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The teen suspects in the murders of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese are 'trained in war and camouflage', & more in News in 5.

With AAP.

1. The teen suspects in the murders of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese are ‘trained in war and camouflage’.

The father of one of the suspects wanted in connection to the murder of Australian Lucas Fowler and his US girlfriend Chynna Deese says the teens are highly-trained in “war and camouflage”.

A Toyota Rav4 that suspects Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky had been travelling in has been discovered by Canadian police burned-out near the extremely remote town of Gillam in northern Manitoba.


On Tuesday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police named the pair as suspects in a murderous rampage across remote northern British Columbia that included the highway shooting murders of Australian tourist Fowler and his American girlfriend Deese.

McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, from Port Alberni, near Vancouver, are also suspects in the death of a yet-to-be identified middle-aged man found lying near where the teenager’s Dodge pickup truck was set alight on Friday.

lucas fowler chynna deese
Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese. Image: Facebook.
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Gillam is more than 3000 kilometres away from where their burned-out Dodge was discovered.

A petrol station attendant at Split Lake, Manitoba, about a two-hour drive west of Gillam, told CBC News she served the teenagers.

McLeod paid for $20 of fuel while Schmegelsky asked if they could consume alcohol in the community, which is dry.

"The guy who paid for the gas - he was quiet, he didn't say anything, he was just looking down," Mychelle Keeper said.

"They seemed like, I don't know, normal.

"I'm just so nervous right now thinking about it."

Gillam mayor Dwayne Forman told the National Post he was surprised the suspects chose to drive to Gillam because to get out of the town, they would have to turn around and go back along the provincial road they drove in on.

Or they could take to the woods.

Schmegelsky's father Alan told CHEK News his son had told him he and his best friend McLeod had been "training in war" in the woods for more than two years and were masters of camouflage.

Mr Schmegelsky said he had gifted Bryer an Airsoft replica gun for Christmas two years ago at his son's request.

"My son he’s like, they’re huge into video games — all kids are — and two Christmases ago he asked me for an Airsoft gun, which is a replica gun, right?" he told CHEK News.

"So he was telling me: ‘well me and the fellas, we like to go in the woods and play war’ right?

"So knowing that the both of them are totally into that, if there was any threat, they would have done what they’ve actually trained themselves to do and they would have camouflaged themselves in the woods."

Mr Schmegelsky did not believe his son and McLeod had killed anyone, but had witnessed the unidentified man's murder and fled.

"All I can think of is that they were at the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

"They’re both kids, they not violent, they’re good people, never got in trouble or anything right? I’m thinking a murder was committed two kilometres away and somebody decided: 'let’s take care of the witnesses'."

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Speaking through tears, Mr Schmegelsky said: "As a dad, those two boys are still out there. Go find them".

2. Australian mother-of-three found dead in alleged murder in Fiji.


An Australian woman has been found dead in Fiji and her husband is reportedly in hospital.

Fijian media report the woman is mother-of-three Jennifer Downes, who worked for the United Nations in Suva, and her husband is Henry Lusaka John.

Mr John, who is originally from Congo but is an Australian citizen, is at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, according to the Fiji Sun.

A police spokeswoman told the Fiji Sun they were treating the case an alleged murder.

An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman told AAP consular assistance was being provided to the family of the Australian woman.

"Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment," he said.

3. Two Australians dead from contaminated smoked salmon.

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Two elderly people in NSW and Victoria have died after contracting listeriosis believed to be linked to smoked salmon from Tasmania.

The Australian Department of Health is also investigating a non-fatal Queensland case of the infection, which is caused by listeria bacteria.

Smoked salmon was the likely cause of the three cases, which occurred between February and June in people aged over 70, the department said on Wednesday.

The pair who died also had "significant underlying health conditions".

Tasmania's Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett said salmon products from the state were linked to the listeria cases.

"The evidence that I've been provided from the department is that apparently that is the case," he said.

The state's three biggest salmon producers, which are Tassal, Huon Aquaculture and Petuna, have been cleared of any food safety breaches after an investigation by the state primary industries department.

"The three major producers all have appropriate food safety programs in place specific to the seafood industry. This includes listeria management," department chief inspector of primary produce safety Chris Lyall said.

In a statement, Tassal said it was not aware of any evidence linking their companies to the infections.

A Huon Aquaculture statement said the company's cold smoked salmon products were recently tested by health authorities and no positive results for listeria were recorded.

Several people died in NSW and Victoria last year after an outbreak of listeria in rockmelons.

The bacteria can grow in refrigeration systems and produces mild symptoms in healthy people but can be deadly to those with lowered immune systems.

