17 Dec

Claremont serial murders accused arraigned

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The man accused of the Claremont serial killings has been formally arraigned ahead of a lengthy trial next year, reiterating his intention to fight the allegations as the fathers of two victims watched on.
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Bradley Robert Edwards pleaded not guilty in Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court in July to all charges against him including the murders of 23-year-old Jane Rimmer, 27-year-old Ciara Glennon and Sarah Spiers, 18, in 1996 and 1997.

All three women were last seen in the Claremont entertainment strip in Perth’s affluent western suburbs after a night out.

The bodies of Ms Rimmer, a childcare worker, and Ms Glennon, a lawyer, were discovered in bushland weeks after they were killed, but the body of Ms Spiers, a secretary, has never been found.

The 49-year-old is also accused of attacking an 18-year-old woman after breaking into her Huntingdale home in 1988, and abducting a 17-year-old girl in Claremont then raping her at Karrakatta Cemetery in 1995, just under a year before Ms Spiers disappeared.

Edwards, who was a Little Athletics coach and reportedly an electrical engineer, was formally arraigned in the Supreme Court on Friday, when he again had the charges read to him and entered not guilty pleas to all eight.

Don Spiers and Denis Glennon have attended Edwards’ previous appearances and again watched on in the public gallery.

At his first Supreme Court appearance earlier this month, prosecutors applied for a trial before a judge sitting without a jury.

That was expected considering the huge amount of media coverage about the case over the past 22 years and will be determined at a hearing on November 1 when the extent of disclosure of sensitive material to the defence team will also be discussed.

It will take up to two months to hear pre-trial applications and Edwards may continue to appear in court via video link from jail, rather than in person, until the trial.

He has been at Hakea prison since he was charged with two of the murders in December 2016.

Edwards was charged with Ms Spiers’ murder in February.

Trial dates, starting May 1, have been set aside but defence lawyer Paul Yovich has indicated that may be too early.

The case, dubbed Operation Macro, has gripped WA for decades and is believed to be ‘s longest-running and most expensive police investigation.

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17 Dec

BUSINESS NEWS: Newcastle startup Decktec shakes up the decking market with its deck spacing assembly product

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Labour of love: Decktec founder and carpenter Peter Hass with company general manager Steve Byrnes. Picture: Simone De PeakTHE Hunter inventor of a new decking system believes it can slash by at least half the time involved in building a deck.
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Carpenter Peter Hass came up with the idea for Decktec while he was doing a deck for a client in 2015.

“It was the middle of summer, I was on my knees all day in the sun and fixing every deckingboard to every joist, andI just thought there has to be something,” he says.

He searched online and in stores for an alternative before hitting the drawing board. About 18 months later he had a prototype for Decktec, a finalist in the HIA Hunter Housing awards 2018 for new product innovation.

Decktec isa deck spacing assembly that sits on the joist of a deck and allows a builder to lay boards with precision. Protecting the joists and allowing the timber to move, it has fixed and removable spacers and can be used with all natural timbers.

Mr Hass said a key benefit was that once laid down, boards can be laid from multiple positions rather than just one point as is standard: “If you have to lay a beer garden in one day, there’s never been a way you can work from two ways, but using this you can have 10 tradies on one deck –no other system allows that,” he says.

Decktec is for sale in some independent hardware stores, is exporting to NZ and intends to soon be in Canada, the US and UK.

Not bad considering that when Mr Hass and his mate and Decktec general manager Steve Byrnes travelled to Chinaplas, the largest plastics and rubber fair in Asia, all appeared doomed.

“We werelooking to see if the product could be manufacturedat all because it’s a long skinny piece of plastic for the deck strip, and there are not many of those, andwe weretold it couldn’t be done,” says Mr Byrnes.

Back in , the duo were flat but after “headbutting a lot of doors” and due diligence, they found a Sydney manufacturer.

Decktec canbe used when replacing existing decking boards that are binding, cupping or rotting. Mr Hass says its biggest market will befor tradies, but that it will also appeal to DIYers.

“Once you get it down, you can’t go wrong,” he says.

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17 Dec

Hayne slams greedy banks, weak regulators

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Pure greed is behind the widespread misconduct by ‘s major banks and financial institutions who have ignored the law “because they can”, banking royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC says.
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The financial services companies appear to believe the law only applies when and if they chose to obey it and weak regulators have let much of the misconduct go unpunished, Mr Hayne’s interim report concludes.

