Daily News Roundup

August 15, 2019

Cardinal George Pell could be released from custody next week if his appeal against his child sex abuse convictions is successful.
Image: ABC News

THURSDAY August 15

Cardinal George Pell could be released from custody next week if his appeal against his child sex abuse convictions is successful.

The Victorian Court of Appeal will determine whether to overturn Pell’s convictions for sexually abusing two choirboys when he was archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. 

It was announced that judgment will be handed down on Wednesday, August 21. 

Last December a jury found Pell guilty of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four counts of committing an indecent act with a child. He is the highest ranked Catholic cleric ever to be convicted of child sex abuse. 

Three judges have scrutinised the case and will take their seats behind the bench to announce their decision from 9:30am on Wednesday. 

The proceedings will be live streamed on the Supreme Court of Victoria’s website. 

There was controversy during the appeal when lawyer for the Crown, Christopher Boyce QC, accidentally told a packed courtroom the name of one of Pell’s victims. Victims of sexual abuse cannot be publicly identified. 

It was edited out of the live-feed broadcast around the world, which had a 15-second delay. 

Of the two boys Pell is said to have abused, only one gave evidence. The other died in 2014 having never reported the alleged abuse to police or his family . 

During the appeal Mr Boyce argued that the complainant was a “very compelling witness”.

Pell has been in solitary confinement in a Melbourne jail since being convicted, while waiting the result of his appeal. 

He has been visited by Melbourne’s most senior Catholic, Archbishop Peter Comensoli. 

“My role as a priest is to visit those in prison. So you know, I visited him, I visited other prisoners,” Archbishop Comensoli told ABC Melbourne on Wednesday. 

Pell is on 23 hour solitary confinement and only has an hour outside of his cell per day. 

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Researchers want to mass-farm a native Queensland seaweed, which stops cows burping methane in an attempt to help cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

A previous study by the CSIRO discovered adding a small amount of Asparagopsis to a cow’s diet reduced the amount of gas it produced by up to 99 per cent. 

It found the chemicals in the algae diminished the microbes in cows stomachs which caused them to pass air. 

Associate professor Nicholas Paul from the University of the Sunshine Coast said if enough of the algae was grown it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Australia by 10 per cent. 

“When added to cow feed at less than 2 per cent of the dry matter this particular seaweed completely knocks out methane,” he said.  

He said the next step was to find a way to start “scaling up” production. 

“Up until now people have been collecting the seaweed from nature, so wild harvest. We have the demand but we don’t have the supply,” he said. 

Researchers have begun conducting trials to answer “biological questions” about farming the seaweed including determining which strains would reproduce effectively.

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The sister of a man who allegedly went on a stabbing rampage in Sydney’’s CBD has apologised for the incident which left a woman dead and another injured. 

Mert Ney is under police guard at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital after undergoing surgery.  

The woman, who asked not to be named, spoke of her brother’s “descent into insanity”, saying she believed it triggered his alleged actions on Tuesday which sparked a major police operation and left part of the city in lockdown. 

She apologised to the victims, 24-year-old Michaela Dunn and 41-year-old Linda Bo who is recovering in hospital. 

“I want to say that I’m really sorry,” she said. 

“All the words that I can say isn’t ever going to bring her [Michaela] back is it?

“She was like defenceless and everything.”

Ms Dunn was found dead in a central Sydney apartment at 3:00pm on Tuesday. 

Her family has been notified and although police said they “appreciated the public support” they have requested privacy. 

Mr Ney’s sister said she now “hated” her last name now and described her brother’s actions as “despicable”. 

“In the past week, it’s obvious that he’s had a steep descent into insanity because, as the media has already reported, he has absconded from hospital,” she said. 

“We thought he was a threat to himself.”

The ABC confirms that Mr Ney had been in a domestic dispute with one of his sisters last week. 

He was reported as a missing person by his family and attended the GP around that time.

It is believed that he also took himself to the emergency department at Blacktown Hospital. 

Mr Ney is still in hospital and it is still unclear when he will face formal charges. 

Commissioner Fuller said the incident could have resulted in a “lot more” people dying and is a “live and ongoing investigation”.

He said the matter was still not considered a “terrorist incident”.

“It may take weeks or months, and obviously one of the key investigative strategies will be interviewing this individual when he’s released from hospital, hopefully this afternoon.”  

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