Daily News Roundup

February 25, 2020

AP: Mark Lennihan


Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein faces up to 25 years in jail after being convicted of rape and sexual assault by a New York jury.

Once one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers, Weinstein, 67, was convicted of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006, and the third-degree rape of Jessica Mann, a one-time aspiring actress, in 2013.

He faces up to 25 years in prison on the sexual assault conviction and four years on the rape count.

But the jury acquitted Weinstein on two counts of predatory sexual assault, which carried a potential life sentence, and the first-degree rape of Ms Mann.

Judge James Burke ordered Weinstein to be taken to jail immediately.

Court officers surrounded Weinstein, handcuffed him and led him out of the courtroom via a side door without the use of the walker he relied on for much of the trial.

Weinstein’s lawyers said he was being taken to New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail, and said they would appeal.

Weinstein’s lawyer Arthur Aidala quoted Weinstein as saying to him after the verdict: “I’m innocent. I’m innocent. How can this happen in America?”

Another of his defence attorneys, Donna Roturno, said: “Harvey is unbelievably strong. He took it like a man.”

During his trial, Weinstein often appeared feeble, entering the courthouse using a walker. He sometimes leaned on Ms Rotunno for support.

Weinstein made his mark with critically acclaimed films such as The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love.

But more than 80 women, including famous actresses, accused him of sexual misconduct stretching back decades.

He had denied the allegations and said any sexual encounters were consensual.


Dreamworld’s parent company Ardent Leisure could be fined up to $3 million if it is prosecuted and found criminally liable over the theme park ride tragedy in 2016.

An inquest into the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi revealed a litany of failures at the Gold Coast theme park dating back decades — including “shoddy” record keeping and safety systems that were “rudimentary at best”.

In handing down his findings on Monday, coroner James McDougall said he suspected Ardent Leisure “may have committed an offence under workplace law” and referred the company to the Office of Industrial Relations to weigh up the case.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said an experienced independent prosecutor would examine the coroner’s findings and material to determine what — if any — breaches have occurred.

“We will allow them to do their work,” she said.

“It depends on the category, whether it is seen as reckless or serious breaches, but [penalties] range from a maximum of $1.5 million to $3 million [in] fines, as well as for individuals up to about $600,000 and possible jail as well.”

The four victims were killed when their raft on the Thunder River Rapids Ride collided with an empty vessel and flipped in October 2016.

The inquest heard a water pump feeding the ride had broken down, causing water levels to suddenly drop.

Mr McDougall said if a qualified engineer had properly inspected the ride, the accident could have been prevented and it would have been shut down.

“It was simply a matter of time,” he said.

“That time came on the 25th of October 2016.”

He said there was no evidence a thorough risk assessment of the ride was ever done.


A man and woman were facing Court in Cairns today, charged with manslaughter over the death of a three-year-old boy inside a childcare centre minibus last week.

Police allege the boy, who was picked up from a home in Mount Sheridan to attend a Goodstart Early Learning centre last Tuesday morning, was left inside the minibus unattended for several hours before being found dead at 3:00pm.

The alleged driver of the bus, a 45-year-old Bentley Park man and a 34-year-old centre employee from Manunda, who was also on the bus, have been charged with one count each of manslaughter.

In a statement, Goodstart Early Learning said it had stood aside two educators from its Edmonton centre after the charges.

“Both educators were offered counselling and appropriate support after the tragic incident,” the statement said.

“We can confirm that we have a senior manager from Goodstart in Cairns who is working closely with the Queensland Police Family Liaison Officer to ensure we do all that we can to support the family of the little boy during this tragic time.

“In addition, we continue to provide counsellors for Goodstart staff and families and we have a team of highly trained trauma specialists in Cairns, working to help parents of children who may have been affected by the events of last Tuesday.”

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