The commissioner was blunt about why misconduct had occurred in the financial services industry.

“Too often, the answer seems to be greed – the pursuit of short-term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty,” he said.

“How else is charging continuing advice fees to the dead to be explained?”

Banks searched for their “share of the customer’s wallet” and rewarded staff from the executive suite to the front line by reference to profit and sales.

Mr Hayne said the banks have gone to the edge of what is permitted, and too often beyond that limit, in the pursuit of profit.

“And they have gone beyond the limit because they can and because they profit from the misconduct that is described in this report,” he said.

Mr Hayne said risk to reputation was ignored and the discovery of misconduct was “managed” by words of apology and promises to do better.

“But little more was done than utter the apology and make the promise.”

He said programs to compensate customers were eventually set up but usually after protracted negotiation, with profit remaining the informing value.

Mr Hayne was particularly scathing over the $1 billion, industry-wide problem of people being charged fees for financial advice when no service has been delivered, which he labelled dishonest and inexcusable.

“Whether the conduct is said to have been motivated by greed, avarice or the pursuit of profit, it is conduct that ignored the most basic standards of honesty.”

Mr Hayne slammed the regulators ASIC and APRA for failing to mark and enforce the bounds of permissible behaviour, saying the misconduct either went unpunished or the consequences did not meet the seriousness of what occurred.

His interim report released on Friday noted ASIC rarely went to court to seek public denunciation of and punishment for misconduct, while APRA never did.

He said more often than not little happened beyond an apology, a drawn-out remediation program and protracted negotiation with ASIC of a media release, an infringement notice imposing fines immaterial for the big banks or an enforceable undertaking where the penalty was far less than a court could impose.

Mr Hayne criticised ASIC for adopting a starting point of resolving misconduct issues via agreement and for its reluctance to prosecute companies for the criminal offence of failing to report breaches on time.

“Too often, entities have been treated in ways that would allow them to think that they, not ASIC, not the parliament, not the courts, will decide when and how the law will be obeyed or the consequences of breach remedied.”

n Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said it was a day of shame for ‘s banks.

“There is nothing in this report for banks to feel proud of,” she said.

“Too many customers have been hurt and it has to stop.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has demanded the banks and regulators fix an insidious culture of “greed over honesty” outlined in the report.

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17 Dec

Newcastle travel plan models population growth and all modes of movement to build a transport fix

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A NEW 40-year transport plan for Greater Newcastle has been released by the NSW government,promising a range of public transport, road and rail improvements.
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The 158-page Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan 2056 follows a 61-page draft document made public in November last year in tandem with a draft of the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036, which was finalised and launched earlier this month.

The report is heavily skewed towards wanting people to use more public transport, notingthat more than 80 per cent of trips in Greater Newcastle are by private vehicle, with public transport accounting for just 3.2 per cent of travel during the week, and 1 per cent at weekends.

In a section that will provoke further debate in Newcastle, it continues with a strategy of making parking more difficult and expensive as a way of driving public transport use.

In a statement accompanying its release, a Transport for NSW (TfNSW) spokesperson said the Newcastle plan was one of a series of regional transport plans that sit under a statewide Future Transport 2056 framework.

“The vision for the Greater Newcastle Future Transport plan is for the region’s residents, businesses and visitors to have access to a world class transport system that meets everyone’s needs,” a TfNSW spokesperson said.

“We want to provide customers with more choice around how and when they travel, with turn-up-and-go services on high demand routes, on-demandsolutions for more geographically isolated regions and better integration with train stations around Greater Newcastle.”

As always, the reality looks somewhat different from the spin, with many of the proposals – extensions to the light rail and Stockton ferry services being prime examples –described as being many years off in the future.

Progress on light rail extension to Broadmeadow and John Hunter

Priority buses are seen as a precursor to any light rail extension while the Stockton ferry expansion –including possible “on-demand” services related to the proposed cruised terminal–are 10 to 20 years off for the “investigation” stage.

ONE DAY MAYBE: A triangular Stockton ferry service or a ferry to Carrington remains off in the future. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Corridor protection for the Hexham to Fassifern freight rail bypass is in the same category, while electrification of the heavy rail line from Wickham to Maitland –which has been demanded for decades –is more than 20 years away away as one of six“visionary initiatives” in the plan.

