Man jailed for marrying 14-year-old girl in Victoria


A man who married a 14-year-old girl in an Islamic ceremony in Melbourne stole her childhood, says the judge who has sent the groom to prison.


But Mohammad Shakir, who shook and sobbed during his sentencing on Thursday, will spend less than a fortnight more behind bars due to time already served.

County Court Judge Lisa Hannan was satisfied Shakir, 35, knew the girl was 15 or even younger when they wed at the Noble Park mosque in September, 2016.

“What you did was legally wrong and morally indefensible,” the judge told him.

Shakir pleaded guilty to marrying an underage person, a charge attracting up to five years’ jail.

The girl’s mother, who has not been charged, played a supporting role, breaching her moral obligation to her daughter and flagrantly flouting the law, Judge Hannan said.

“She made no attempt to protect her daughter.”

Shakir was repeatedly warned by child protection workers marrying the girl was illegal but told lies to hide his criminality, the judge noted.

She said the victim was vulnerable given her age and the 20-year gap between them was relevant.

The court was told Shakir’s home country of Myanmar is permissive of child marriage but that was no excuse, Judge Hannan said.

“We have one set of laws that govern all who choose to live in our community and those laws must be upheld,” she said.

“The victim was entitled to a childhood you took from her.

“The message must be clear that offending which has the potential to so seriously damage the lives of our children will never be tolerated.”

Shakir was jailed for 18 months but permitted release on a $2000 order after serving one year.

Given time already served, he will be freed within a fortnight and must exhibit good behaviour for six months.

The judge accepted his remorse, disadvantaged history and isolation in Australia with no family, noting good rehabilitation prospects.

Shakir came to Australia by boat and spent time in immigration detention until being released on a bridging visa.

After his jail release, he will sent back to detention but cannot be deported because he is stateless.

His criminal prosecution was the first of its kind in Australia.

Former Imam Ibrahim Omerdic, who officiated the wedding ceremony, was sentenced in June to two months’ prison for his role but immediately released on a two-year bond. He is seeking a judicial review in the Supreme Court.

Dive deeper into the state of underage forced marriage in Australia:

Bishop backs Trump’s fresh North Korea sanctions

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has welcomed US president Donald Trump’s harsh new executive order aimed at isolating North Korea and punishing individuals, banks, airlines, shipping and other companies doing business with the rogue nation.


Ms Bishop, speaking to reporters at the United Nations in New York on Thursday, raised the prospect of Australia also beefing up its sanctions on North Korea in response to its aggressive nuclear and missile program.

Mr Trump’s new executive order grants the US Treasury Department increased authority to target “any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services, or technology with North Korea” and puts a spotlight on textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing industries.

Planes and ships that go to North Korea are banned for 180 days from visiting the US, a plan aimed at disrupting North Korean shipping and trade networks.

“I certainly welcome this announcement,” Ms Bishop said.

“Australia is of the view that we must put maximum economic pressure on North Korea to ensure that it is compelled to return to the negotiating table and Australia will continue to review our autonomous sanctions – that is the sanctions that we impose over and above those mandated by the UN Security Council.”

Mr Trump, at a lunch meeting with South Korean President Jae-in Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York, said his new executive order would cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.

However, in a rare statement North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un said Mr Trump’s threats and sanctions had only hardened his resolve to follow a nuclear path.

Mr Trump also said he was buoyed by reports China’s central bank has told China’s other banks to immediately stop doing business with North Korea.

Ms Bishop is representing Australia at the United Nations General Assembly this week and met with the foreign ministers of Iran and Mexico on Thursday.

Australia and the US veer on the Iran nuclear deal, with Mr Trump threatening to decertify what he describes as “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into”.

Ms Bishop said the nuclear agreement was “the focus” of her discussions with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“It is the best available option to deal with Iran’s nuclear programs and we certainly wouldn’t want to see it breakdown in the absence of any viable or credible alternative,” Ms Bishop said.

Ms Bishop said she was unaware of any Australian casualties from the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico that has killed more than 230 people.

She offered Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray Caso Australian expert support in the search effort for survivors, but was told Mexico has sufficient help from US, Israeli and Japanese teams.

Aussies fume over Kohli bye as Wade hurt

Tensions have again flared between Australian players and Virat Kohli after the Indian captain took a bye while Matthew Wade was down injured.


