The Northern Territory news Wed 9 Jul 2014
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WEDNESDAY JULY 9 2014 NATION 11 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Asylum seekers afloat in limbo SYDNEY: More than 150 asylum seekers will remain on an Australian Customs ship on the high seas until at least Friday after an extraordinary High Court hearing. Their lawyer, who has challenged the Government for attempting to return them to Sri Lanka where they face arrest and persecution, now fears they could be taken to Manus Island or Nauru instead. A boat carrying 153 asylum seekers, dozens of whom are children aged as young as two, was detected 250km from Christmas Island 10 days ago. It was confirmed for the first time during the High Court hearing yesterday that the boat was intercepted and passengers transferred to a Customs vessel which was now on the high seas. Government Solicitor General Justin Gleeson told the court 72 hours written notice would be given of any inten tion to transfer the asylum seekers. Justice Susan Crennan said that undertaking would not prevent the 153, of which 37 are believed to be minors, being sent somewhere else for offshore processing. The hearing in Sydney, which was adjourned until Friday, came as 41 asylum seekers from a second boat that was intercepted by authorities and had its passengers returned to Sri Lanka this month faced court in Galle. Sri Lankan authorities took the group to high-security Boossa prison on Monday and planned to charge them with leaving the country illegally, which carries a jail sentence of up to two years. Mr Gleeson told the court the passengers had no claim to enter as they were not in Australian waters or (had) reached the Australian mi gration zone which could have triggered territorial rights. Any claims made under the migration act are inapplicable, Mr Gleeson said. Earlier, Ronald Merkel, acting for the asylum seekers, said at least 50 of those on board came from a Tamil refugee camp in Pondicherry, India, and shouldnt be returned to a country where they had fled due to persecution and suffering. Australia has non-re foulment obligations under two international treaties. Mr Merkel said the on-sea assessment of their refugee claims was done by someone we dont know, in a language were not sure of. He indicated to the court that he wanted notice if the group was sent to Manus Island or Nauru. Human rights lawyer George Newhouse said outside court: we do appreciate the fact they dont have to hide away and cower in fear of being returned to prison or possibly death. Customs ship to hold them at sea until new hearingBy AMY DALE Australian Reptile Parks Tim Faulkner with baby Tasmanian devils Picture: MARK SCOTT SYDNEY: Born in captivity destined for the wild. Still fused to their mothers teats these four baby devils may be among the first released into the Tasmanian wilderness next year. It is part of an ambitious plan to save the species from extinction. Just over three months old the devils got their first health check yesterday at the Australian Reptile Park at Somersby, north of Sydney. The tiny joeys are still attached to mums teat but we will check their health and the health of their mother to ensure everything is running smoothly, general manager Tim Faulkner said. With an estimated 80 to 90 per cent of the population in the wild wiped out by Devil Facial Tumour Disease the species is fighting for its very existence. Bred in captivity as part of the parks Devil Ark breeding program the joeys will stay in their mothers pouch for a couple of months before venturing onto her back. They will be moved to the parks free-range facility in the Barrington Tops where at an altitude of 1400m replicates the terrain and climate of the devils native range. Species survival rests with little devils Trio not guilty of killing Melbourne prostitute MELBOURNE: A Supreme Court trial into the murder of vampire gigolo Shane Chartres-Abbott nearly fell over twice first when the hitman got cold feet and then again when the jury foreperson got a threatening text message. Three men on trial for the murder of Mr Chartres-Abbott have been found not guilty more than a decade after the prostitute was slain outside his home in Melbournes north. Mark Perry, 46, Evangelos Goussis, 46, and Warren Shea, 42, shook hands in the dock after the 12-member jury de livered their verdict yesterday, clearing each of them of murder and the alternative charge of manslaughter. The threatening text message read: Anyway, Evang G and friends say hi They will come to visit for a private party. The court heard the text had been sent from a payphone. The case continued in the jurors absence. Each of the men pleaded not guilty and said they were set up by the self-confessed hit man and star witness against them, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Father accused of boys murder ADELAIDE: A father has been charged with murdering his three-year-old son, who died after being stabbed. Emergency services were responding to a minor two-car crash on Gorge Rd, at the intersection of Hockley Tce at Athelstone, about 9am yesterday when a man driving a ute flagged down police. Police say the 36-year-old man approached police stating he had injured his son, who was in the ute. SA Ambulance Service crews were called and treated the boy, 3, for multiple stab wounds before he was rushed to the Womens and Childrens Hospital, where he died. Nurse arrested over aged care deaths SYDNEY: Two nursing home patients died from fatal doses of insulin and another was left hospitalised after complaints were made about a registered nurse, police allege. Marie Darragh, 82, and Isobella Spencer 77, died at their Ballina nursing home in north ern NSW in May. They were found unconscious in their beds and died soon after. Police allege a nurse, 46, from the St Andrews Village Aged Care facility administered Ms Darragh and Ms Spencer fatal doses of insulin in the middle of the night. Another aged care resident, 88, was also assaulted. Police allege she woke to find the nurse trying to give her unscheduled medication. The nurse was arrested on Monday. Police said the nurse would be charged with two counts of murder and assault. Qantas cuts prompt delay warnings MELBOURNE: Qantas axing 167 engineering jobs will cause flight delays as a shrinking workforce struggles to maintain its planes, the union representing the engineers says. Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association federal secretary Steve Purvinas said the sacking of the engineers would result in the workforce becoming undermanned and place pressure on the airline to cut corners. Our members will not jeopardise safety and allow that to happen, so more than likely we are going to see a few delays on Qantas aircraft, he said. Earlier this year, the airline said it was shedding 500 jobs as part of a $2 billion cost-cutting program over three years.