Covering the five local government areas of Greater Newcastle –Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Maitland and Port Stephens –the plan describes the sorts of transport systems and developments the bureaucracy believes will be needed as Greater Newcastle grows in population.

Although it says Greater Newcastle is “growing rapidly” with population expected to rise from 575,000 to 760,000 by 2056, this is anincrease of 0.75 per cent a year –well under the national average of 1.7 per cent and much less than Greater Sydney’s growthof more than 2 per cent a year.

With successful public transport heavily dependent on population density, Greater Newcastle’s relatively slow growth will likely be a factor as future governments look where to spend money on public transport and road and rail infrastructure.

Over the next 40 years, the plan sets a target of more than doubling public transport’s share of travel from 3.2 per cent now to 7.55 per cent in 2056.

ACTIVE TRANSPORT: Bykko hire bikes arrived this year in Newcastle. The plan promotes more cycling and walking on short journeys. Picture: Simon McCarthy

On walking and cycling, it sets a target of 17 per cent, compared with the 2015-16 figure of 7.5 per cent.

In comparisons withWaterloo and Halifax in Canada, Portland in the US, Cardiff in the UK and Malmo in Sweden, the plan says Greater Newcastlehas“relatively low shares of public transport and walking and cycling in comparison to similar cities internationally”.

But it also notes that: “A large proportion of Greater Newcastle is rural, semi-rural or has low population and employment densities. It is often not cost effective to provide frequent scheduled public transport services to these areas due to their distance to centres and lower level of demand.”

The information on how and why people travel in Greater Newcastle comes from the state government’s Household Travel Survey, in which 5000 households are surveyed at random across the Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra regionsevery year, with about 3000 to 3500 participating.

The government describes the survey as “the largest and most comprehensive source of personal travel data” available for the region, and the Greater Newcastle plan usesfive years of information,from 2011 to 2016,as well as journey to work data from the 2011 Censusin its calculations.

As part of its pro-public transport stance, the plan includes a section on parking in “strategic centres” that positions parkingas an influence on public transport.

“Previous parking policies have focused on providing parking to meet the demand in centres,” the plan says.

“However, ease of parking results in traffic congestion, decreases the viability of public transport and detracts from the amenity of places as they focus on vehicle access and not access for people.”

It says “sustainability” rather than demand should drive parking supply, citing a need for parking turnover and a push for the “reallocation of all day parking away from centre that are supported by strong public transport networks”.

The plan proposes using on-street parking for short stay uses only and reducing time limits for on-street parking.

It proposes using a “progressive reduction of relative parking supply or pricing as a travel demand management tool to encourage mode shift to public [transport] and active transport [walking and cycling]”.

Across the board, the plan lists 39 transport “initiatives”, which it breaks into four areas: committed within 10 years, for investigation inside 10 years –and then between 10 and 20 years –and “visionary” projects for 20 years and on.

A rapid bus package –a precursor to more light rail –is in the 0-10 year section, as are further improvements to Nelson Bay Road, faster services on the rail line to Sydney and a series of public-transport-related projects including on-demand services (already being runin Lake Macquarie by Keolis Downer) and various “smart” technologies.

The Stockton Ferry route extensions are in the 10-to-20-year section,along with work to “begin the preservation of a corridor” for a north-south high-speed rail running through the region.

The plan stresses the importance of Newcastle Airport to the region, but any improvements to Tomago Road as an airport link from the Pacific Highway are also in the 2026 to 2036 time scale.

Newcastle Airport

Apart from electrifying the Maitland rail line, other “visionary” initiatives include new suburban rail services, including “additional services on the existing rail lines”, a passenger rail service from Newcastle to Cessnock and better freight connections to western NSW.

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17 Dec

Banks put profits before people: Treasurer

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the culture and conduct of the financial sector have fallen below community standards, with greed and profit coming before honesty and integrity.
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Speaking just after the release of an interim report of the royal commission on Friday, Mr Frydenberg said banks and other financial institutions had “put profits before people”.

He said it was clear bad behaviour had permeated the culture of the big banks, with misconduct going largely unpunished.

“This interim report is a frank and scathing assessment of the culture, conduct and compliance of our financial system,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne.

“ns expect and deserve better.”

The three-volume interim report offered a blunt assessment of the reasons behind misconduct in the banking sector.