Wicketkeeper Wade appeared to hurt his arm after fumbling a Marcus Stoinis delivery during India’s second one-day international win in Kolkata on Thursday.

At the non-striker’s end, Kohli took off on the quick run while Wade was hunched over.

It sparked Stoinis to confront Kohli at the end of the over and an angry response from Wade, who fumed at the batsman during the change of ends.

The run-in continues a long list of unsavoury incidents involving the Australians and Kohli, who was on 79 at the time before top-scoring with a first-innings 92.

Kohli declared he will never be friends with any Australian player after this year’s Test series featured plenty of bad blood, but has since backed away from the comments.

But not every Australian was in Wade’s corner, with former Test fast bowler Stuart Clark saying the stoush was a distraction.

“He misfielded one. Whether the Indian batsman knew he was injured or not was probably a secondary question,” Clark told Sky Sports Radio on Friday.

“It’s one run. Is this the biggest issue this team has got? If I’m Matthew Wade and I’m Marcus Stoinis – and full credit to him for standing up for Matthew Wade – I’d be worrying about my own cricket, rather than all this other stuff.

“This is piddly crap.”

Wade was one of a number of Australians who appeared to struggle in the Indian heat in the day fielding session.

The innings was Kohli’s first big score against Australia in any format since his match-winning 82no in the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 in March last year.

“I wouldn’t be saying too much to Virat Kohli. He seems to want to fight with everyone and he seems to play 10 times better when he does fight with people,” Clark said.

Gidley steps down as Knights NRL boss

Newcastle are the lookout for a new chief executive to take them into the future after Matt Gidley announced his intention to step down in November.


Gidley’s impending departure ends a six-year tenure as boss of the NRL club, which included overseeing the recruitment of Wayne Bennett in 2012-14.

The Knights have collected the past three wooden spoons but are widely believed to be on the way up following a heavy recruitment drive for next season.

Newcastle on Wednesday also credited Gidley’s role in helping the recent ownership takeover from The Wests Group, who are set to deliver a centre of excellence and erase the club’s debts.

Gidley said it was the right time to walk away from the club.

“There is no doubt the club has faced significant challenges in the last decade and we have navigated our way through this period, which has required enormous change to be implemented across the organisation,” Gidley said on Friday.

“The vast majority of this change is now complete and it is an appropriate time for me to take a break.”

The former Knights player thanked the club’s stakeholders for being patient in their attempt to rebuild following the most harrowing period in the team’s history.

Coach Nathan Brown is expected to lift their NRL side out of the doldrums off the back of key recruits Kalyn Ponga, Connor Watson and Aidan Guerra.

Brisbane pair Herman Ese’ese and Tautau Moga will also shift to the Hunter over the summer, joining mid-season acquisition Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

“I would like to thank the board of directors, staff, players, partners, members and supporters for your patience and loyalty while we undertook the arduous task of rebuilding the club,” Gidley said.

“I am very confident the foundations have now been established to deliver the club and the team you all fully deserve.”

‘Political wh***s’: Sam Newman blasts AFL’s stance on same-sex marriage

The ex-footballer, who is nicknamed “Fossil” on the show, unloaded on the AFL and said the sporting body had no right to tell people how to vote.


“You are nothing more than obsequious, fawning, sycophantic political wh***s. You have no right to get involved in political messages,” Newman said on the Nine Footy Show on Thursday night.

“If this was about the AFL putting Yes on the football about climate change, or save the whales, or greenhouse emissions or whatever, I would have exactly the same opinion,” Newman added.

“But who in the hell are these people at the AFL who are telling the football public what they should do in their lives and who they should vote for in any political agenda. Who are you?”

“Who gives you the right to tell people and to put on the football what people should do.”

The AFL is committed to equality & diversity, & we support the rights of all Australians to live, work & play free from discrimination. pic南京夜生活,/XUoAuEcwzJ

— AFL (@AFL) September 20, 2017

Co-host Eddie McGuire fervently rebuked Newman’s rant and said the AFL was a leading national organisation that was welcoming equality.

The AFL logo at the sporting organisation’s Dockland headquarters in Melbourne showed a striking change on Wednesday morning with the word ‘Yes’ splashed across it.

“The AFL is committed to equality and diversity, and we support the rights of all Australians to live, work and play free from discrimination,” the AFL posted on Twitter.

