Anger as Inspector Bryson Anderson’s murderer Mitchell Barbieri gets sentence cut

Inspector Bryson Anderson Photo: Kylie Pitt, Hawkesbury Gazette Police conduct a search of the property in Oakville, north-west Sydney, where Inspector Bryson Anderson was fatally stabbed in December 2012. Photo: Mick Tsikas
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Mitchell Barbieri pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Photo: Seven News

Living in squalor on an isolated rural property in Sydney’s north-west, Mitchell Barbieri and his psychotic mother believed the world was out to get them.

Police found notebooks and diaries in their Oakville house, filled with letters to the Pope, Russian President Vladimir Putin, state and federal politicians and TV presenters.

“They existed in an isolated, compromised state emotionally, materially and ultimately as a pair who believed they were both being persecuted in an elaborate global manner,” a psychiatrist found.

When the Barbieris began a violent confrontation with their neighbours on December 6, 2012, and police surrounded their home, one or both emailed politicians to say “corrupt” officers were trying to break in.

Mitchell Barbieri, then 19, murdered Inspector Bryson Anderson when he tried to intervene, stabbing the admired senior officer in the cheek and chest.

Paramedics heard Barbieri say: “Let the copper c— die. F— him.”

He pleaded guilty to murder in 2014 and was sentenced to at least 26 years’ jail, with a maximum term of 35 years.

His mother, Fiona Barbieri, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and was jailed for at least 7½ years.

Barbieri appealed against his sentence, in part arguing the sentencing judge did not properly consider his mental illness, which was “a transferred delusional disorder” influenced by this mother’s paranoid schizophrenia.

In a majority decision, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on Monday slashed 11 years from his sentence, giving him a new non-parole period of 15 years and a maximum term of 21 years and three months.

There was silence in the courtroom as the judges announced their decision, but the Anderson family soon expressed their torment.

“We came here today and were – to use my father’s words – kicked in the guts,” Inspector Anderson’s brother, Warwick Anderson, said outside court.

“How any informed member of the community could possibly think a sentence of 15 years for someone who stabs to death a policeman who turns up to help other people is what the community expects is absolutely beyond belief.”

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said he had written to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Lloyd Babb, SC, asking him to consider an appeal in the High Court.

The appeal judgment said Barbieri had delusional beliefs under the guidance of his mother, whom a psychiatrist described as being “powerful, charismatic and psychotic”.

Justice Carolyn Simpson found the judge erred in considering Barbieri’s “plainly severe” mental illness secondary to his mother’s.

She noted evidence the Barbieris considered themselves to be asylum seekers, and asked for Russian consular assistance after their arrest.

“The evidence I have set out … demonstrates the extent to which the applicant’s involvement with Fiona Barbieri and her dominance over him impacted on his mental condition,” Justice Simpson said, in a judgment agreed to by Justice Lucy McCallum.

The judgment said that, while it was important that sentencing acted as a deterrence, Barbieri’s case was not the appropriate vehicle to do so.

The dissenting judge, Justice Derek Price, said it was open to the sentencing judge to find Barbieri knew what he was doing, and was aware of the “wrongfulness of his actions”.

Barbieri will be eligible for parole in 2034.


Dylan Voller tells royal commission of road trip from hell

Dylan Voller speaking at the Royal Commission on Monday. Dylan Voller being manhandled by staff at the Darwin facility. Photo: ABC Four Corners
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Northern Territory prisoner staff forced a teenage detainee to endure a 15-hour road trip to hell with little water and no toilet stops, the royal commission into juvenile justice has been told.

Dylan Voller told commissioners he had been taken by road from Alice Springs to Darwin and was handcuffed in the back of a stifling hot van with no air-conditioning with only a hot chocolate and sandwich for the journey.

He was forced to defecate in his shirt, while the guards’ cigarette smoke made him vomit from nausea.

“I threatened self-harm . . . choking myself with seat belts,” Voller said.

He also gave evidence about being put in isolation in the Alice Springs Detention Centre and officers refusing his pleas to be let out to go to the toilet.