“Too often, the answer seems to be greed, the pursuit of short term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty,” the commission said in its report

“How else is charging continuing advice fees to the dead to be explained?”

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne said in the report banks had searched for their “share of customers’ wallets”.

“From the executive suite to the front line, staff were measured and rewarded by reference to profit and sales.”

The commission found when misconduct was revealed, it either went unpunished or the consequences did not meet the seriousness of what had been done.

“The conduct regulator, ASIC, rarely went to court to seek punishment for misconduct. The prudential regulator, APRA, never went to court,” the report said.

“Much more often than not, when misconduct was revealed, little happened beyond apology from the entity, a drawn out remediation program and protracted negotiation with ASIC of a media release, an infringement notice, or an enforceable undertaking.”

Mr Frydenberg said it was clear regulators had been working far too closely with the sector and needed to be stronger in stamping out bad behaviour.

However, he argued whatever the criticisms of the regulators, it was important to remember financial institutions themselves were responsible for the misconduct.

“So they are ultimately – and the individuals involved are ultimately – the ones who must be held accountable and responsible for their actions,” the treasurer said.

“It is incumbent upon those in the financial services sector and those regulators who are charged with enforcing the law lift their game, because the public deserve it and the public expect it.”

Mr Frydenberg again made it clear that if the royal commissioner asks for an extension, it will be granted but no such request had been made.

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said if Labor won the next election, it would establish an “implementation task force” to deliver the recommendations of the commission’s final report, which is due on February 1.

“Labor is announcing that we’ll crackdown on the sickening rorts and rip-offs that have been exposed through the royal commission,” she said.

“Under a Shorten Labor government, Chris Bowen as treasurer will report to the parliament every six months on progress in implementation until the recommendations of the royal commission are fully implemented.”

She pointed out the Liberals fought “tooth and nail” against establishing the royal commission.

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17 Dec

Streisand slams Trump with new song

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Barbra Streisand says she ‘kind of dedicates’ her new album to young people who are speaking out.When Barbra Streisand started writing lyrics for her new political song, “Don’t Lie to Me,” she initially aimed for “very subtle” references to President Donald Trump. But she couldn’t help herself.
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“I just went ballistic,” she said.

“Don’t Lie to Me,” released on Thursday, finds a passionate Streisand questioning the nation’s leader and pleading for change.

Lyrics include, “How do you sleep when the world keeps turning?/All that we built has come undone/How do you sleep when the world is burning?/Everyone answers to someone.”

“I just can’t stand what’s going on,” the Oscar, Grammy and Emmy winner said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“His assault on our democracy, our institutions, our founders – I think we’re in a fight. We’re in a war for the soul of America.”

“Don’t Lie to Me” appears on her new album, “Walls,” her first project of mainly original tracks since 2005. It will be released Nov. 2.

Streisand, a proud and outspoken Democrat who has campaigned for politicians over the years, said she felt moved to write original music because of what’s happening in today’s world.

“Don’t Lie to Me” came to life during a road trip. Streisand said listening to the news in the car “was making me sick, listening to lies, listening to things that are such craziness.” So she turned on music and felt motivated to write a new song.

“I wanted to talk about the things that were making me feel so sad, heartbroken,” she said.

“I’m a kind of fierce American. I don’t know who we are anymore as a country. Are we embracing people who flee oppression? Or are we separating children from parents, putting them in cages? I don’t know if people care about the planet, the survival of the planet. Do they care about clean air? Clean water? Clean food? If they do, how could they vote for somebody like Trump, who believes it’s a hoax?”

Streisand adds, “I’m frightened for this country. And yet, I have hope.”

Streisand, 76, said she “kind of dedicates this album to the young people who are speaking out.”

“It’s important that people vote. It’s important that people believe in the power of their own voice and how much that changes things. It’s like the kids speaking out, the Parkland kids,” she said.

“It’s easy to feel powerless now but we’re not if each of us speak up and get out and vote.”

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17 Dec

‘Wicked’ NSW murderer awaits jail sentence

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Daniel James Holdom, who killed a young mother and her toddler daughter in NSW and dumped their remains 1200 kilometres apart, has issued an eleventh hour apology after hearing of the impact of his “grave crimes”.
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But Justice Robert Allan Hulme seemed unconvinced.

