Thursday, July 01, 2010

Mother who refused to allow son to visit serial rapist dad is finally freed from NY jail after 19 days

Prisoners rights? A nasty judge jailed a mother for trying to keep her child away from an extremely bad influence!!

The Brooklyn mom jailed at Rikers Island for refusing to let her 9-year-old son visit his father - a serial rapist imprisoned in Arizona - was finally freed Tuesday night after 19 days of confinement.

Her first thought was of her children. "I'm going to hug and kiss them," said Sukhwant Herb, as she emerged from Brooklyn Supreme Court - still wearing black prison sneakers. "I miss them so much and I'm so happy to be out. I wouldn't wish this on anybody."

But in this bizarre case, Herb, 29, was kept prisoner for 25 hours after Brooklyn Family Court Judge Robin Sheares issued the original order for her release Monday evening, after the Daily News reported her plight Sunday.

Sheares was the judge who tossed Herb in jail in the first place, handing down a 50-day minimum sentence on June 10 after Herb defied an order to allow Seon Jr. to visit his his dad in prison.

The release paperwork was not sent to Rikers Island until yesterday morning. So Herb remained a prisoner throughout yesterday - first at Rikers, and then in a holding pen at Brooklyn Supreme Court - until Sheares called a hearing at 5:10 p.m.

Herb sat in the courtroom, stone-faced, during the brief procedure, in which she was released into her lawyer's custody and ordered to return to court July 29.

Sheares tossed Herb into jail after she violated the order - having a change of heart after originally agreeing to it - without offering bail consideration. The judge's move, and comments in court, sparked outrage in the city's legal community, especially since Herb was not charged with a crime and has no criminal record. Tuesday night, Herb's lawyer Dale Frederick said he will demand Sheares be removed for the the case.

Seon Jonas, 31, the father of Herb's son, was convicted in 2003 of raping three women in Phoenix. He obtained the visitation order last year.


Another money-grubbing whiner

These harassment claims are a nice littler earner for a lot of highly-paid women who flame out, particularly in Britain. Good to see one knocked back in Australia

A TRIBUNAL has thrown out a female cosmetics company manager's claim she that was picked on for being a woman. Jo-Anne Finch claimed CoverGirl and Max Factor distributor The Heat Group refused to promote her and victimised her for complaining about sexual harassment.

But the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has dismissed her claim as false in a decision scathing of Ms Finch's evidence. Judge Marilyn Harbison this week said she was a witness of little credibility whose many claims of bullying and harassment were "not just unproven but clearly false". "I am satisfied that many of the allegations were made without concern about whether or not they were true," the Judge said. "This jurisdiction should not be used to pursue such unmeritorious claims."

The costly legal catfight began four years ago and the case had 22 hearing days days in VCAT.

Ms Finch worked for the company from 2002 to 2006 and claimed she was discriminated against because of her sex, her pregnancy and her stress illness. She alleged she was forced to work in a "boys club", was given extra tasks not assigned to her male counterparts, and passed over unfairly for promotions. Ms Finch said men were given gift bags to pass on to clients but she wasn't.

Judge Harbison rejected her claims that her boss verbally abused her, made hostile remarks and sniggered at her.

The company had argued that when her work standards dropped Ms Finch did not react well to being counselled about it. They said they were forced to act after a string of staff quit, complaining about being bullied by Ms Finch and citing her "aggressive" style as their reason for leaving. While a great sales manager Ms Finch had been a poor people manager, it was argued.

VCAT heard The Heat Group had been founded by prominent businesswoman Gillian Franklin, who had introduced long maternity leave entitlements and flexible hours.

Judge Harbison said there was no evidence Ms Finch had been victimised in any way and or that she had been sexually harassed by male staff.

Ms Franklin welcomed the decision, saying the case had affected the company's good reputation. "We are proud of our achievements over many years in creating opportunities for women and helping all employees balance their work and family lives," she said in a statement.