“I had been asking for at least four or five hours . . . I was busting,” he said. “I had to defecate in a pillow slip.

Voller, now 19, was the teenager who appeared in ABC’s Four Corners program last July, strapped to a mechanical restraint chair and wearing a spithood, and being tear-gassed during a 2014 riot at Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

The image helped spark the royal commission.

His harrowing evidence on Monday has sparked further widespread outrage.

Voller admitted he regularly spat at officers in a state of panic when up to four of them were holding him down and hurting him.

“It was a disgusting thing that I did, I do regret it but it became a mechanism because … I was defenceless, I couldn’t stand up and put them off me,” he said.

“It was pretty much a game for them, restraining us.”

Voller said he had been kept in restraint chairs for up to three hours and an officer who was filming his treatment wearing a spithood would turn the camera off, taunt him, and then start reshooting as he became angry.

He admitted to depression.

“I cut my wrist on one occasion, I tied sheets around my neck at least five times to the point where I passed out and had to be taken to hospital,” Voller said.

“There was no help in Don Dale, I was lonely, I kept being bullied from other officers and inmates.”

Voller,​ now an inmate at the adult prison at Holtze in Darwin, told commissioners how he suffered ADHD as a child and had been kicked out of school as a 10-year-old “and never went back” when he refused to take Ritalin “because it made me sick”.

He was first put into detention at 11 after living in government home home where older boys not only taught him to smoke marijuana but introduced him to a life of crime.

The court heard Voller was regularly strip-searched from the age of 11 and on one occasion was left in a cell overnight with no mattress, sheets or clothes.

“They turned the aircon on full blast, I was freezing all night…. I was actually crying asking for a blanket,” he said.

Voller listed a series of incidents where guards had taunted or abused him. including one occasion when an another individual who previously had been found not guilty of assaulting him had been permitted to return to work at Don Dale. “I put my head down. I couldn’t look at him”.

They included offering water and throwing it on ground and using the refusal of food as a discipline measure.

Voller recalled a guard on night duty taking pity on him after he had been refused food who pushed muesli bars, fruit and toast through his grill in the early hours. “He didn’t agree with them starving me, I guess.”

Voller said as part of the system at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre he had to wear a red shirt denoting he was “high risk” in the behaviour management system, and was told there was no way of appealing his classification.

Teenage detainees could earn up to $4.50 a day if their behaviour was good.

Voller said the jail deducted $1.50 “for rent”.

He claimed the prison had a rewards system where boys would earn fake money for good behaviour, which could then be spent on rent, toiletries, socks, underwear and CDs.

No prison guards were permitted in the Darwin Supreme Court when Voller gave evidence.

Voller will not be cross-examined despite making allegations against 31 guards.

Voller frequently failed to give evidence that tallied with a statement he had provided counsel assisting the commission Peter Callaghan SC, and as hours passed he began blinking frequently as if under stress.

At the end of his of his evidence Voller was invited to read a statement.

However, the audio was muted after he had completed a few sentences.

But when he finished, the public gallery broke into applause.

Earlier, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory heard submissions aiming to stop Voller’s evidence being streamed live across Australia.

Northern Territory solicitor-general Sonia Brownhill made an application to suppress elements of Voller’s testimony from the public broadcast saying he could identify current or former prison employees in his evidence.

Jon Tippett, QC, appearing for former Corrections Commissioner Ken Middlebrook, who resigned in the wake of the Four Corners program, told the hearing that vulnerable witnesses like Voller usually gave evidence behind closed doors but he “wanted to tell his story to the world”.

Commissioners Margaret White and Mike Gooda rejected the applications and Voller began his evidence.

Voller’s legal counsel, Peter O’Brien, told the royal commission his client was determined to give evidence in the most public way possible.

“He wants to give his evidence open and freely with [appropriate] safeguards in place,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr O’Brien told commissioners that Voller had principally sought to give his evidence in person rather than via a telelink from prison.