“I’ll have to think about whether I give that any weight at all. Why should I?” the judge said to Holdom’s barrister, Gregory Woods QC, at a sentence hearing in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

Holdom, 43, pleaded guilty in July – one week ahead of his trial – to the December 2008 murder of his girlfriend of two months, Karlie Pearce-Stevenson, 20, and Khandalyce Pearce, aged two-and-a-half, about four days later.

Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s remains were found in the notorious Belanglo State Forest in 2010, but were not identified until her daughter’s remains were discovered in a suitcase dumped beside a South n highway in 2015.

Her mother’s unidentified body was for years known as “the Angel of Belanglo” due to a t-shirt she was found wearing with the word “angelic” on it.

She had bone fractures indicative of being forcefully stomped on or kneed in the chest, the agreed facts state.

“This was a thrill kill, as evidenced by the taking, collecting and keeping of the trophy photographs he took of Karlie around the time of her death,” crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC said.

Her blonde toddler, suffocated by Holdom “probably” in a hotel room in Narrandera, was found with balls of dishcloth stuffed in her mouth, layers of tape wound from her chin to her eyes, and a disposable nappy wrapped around her skull.

“Both murders fall within the worst case and can aptly be described as atrocious, detestable, hateful, gravely reprehensible and extremely wicked,” Mr Tedeschi said.

He is calling for two life sentences for the man behind their “callous, depraved and grossly heinous” deaths.

Holdom also used bank cards and personal papers to steal more than $70,000 from Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s accounts, and a mobile phone to create “false indications” to her family that she and Khandalyce were alive.

The victims’ birth father and grandfather, Bruce Pearce, says the hatred he feels for Holdom is “consuming”.

“I wake from nightmares with the fear that you will get away with what you’ve done,” Mr Pearce said in a victim impact statement.

“The one question that I want you to answer for me is a simple one – Why?

“I would like to see the death penalty for you but even that would not be enough.”

Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s mother, Colleen Povey, died from breast cancer in February 2012.

“Her very last distinguishable sentence … Is Karlie and Khandles here yet?,” Karlie’s stepfather, Scott Povey, said in his statement.

“I was holding her hand when she died and I knew that Karlie was not coming.”

The court heard Holdom has committed another 20 fraud offences, and was behind the wheel of a car between Alice Springs and Adelaide when it crashed, leaving his then-partner in a wheelchair and killing her two children.

Mr Woods argued his client suffered a deeply abusive childhood and should serve lengthy jail time but not life.

Holdom is listed for sentence on November 9.

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17 Dec

UK far-right activist court case adjourned

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A fresh contempt of court case against far-right activist Tommy Robinson has been adjourned by a judge at the Old Bailey.
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The former English Defence League (EDL) leader, 35, was greeted by cheers from more than 100 people gathered outside court, who had earlier chanted his name.

Protesters from a smaller counter-demonstration carried placards saying “oppose Tommy Robinson”.

Robinson was ushered into court amid a large police presence as photographers and cameramen jostled for position.

Asked if he was feeling confident, Robinson told the Press Association: “Yeah, quietly.”

The Recorder of London Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC adjourned the case, saying he would receive written submissions before making a ruling on whether there will be a substantive hearing at a later date.

Tommy Robinson, wearing jeans, black trainers, and a grey checked jacket sat behind his barrister Richard Furlong in court.

He was referred to by his real name, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, throughout the brief hearing.

Robinson was released from prison last month after three leading judges quashed a finding made at Leeds Crown Court in May, and granted him conditional bail from a 13-month jail sentence.

Robinson, whose case is listed under his real name, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is alleged to have committed contempt of court by filming people in a criminal trial and broadcasting footage on social media.

He could face being sent back to jail if the is found to have been in contempt, with the maximum sentence is two years imprisonment.

Robinson was jailed in May after filming people involved in a criminal trial and broadcasting the footage on social media, and has already served the equivalent of a four-month sentence.

He was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment for contempt of court, which he admitted, and a further three months for breaching a previous suspended sentence.

In May last year he faced contempt proceedings over footage he filmed during the trial of four men who were later convicted of gang-raping a teenage girl.

A judge at Canterbury Crown Court gave him a three-month suspended sentence and told him his punishment was not about “freedom of speech or freedom of the press” but about “justice and ensuring that a trial can be carried out justly and fairly”.

Robinson appealed against both contempt findings at a hearing last month heard by Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, Mr Justice Turner and Mrs Justice McGowan.

They found the judge at Leeds should not have commenced contempt proceedings that day.