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan expressed his support for marriage equality on Tuesday night.

“This is something that actually talks to a core value of ours, which is actual equality, that people, based on race, gender, sexuality, shouldn’t be discriminated against,” he told Fox Footy show AFL 360.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was a matter for the AFL which causes it supports.

“I’m not going to tell the AFL or any other organisation how to run their affairs,” Mr Turnbull told 3AW on Friday.

“The AFL has always had a very forward leaning approach on social issues, whether it’s multiculturalism or reconciliation.

“They have always been a very socially progressive organisation and taken a strong stand on the same sex marriage issue for a long time.”

The AFL has previously supported campaigns against racism and street violence, and has promoted the cause of women and indigenous people in the game.

Evaluation backs safety of 4-in-1 vaccine

A comprehensive evaluation of the four-in-one combination vaccine given to Australian toddlers – designed to protect against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox – has backed its safety.


Known as the MMRV vaccine, it was one of two new combination vaccines added to the immunisation schedule in 2013, reducing the number of injections babies needed.

The change meant that a second dose of the measles-containing vaccine (MCV) was given to children at 18 months as opposed to four years.

“We know that children need two doses,” said Professor Kristine Macartney at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

However there were concerns, raised out of the US, that the MMRV vaccine given to very young children was linked to a greater risk of fever and febrile seizures.

A University of Sydney study, published in journal JAMA Pediatrics, evaluated the way the vaccine is used in Australia.

It found no increase in febrile seizures associated with this second dose given at 18 months.

Researchers at the University of Sydney examined all children who presented to pediatric hospitals across the country with a febrile convulsion, then looked at what vaccines they had received.

“Children were at no particular risk of having seizures after having the vaccine,” Professor Macartney told AAP.

The expert in pediatric infectious diseases says the findings should ease parent concerns that the vaccine does not overwhelm the child’s immune system.

Measles is one of the most infectious diseases and the MMRV vaccine now means children have well above 95 per cent protection by the age of two.

“For every case of measles if you had an un-immunised population you would see about 15 more cases just from that one case, so highly contagious,” said Professor Macartney.

“Although we have eliminated the virus from this country in terms of what we call endemic continuous circulation, we are constantly getting importations of people with measles, so we need vaccine coverage for measles as close to 100 per cent as we can possibly get so that its blocked from spreading in the community,” she said.

New appeal in Warneke murder investigation

West Australian detectives investigating the murder of Joshua Warneke in Broome in February 2010 are seeking the public’s help to identify a vehicle spotted near where his body was found and the driver.


Detectives have received new information about a white Toyota 79 Series Land Cruiser two-door, tray-top utility with a “BUNDY” novelty number plate and car flag poles on either side of the frame behind the cab.

Acting Detective Superintendent Pete Branchi said the ute drove along Short Street into Old Broome Road around the time of Mr Warneke’s death early on February 26, 2010.

“Despite all the publicity about this case since 2010, the driver of the LandCruiser has never come forward, so we are appealing for public assistance to identify the vehicle, its driver and any other occupants,” he said.

“Investigators believe the occupant, or occupants, of the LandCruiser saw Josh on Old Broome Road around the time of his death.”

Mr Warneke was seen about 2.45am walking at the intersection of Old Broome Road and Short Street, heading towards Roebuck Estate where he lived.

Just before 3pm, a taxi driver travelling on Old Broome Road spotted the 21-year-old lying on the side of the road.

The state government is offering a $250,000 reward for information about the murder, as well as recommending a pardon in some circumstances for anyone not directly involved in the death.

The relaunched investigation into Mr Warneke’s murder began in April after 25-year-old Aboriginal man Gene Gibson, who is from the remote desert community of Kiwirrkurra and is cognitively impaired, had his conviction for manslaughter quashed, having already spent almost five years behind bars.

Earlier this week, Attorney-General John Quigley told an estimates hearing an ex-gratia application for Mr Gibson was progressing.

Mr Gibson’s lawyers previously indicated they would seek $2.5 million in damages.

Kim slams Trump’s new sanctions on North Korea’s trading partners

At the end of his four-day visit to the United Nations, President Donald Trump announced an expansion of US sanctions on North Korea.


