in this matter, please contact Barclay Churchill on 02 9635 3777

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