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17 Dec

Beckham avoids speeding prosecution

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David Beckham has escaped a speeding prosecution on a technicality.David Beckham will not be prosecuted over a speeding charge after the celebrity lawyer dubbed “Mr Loophole” successfully fought the allegation on a technicality.
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Former England soccer captain Beckham, of Holland Park in west London, was accused of driving a loaned Bentley at 59mph (95km/h) in a 40mph (65km/h) zone on the A40 in Paddington, London, shortly after 5.30pm on January 23.

Despite accepting driving the car at that speed he will not face action because a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) was not received until one day after the statutory 14-day time limit.

His lawyer Nick Freeman told reporters Beckham, who was not in court, was “very relieved with the verdict and very happy with his legal team” after the trial at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Mr Freeman previously helped Beckham overturn an eight-month driving ban in 1999 after successfully arguing the footballer was trying to escape a paparazzi photographer.

After hearing witnesses from both London’s Metropolitan Police and Bentley Motors Ltd, District Judge Barabara Barnes said she was satisfied that the NIP had been sent in time, but had simply arrived later than it should have.

It was one of 3,487 NIPs sent by Scotland Yard on February 2, which go first class, and should have arrived at Bentley, as the registered keepers of the vehicle, no later than February 6.

But she was satisfied it did not arrive until February 7, having heard evidence from Colette Hollies, who has collected post for the legal department at Bentley twice a day for the past nine years.

Mr Freeman suggested the matter may simply have been a case of poor postal service, citing a subsequent letter sent first class by Bentley to Scotland Yard which took eight days to arrive.

He said: “Unfortunately and sadly some post attracts problems. There might be nobody at fault here.”

Summing up, the judge said the law allowed for the “vagaries” of the postal system to be taken into account.

She said: “In this case I’m satisfied that the NIP was indeed sent within the 14 days to allow for it to be delivered within the 14 days…

“The defendant in this case cannot be convicted.”

Mr Freeman, who trademarked the nickname “Mr Loophole” in 2008, gained fame after helping a host of A-list clients hold onto their driving licences.

He counts former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and England cricket star Andrew Flintoff among his celebrity clientele.

Beckham made his name at Manchester United in the 1990s before going on to play for Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, and also earned 115 caps for the national side.

He retired from playing in 2013.

He and his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria have built up a multi-million pound empire through Victoria’s eponymous fashion house, clothing lines with retailers and product endorsements.

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17 Dec

Gardner makes sound return from concussion

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Allrounder Ashleigh Gardner has made a promising return from her latest concussion-related break.Exciting women’s n cricket allrounder Ashleigh Gardner has made a successful return from her latest bout of concussion.
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The renowned big-hitter smashed an unbeaten 39 off 29 balls and took 0-12 from two overs, as beat a Cricket XI by nine wickets with seven overs to spare in a T20 clash at Sydney’s Manly Oval on Thursday.

The hit out served as a warm-up game for before Saturday’s opening T2O international against New Zealand at North Sydney Oval.

Gardner missed last weekend’s opening round of the women’s National Cricket League after she was struck on the helmet while batting in an intra-squad match two weeks ago.

She suffered three separate knocks to the head in the space of 12 months, which forced her to miss an Ashes one-day international last year and two women’s Big Bash League fixtures for the Sydney Sixers.

Gardner opened the bowling with her offspin and then struck a quartet of boundaries and two sixes when batting first drop.

“The six she hit off that short ball was pretty impressive, so it was nice to see here get that demon off her back and hit the ball as sweetly as she did,” said player of the match Beth Mooney.

The pair shared an unbroken second wicket stand of 88 with Mooney top-scoring with 54 from 38 deliveries.

She stroked 10 boundaries before reached their target of 125 in just 13 overs.

The Cricket XI was restricted to 5-124 with uncapped legspinner Georgia Wareham leading the attack with 2-25 from four overs.

Wareham pressed her claim for a debut against New Zealand by snaring the wickets of n representatives Naomi Stalenberg and Nicole Bolton, who top scored with 42.

Asked if Wareham was ready for the international arena Mooney replied: “I think so, she’s got a very mature head on her shoulders and a really good skill set.”

Meanwhile, uncapped Victorian quick Tayla Vlaeminck is unlikely to be available until game two of the three-match series after she suffered a quadriceps strain during her WNCL opener.

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