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Oil rally to roll on after combined cuts from OPEC, non-OPEC producers

Oil prices are set to rise as 11 more countries agree to cut output. Photo: Hasan Jamali The shale oil industry in the United States could undo the price hikes caused by the production cut, but it is too early to know when. Photo: Jacob Ford
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Rising oil prices could rejuvenate the lagging United States shale oil industry, analysts say, a move that would add more supply and work against OPEC’s plan to cut production.

Crude oil prices are set to rise above $US60 per barrel over the coming months after 11 countries agreed to join the OPEC production cut on Sunday. The non-OPEC nations, including Russia, Malaysia and Oman, agreed to reduce output by 558,000 barrels per day two weeks after OPEC’s landmark production cut.

That move saw Brent and West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, crude jump by over 4 per cent to $US56.68 and $U53.97 on Monday.

Oil prices have surged by more than 50 per cent this year and have doubled since Brent hit a low of $US27.88 in January.

“There’s still upside to oil prices despite the rally this morning,” said ANZ senior commodities strategist Daniel Hynes. “Certainly something in the mid-60s is quite achievable over the next few months.”

Energy was the best performing sector on the ASX on Monday, gaining around 3 per cent.

Mr Hynes said the decision by the non-OPEC producers in the early hours of Sunday morning, Australian time, “certainly surprised the market”, and even “more so” Saudi Arabia’s announcement just minutes later that it may cut production to below 10 million barrels per day.

The unilateral decision from the world’s biggest crude producer marked a change of strategy for the Gulf kingdom and was evidence that it is less concerned about losing market share than in previous years, Mr Hynes said.

In June 2014, the Saudi Arabian government upped oil output in order to make American shale oil uncompetitive in response to dwindling market share.

But prices have once again crossed the break-even point for US shale oil producers, and any ramp-up in production could spoil the effect of 22 OPEC-member and non-member countries’ combined output cut.

This will eventually bring down the prices created by the cartel, but that time has yet to come, say analysts.

“The scale of cuts that have been announced over the past couple of weeks would essentially negate any increase from the US anyway and push the market into deficit,” said Mr Hynes.

He added that the potential uptick in the US shale oil industry would remain a medium-term risk, with the oil rig count already trending higher before any overseas cuts had been announced.

“It will be some time before we see the impact of that and the recent price rise,” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by UBS resources and utilities analyst Nik Burns, who said in an email: “We would need oil to be closer to $US60 per barrel to see a large uptick in drilling activity to drive production materially higher.”

“Right now our view is that the current level of shale drilling activity can hold production largely flat,” he said, noting the construction of new shale oil wells would merely offset a decline in output from existing ones.

But when US shale oil producers do return higher output levels as expected, the current price increase will be in jeopardy.

“The gravity of their return will determine where prices top out at,” said Mr Hynes. “That is a headwind that will keep some sort of upside cap on prices in the shorter term.”

However while stocks are already up, the effectiveness of the production cut remains to be seen.

OPEC members met an average of 60 per cent of their commitments across 17 production cuts since 1982, according to Goldman Sachs, with the figure rising to around 80 per cent in recent years.

To solve this problem, OPEC has formed a compliance committee for the new round of cuts comprised of member and non-member countries. #OPEC & NON-OPEC deal to cut production:

Total cut 1,722 kb/d

% of Cut Prod: KSA 28.2% Russia 17.4% OPEC 67.6% NON-OPEC 32.4%#OOTTpic.twitter南京夜网/ZNydCdj3OJ— JEFAIN ALHAJRI (@JRJ_ALHAJRI) December 10, 2016

Regardless of compliance, the establishment of the agreement itself is nevertheless a positive sign, said Mr Hynes.

“There was certainly some scepticism about how non-OPEC producers would be able to come to some sort of agreement, but clearly Russia has been the driving force and has been able to bring others on board.”

The cuts include almost every major oil producer except the US, Canada, China, Brazil and Norway, and will apply to the first half of 2017.


New Newcastle Supercar circuit showcases city’s coastline

Revised Newcastle Supercars circuitCOMMUNITY feedback has prompted the organisers of next year’sCoates Hire Newcastle 500 to modify the 2.6 kilometre Supercar circuit.
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The revisedcircuitno longer crossesPacific Park but now runs the length of Watt Street, winds aroundShortland Esplanade and then cuts into Zara Street beforeheading into Parnell Place.

