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"He was a good guy." Juror in Justine Damond's murder trial opens up about the case, & more in News in 5.

— With AAP.

1. “He was a good guy.” Juror in Justine Damond’s murder trial opens up about the case.

One of the jurors who helped put away an American police officer over the shooting death of Australian woman Justine Damond, has reflected on the jury’s decision to find Mohamed Noor guilty of third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

The juror, who spoke anonymously to Minneapolis radio station KARE 11, told radio host Lou Raguse that Noor “seemed very genuine”.

“I don’t think he was a bad guy. I think he was a good guy. By all accounts during the trial, it seemed like he had good training, was a good cop. And unfortunately, he just made the worst mistake he could in about two or three seconds time. I feel bad for the guy. I feel bad for his family,” the juror said.

Mamamia’s daily news podcast The Quicky speaks to a reporter who was in the courtroom when the Justine Damond verdict was handed down.

The juror said though it was a mistake, Noor was not above the law.

“Even if you have a split-second decision, you’re still responsible for the decisions you make. Police officers have to adhere to their training. Part of that is following the mental checklist of, “is this person a threat?” And clearly that wasn’t followed here.”

Katherine Hamburg, member of the Justice for Justine group, told Mamamia‘s daily news podcast The Quicky Noor’s testimony at the trial appeared “very rehearsed” and “unemotional”.

“It was unbelievable to us that he never acknowledged the presence of Justine’s family and said ‘I am so sorry this has happened’.”

Damond, 40, formerly of Sydney, was shot dead by Noor when she approached his police vehicle in an alley behind her Minneapolis home.

The life coach and yoga instructor, who lived in Minneapolis and was weeks away from marrying her American fiance, called police just before midnight on July 15, 2017, after she heard a woman’s screams and feared a sexual assault was taking place near her home.

In 911 transcripts released shortly after her death, she can be heard telling emergency operators she wasn’t sure if a woman outside her house was “having sex or being raped”.

Eight minutes later, at 11.35 pm, Damond called 911 again to ensure police were still coming to the scene. She confirmed her address and told the operator the woman in question was still screaming.

Damond was unarmed and dressed in her pyjamas when she approached Noor’s police vehicle in the dark.

Noor’s partner Officer Matthew Harrity was “startled” and “perceived that his life was in danger” when he heard a “muffled voice or whisper” and thump on the squad car when Damond suddenly appeared, according to prosecutors.

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Noor was sitting in the front passenger seat of the squad car and shot across Officer Harrity, who was driving the vehicle, and out the driver’s side window striking Damond in the stomach, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Noor and Officer Harrity switched on their body cameras after the shot was fired and it captured their attempts to resuscitate Damond, who was declared dead at the scene.

On Tuesday (Wednesday AEST), Noor was found guilty of third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in relation to Damond’s death. He was acquitted of second degree murder.

2. Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in jail.

julian assange
Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy avoiding arrest for seven years. Image: Getty.

A British judge has sentenced WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to 50 weeks in prison for skipping bail seven years ago and holing up in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Judge Deborah Taylor said on Wednesday it was hard to imagine a more serious version of the offence as she gave the 47-year-old Australian a sentence close to the maximum of a year in custody.

She said Assange's seven years in the embassy had cost British taxpayers STG16 million ($A29.5 million) and said he sought asylum as a "deliberate attempt to delay justice".

The white-haired Assange stood impassively with his hands clasped while the sentence was read.

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His supporters in the public gallery at Southwark Crown Court chanted "Shame on you" at the judge as Assange was led away.

The Australian secret-spiller sought asylum in the South American country's London embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations.

Assange's lawyer Mark Summers told a courtroom packed with journalists and WikiLeaks supporters that his client sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy because "he was living with overwhelming fear of being rendered to the US".

He said Assange had a "well-founded" fear that he would be mistreated and possibly sent to the US detention camp for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

Summers read a letter from Assange apologising for his behaviour in 2012 and saying "I did what I thought was best".

"I found myself struggling with terrifying circumstances," the letter said.

Assange was arrested on April 11 after Ecuador revoked his political asylum, accusing him of everything from meddling in the nation's foreign affairs to poor hygiene.

He faces a separate court hearing on Thursday on a US extradition request.

American authorities have charged Assange with conspiring to break into a Pentagon computer system.

3. Mum accused of stabbing Byron Bay teacher escaped from a mental health facility two weeks ago.


A mother accused of stabbing a Byron Bay teacher is a danger to society and escaped from a mental health facility two weeks ago, a court has heard.

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The 31-year-old woman faced Tweed Heads Local Court by video link on Wednesday, accused of using a pair of scissors to stab 28-year-old Zane Vockler in the face and arm.

The court was told the teacher is lucky to have survived the attack at the Byron Bay Public School about 7am on Tuesday.

Mr Vockler has undergone surgery after suffering a fractured arm, a deep wound behind his left ear and cuts to his arm and face.

The woman has been charged with unlawful wounding causing grievous bodily harm and entering enclosed land.

"It was a targeted and premeditated attack and it was completely unprovoked," prosecutor Sergeant Nathan Lockett told the court on Wednesday.

"The victim is lucky to be alive."

The woman fled the school after the assault and was later arrested at her Suffolk Park home.