He signed a new executive order designed to cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

“Foreign banks will face a clear choice: do business with the United States or facilitate trade with the lawless regime in North Korea – and they won’t have so much trade. This new order provides us with powerful new tools, but I want to be clear, this order targets only one country and that country is North Korea.”

Mr Trump said China’s Central Bank had instructed other Chinese banks to stop doing business with North Korea’s government.

He’s thanked China’s President Xi Jinping for what he called a “bold” and “unexpected move”.

“I am very proud to tell you that, as you may have just heard moments ago, China – their central bank – has told their other banks — that’s a massive banking system — to immediately stop doing business with North Korea.”

China is yet to confirm the policy.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says his department has been authorised to target firms and financial institutions conducting business with North Korea.

“Foreign financial institutions are now on notice that, going forward, they can choose to do business with the United States or with North Korea – but not both. This new executive order enables Treasury to freeze assets of anyone conducting significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea.”

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she supports the tougher sanctions.

“I certainly welcome this announcement. Australia is of the view that we must put maximum economic pressure on North Korea to ensure that it is compelled to return to the negotiating table.”

In a rare speech on camera, President Kim Jong-un has reportedly called Donald Trump’s UN speech “a declaration of war” and branded the US president “mentally deranged”.


Rio to buy back another $US2.5b of shares

Mining giant Rio Tinto will return proceeds from the recent $US2.


7 billion sale of its NSW coal operations to shareholders through a share buyback.

The company on Friday announced an additional share buyback of $US2.5 billion ($A3.2 billion), comprising of an off-market buyback worth $US560 million for the Australian-listed shares and another $US1.9 billion allocation to its existing on-market buyback program for London-listed shares.

Chief executive Jean Sebastien Jacques said the move demonstrated Rio’s commitment to delivering superior value and to returning cash to shareholders.

“Shareholder returns of this scale are made possible by maintaining the strongest balance sheet in the sector and a disciplined capital allocation process,” he said.

Rio shareholders in June backed a $US2.69 billion bid by China’s Yancoal to buy Rio’s Coal & Allied Industries that included majority stakes in the Hunter Valley Operations and the Mount Thorley Warkworth mine, and a 36.5 per cent interest in the Newcastle Port coal export terminal.

The sale marked Rio Tinto’s near exit from thermal coal assets, which it does not consider a core business.

The fresh share buyback comes on top of two buyback programs worth $US500 million and $US1 billion that were announced earlier in 2017.

The mining giant in August announced a record interim dividend after its underlying half-year profit more than doubled due to stronger commodity prices.

On Friday, Rio said the off-market buyback of its Australian shares will be completed in 2017, while the buyback of London-listed shares will start on December 27 and end no later than December 2018.

Rio Tinto’s Australian-listed shares have risen more than third in value over the past 12 months.

The stock closed at $65.50 on Thursday.

Anti-espionage laws head to parliament

New laws to deal with espionage and foreign interference will be brought to parliament by the end of the year.


Attorney-General George Brandis is putting the finishing touches to the laws, which were initiated in May just before media reports of Chinese Communist Party influence over the Liberal and Labor parties.

“It’s the government’s expectation to introduce a bill before the end of this year,” Senator Brandis told Sky News on Friday.

A Four Corners-Fairfax investigation in June named two billionaires that domestic intelligence agency ASIO identified as having links to the Chinese Communist Party.

Between them, Chau Chak Wing and Huang Xiangmo donated $6.7 million to the major parties.

Senator Brandis is understood to have been briefed by US security officials on the operation of America’s Foreign Agents Registration Act, which could provide a model for the Australian laws.

The US laws, which began in 1938, require people acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to disclose on a website their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as their activities, receipts and spending.

Penalties for breaching the US laws range from $5000 to five years in jail.

Intelligence agency ASIO’s last annual report said Australia was a target of espionage and foreign interference because of its alliance with the US and the desire by foreign interests to gain insights into the country’s positions on international diplomatic, economic and military issues.

There was also foreign interest in Australia’s energy and mineral resources, innovations in science and technology and “a desire to shape the actions of decision-makers and public opinion”.

As well, ASIO has warned of “malicious insiders” – both self-motivated and recruited – who threaten to sabotage computer systems, use information to facilitate attacks or leak information to harm Australia’s national security.

The government is also considering laws to ban donations from foreign citizens and entities to political parties, associated entities and third parties.