Significantly, the track still runs through the East Endwhere someresidents fear the event will have a negativeimpact on their lives.

Revved up: The revised 2.6 kilometre Supercar circuit no longer cuts through Pacific Park but runs the length of Watt Street and winds around Shortland Esplanade before cutting back into Zara Street.

But NSW Premier Mike Baird encouraged the race’sopponents to consider its benefits.

“Let me tell you they can rent their places out for a fortune,” he said during a visit to the city on Monday.

The newtwistingcircuitis designed to better showcase the city and itscoastline to more than 200 million viewers worldwide next November.

“This is a world-class circuit that will make for exciting racing for the people of Newcastle,” Supercars chief executive James Warburton said.

“We can’t wait to come to Newcastle and deliver great entertainment on and off the track and showcase the city to the rest of Australia and the world.”

New race circuit for Newcastle 500 supercars | VIDEO BEFORE: The initial V8 Supercar Newcastle track.

AFTER: The revised 2.6 kilometre Supercar circuit no longer cuts through Pacific Park but runs the length of Watt Street and winds around Shortland Esplanade before cutting back into Zara Street.

TweetFacebook“Newcastle City Council thanks the community for their feedback to date. Consultation will continue to minimise any disruption while ensuring the track highlights the best of Newcastle including its famous coastline,” she said.

“With the date and track now locked in we can look forward to planning the next 11 months before the Supercars take to the streets showcasing Newcastle on a global stage.”

Initial road upgrades will begin in late February.

Construction on footbridges and other infrastructure will begin about six weeks out from the event.

Community information sessions to discussthe next stages of planning process will be held at Crowne Plaza, Newcastle onTuesday between 4.30pm and 8.30pmand Wednesday between 8am and 12pm.


Nutri-Grain ironman series: Redhead’s Daniel Collins one top-10 finish away from grand final place

DANIEL Collins believes he needs onemore top-10 Summer of Surf finish to make the national ironman series final after bouncing back with agut-busting seventh at Torquay.
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COMEBACK KID: Redhead’s Daniel Collins heads out again during the gruelling ironman final of the Torquay round of the Summer of Surf series on the weekend. Picture: Shane Myers

The Redhead clubbie from The Junctionovercame early setbacks at the Victorian raceon Saturday and a first-heat exit at Fingal Bay last month tomoveto 10thoverall butfourth among those not already qualified for the national ironman series decider at Cronulla on February 24-26. The 20-year-oldand clubmate Isak Costello, who was 16that Torquay and now 15thoverall, are chasing top-five finishes among non-qualified athletes in the Summer of Surfto make thethree-round 40-man grand final.

Collins, who was eighth at Newport in round two,was hunting one more top-10 result at North Wollongong (January 6-7) or Surfers Paradise (February 4).

“If I can get another top 15, top 10, that will probably secure me a spot,” Collins said.“That’s the goal, to get in another final, get some more points and lock it down.”

“I was really happy to get in the mix again and I’m looking forward to the next couple of rounds.”

Collins had to work hard on Saturday for his bestresult in the ironman series.

SPENT: Daniel Collins after the ironman final at Torquay. Picture: Shane Myers

“I didn’t get much luck in the whole race,” he said.

“I led the first swim, then I got hit by a couple of waves on the board, then missed a couple on the way in.

“I wasn’t having a lucky day, then that last ski leg I workedmy way into a good spot, then got down a wave right after I turned the can, then the run up the beach absolutely killed me. I was very spent after that.”

It followed a disappointing exit in big surf at Fingal Bay in round three.

“I got smashed onmy ski on the way out in my heat, I got hit by a four-foot set, lost my ski and there was nothing I could have done,” he said.

“I was in the wrong spot at the wrong time, but that’s the surf, that’s racing.”

The race at Torquay, which was a straight-out final that doubled as the Jim Wall Memorial, was the only endurance format on the circuit and took in two legs each of run, swim, board andski.