Sgt Lockett objected to a bail application, saying she had a serious history of violence and was at risk of reoffending.

The court heard she is unstable and unmedicated after escaping from a mental health facility two weeks ago.

Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy denied bail, saying there was a significant risk to the victim and the community at large if she was released.

"Police particulars of the offence reveals very violent conduct. It was a very serious assault on the victim which was unprovoked," Mr Dunlevy said.

The woman was remanded for mention in Byron Bay Local Court on June 27.

4. Kathleen Folbigg says her diary entries about her four dead children were "misunderstood".

kathleen folbigg
"I have no answers as to why I have outlived my children," Kathleen Folbigg said in court. Image: AAP.
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Kathleen Folbigg says she's spent 16 years in jail due to misunderstandings over her diaries and insists her four babies were taken by "a higher power" rather than her own hands.

"The problem that I felt that landed me in the position I'm in, is assumptions being made and things being taken out of context, and nobody understanding what it was I was trying to say when I was writing these diaries," the 51-year-old said on Wednesday during the final day of an inquiry into her convictions.

Folbigg was meticulously quizzed about six of her diaries by barristers representing her ex-husband Craig, the director of public prosecutions and the inquiry itself across two-and-a-half days at the NSW Coroners Court.

At times she cried. On other occasions, she fiercely rejected accusations of physical violence.

Folbigg dismissed the suggestion "homicidal rages" made her smother each infant.

"I have no answers as to why I have outlived my children," she said on Wednesday, noting she'd loved her four babies and is still grieving their deaths.

Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura died between 1989 and 1999. They were aged between 19 days and 19 months.

Their mother was jailed in 2003 for at least 25 years for killing them.

Up to five of Folbigg's diaries from the decade in question are unaccounted for. She recalled throwing one away.

Entries made after three children had died and when Laura was born came under the most scrutiny.

Folbigg wrote in October 1997: "Wouldn't have handled another like Sarah. She (Laura) saved her life by being different".

But she told the inquiry "in the end" a supernatural power also took Laura in 1999.

She later explained that by a higher power she meant "God, mother nature, destiny, fate, karma" rather than "some ghost or entity".

In January 1998, Folbigg wrote that Sarah "left, with a bit of help".

She told the court "God, a higher power, or another decision, or even my children and Sarah deciding that she didn't want to stay was the 'bit of help' - not me."

Folbigg rejected suggestions from counsel assisting the inquiry, Gail Furness SC, that she had reconstructed elements of her evidence about the diaries.

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"I don't believe that I have reconstructed anything," Folbigg said.

Craig Folbigg's brother John said the "most devastating" part of the trial had been that the "answer lay with Kathleen and what she had done" and the family now had to endure this unnecessary inquiry.

"This chapter unfolding now, we feel, was unnecessary and most definitely unwelcome," he said outside court on Wednesday .

"However, we have endured it as ultimately it would ... help to ensure that the justice that Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura received in 2003 is upheld."

Former NSW District Court chief judge Reginald Blanch QC, who presided over the inquiry, can refer the matter to the Court of Criminal Appeal if he finds there is reasonable doubt as to Folbigg's guilt.

5. CAS dismisses double Olympic champion Caster Semenya's testosterone appeal.


Olympic 800-metres champion Caster Semenya has had an appeal dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to halt the introduction of regulations to limit testosterone in female athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs).

CAS ruled on Wednesday that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulations are needed to ensure fair competition between athletes who compete in events ranging from 400-metres to a mile, previously calling the hearing one of the most important ever to appear before the court.

It means that Semenya and other affected athletes hoping to compete at the World Championships in Doha in September would have to start taking medication to lower their testosterone level to below the required five (5) nmol/L within one week.

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It is a special concession made by the IAAF due to the length of time it has taken CAS to reach a verdict.

However, in future, athletes will be required to have reduced their blood testosterone level to below the stipulated concentration for a period of six months before they can compete.

According to a media release, "The Panel found that the DSD Regulations are discriminatory, but the majority of the Panel found that, on the basis of the evidence submitted by the parties, such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF's aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics in the Restricted Events.

"By majority, the CAS Panel has dismissed the requests for arbitration considering that the Claimants were unable to establish that the DSD Regulations were 'invalid'."

However, the CAS Panel expressed some serious concerns as to the future practical application of these DSD Regulations.

"I know that the IAAF's regulations have always targeted me specifically," Semanya said, after her appeal was dismissed.

"For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the CAS will not hold me back.

"I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world."

Her case is likely have wide-reaching consequences, not just for the future of athletics, but all women's sport, and has split opinion around the globe.

The IAAF, who welcomed the CAS decision, believe the regulations are necessary to "preserve fair competition in the female category", and have received a large amount of support from current and former athletes.

But the governing body has also come in for criticism from human rights organisations over their wish to medically alter naturally produced levels of testosterone, with the United Nations Human Rights Council adopting a resolution in support of Semenya in March.

The South African will be the most high-profile athlete to be affected, but others include 2018 Olympic silver medallist in the 800-metres, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi.

Semenya took potential steps to reinvent her career last week when she won the 5,000-metres at the South African Athletics Championships in a modest time of 16:05.97, an event that would allow her to compete outside of the IAAF regulations.

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