"This is a timely reminder for people to ensure that food is handled, prepared and stored safely, and that those most at-risk of listeriosis avoid certain foods," the federal health department said.

Foods that have a higher risk of contamination include chilled seafood, cold meats, cold cooked chicken and pre-packaged fruit or vegetable salads.

Those at increased risk include pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborn babies and the elderly.

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Symptoms are flu-like, such as fever, chills, muscle aches and nausea.

4. "Nasty and dangerous." Outrage after French film crew is arrested at Adani mine protest.


Foreign correspondents have condemned the arrest of a French news team covering a north Queensland protest.

The Foreign Correspondents' Association Australia and South Pacific (FCA) says the arrest of television correspondent Hugo Clement and his crew this week was "a nasty and dangerous development".

The group working for French public broadcaster France 2 were taken into custody while filming an anti-Adani protest near Abbot Point on Monday.

Queensland police charged the group with trespassing while filming a demonstration, which included two protesters who had locked their hands inside a concrete barrel.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the FCA said the arrests were a concern to every working journalist in Australia.

"To see any arrests or restrictions placed on working media, and in this case arrests of visiting correspondents, is seen by us all as a nasty and dangerous development and threat to the modern democracy for which Australia has been known and admired previously," it read.

"We demand that all foreign correspondents are not impeded in their work in this way again in Australia."

The organisation has sought assurances from Australian state and federal governments that the police action will not be repeated.

"We also seek assurances from all governments in Australia that foreign correspondents will be accorded full respect, courtesies and assistance in carrying out their work here in the future," the statement read.

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It follows Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman's calls for the Queensland Police Service commissioner to explain why the group were charged.

Media union president Marcus Strom has called for the charges to be dropped.

Queensland Police on Tuesday declined to take a firm position on the matter.

"As the trespass matters will be heard in court, it would be inappropriate to provide detailed comment at this time," a police statement said.

Mr Clement told AAP police arrested the crew without explanation.

Online video shows the group identifying themselves as journalists working for public broadcaster France 2.

It comes as the Queensland Resources Council has supported harsher penalties for activists who break the law and commit illegal trespass put before parliament by the state opposition.

5. Businessman Salim Mehajer "grateful" after appeal win.


Embattled Sydney businessman Salim Mehajer says he's grateful a judge treated him like everyone else as he successfully appealed the severity of his sentence for contravening an AVO issued to protect his ex-wife.

The 33-year-old in February was convicted and handed a 12-month community correction order and fined $250 for contravening the apprehended violence order.

But Parramatta District Court Judge Norman Delaney on Wednesday said Mehajer should not be punished for his reputation.

He quashed the sentence, instead convicting Mehajer and placing him on a 12-month good behaviour bond. He's still required to pay the fine.

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The judge said a new set of agreed facts made it clear the community corrections order was "too severe".

"Everybody in this community is entitled to be treated as an individual and (their) criminal prosecution is to be determined on the basis of the actual facts of the specific offence," he said.

"Not on their reputation, not on their background."

Outside court, Mehajer praised Judge Delaney.

"What he said was extremely fair and I'm grateful for him recognising that I'm just like every other individual," he told AAP.

Mehajer's lawyer, Zali Burrows, said her client was bullied by the authorities and the public.

"For everyone else this would have been no big deal," she said. "He gets bullied."

Ms Burrows and Mehajer later on Wednesday headed to another courtroom to discuss bail conditions previously varied by Judge James Bennett.

That bail is in relation to allegations Mehajer staged a 2017 crash in which his Mercedes AMG collided with another vehicle just before he was meant to appear in court over a taxi driver assault.

His bail was varied in July, with Mehajer now allowed to possess a phone but only access the internet via mobile data with the SIM to be registered with the police.

Mehajer on Wednesday requested permission to use a different phone while his main one was repaired - a process Ms Burrows said could take one to two days.

But a prosecutor noted the officer in charge had contacted the phone company and been told the repair could be done in one day.

"The Crown also notes that this is the second phone he's had since the bail variation," Kate Kenny told the court.

Mehajer told the judge, however, he'd only ever had one phone at a time.

"The phone stopped working. I asked if I could have a new phone," he said, explaining that new phone now needed to be fixed.

Ms Burrows said her client had also been put on notice for breaching his bail conditions for receiving what she says are automatic emails from Instagram.

Mehajer is banned from using "any social media platforms" including Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.

Judge Bennett allowed Mehajer to access Instagram at Auburn Police Station to disable the alert that was triggering the emails before adjourning the matter to Thursday.

Tags: current-affairs , news-3 , news-in-5 , news-stories
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