Is this another Lindy Chamberlain affair?

Fundamentalist Christians are looked at askance by most Australians. Mainstream jurors were so sure Lindy Chamberlain (a Seventh Day Adventist) was a criminal that they jailed her for four years. Only clear new evidence exonerated and freed her.

The "Agape" mentioned below is a New Testament Greek word for "love"

LIKE many suburban couples, Raphael and Patricia Azariah work and study hard, raise their children and attend church every Sunday. Their religious beliefs, however, have thrust the parents of two into controversy - because they are members of the Agape Ministries Church.

Yesterday, the couple spoke to The Advertiser to refute "cruel and malicious" claims they promised their daughters in marriage to older men. They further denied accusations they allowed the girls, aged eight and six, to undergo firearms training. The couple detailed the persecution they have suffered in the wake of police raids on Agape properties that netted guns and ammunition. [Firearms possession in Australia is subject to some controls but is far from totally illegal. Guns can be found on most farms]

"I am not a nutter or a crazy-farm type of person," Mr Azariah said. "I am a person that believes in God, I am a Christian, I am a man who takes the Bible seriously. "Now I have lost my job - we have no employment and no income, and I've lost all that work as a result of what one can only describe as malicious lies."

The police raids, in May, triggered an avalanche of speculation about Agape Ministries. Former members and opponents dubbed it a cult, saying Pastor Rocco Leo defrauded millions from his followers to buy a South Pacific island. Detractors claimed Leo told his parishioners the world would end after microchips are implanted into everyone by the end of 2012. Mr Azariah's mother, Lesley Baligod, said her son and daughter-in-law had "betrothed" their children to much older men in the church.

Yesterday, Mr and Mrs Azariah spoke in the presence of their lawyer, Craig Caldicott, and two fellow church members. Mr Azariah - whose chosen last name means "the Lord is my helper" - joined the church in 1993.

He said there was no truth to any of the allegations. "Agape Ministries has never been a doomsday cult," he said. "It has never been preached, in our church, that the world is going to end. That's contrary to our beliefs, and to the Bible which says God has established the Earth forever. "I do not believe the world is going to end, and definitely not in 2012."

He said "disgruntled former members of the church" had taken that concept "from movies and the Mayan calendar". "And I've never heard anything about an island in Vanuatu," he said.

He said talk of microchips was a "misunderstanding" of comments made during Bible study classes. "People talked about all the media coverage around companies and governments using chips in phones, credit cards and to identify people," he said. "I am aware that some governments may do that, I know that there's tracking devices, but I don't particularly care.

"In Revelations it talks about 'the Mark of the Beast', and it's left for people to interpret that in their own way. "But it has never been taught, in the Agape church, that people are going to be microchipped and that's not a church doctrine."

What had most hurt his family, he said, were the allegations about his daughters Amanda and Danielle. "It is a load of hogwash, and it is without a doubt probably one of the most cruel things I've ever heard," he said.

The couple were accused of letting the girls take part in weapons training at firing ranges on Agape property. "Neither of my daughters have ever held a gun - they would not know how to," Mr Azariah said. "I am not aware of any firing range operated or owned by Agape Ministries."

Media reports led to the Azariahs being investigated by Families SA. "We were totally exonerated," he said.

Mr Azariah said he had given 10 per cent of his earnings to the church willingly. "I believe in it, it wasn't compulsory," he said. He blamed the rumours on former church members who disagreed with Rocco Leo.

He believed one of those former members had provided information to his mother. "The fundamental tenor of the Agape Church is that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected - we believe in love and forgiveness," he said. "It's for that reason I still love my mother and forgive her for what she's brought up against us."

A University of Adelaide graduate, Mr Azariah made his living as a music teacher at an Adelaide school until the church came under fire. "I probably had about 35 students, and taught another five privately. "Now I have been asked to take unpaid leave until all of this is sorted out.

"My wife, Patricia, had been studying horticulture, but because we currently have no income she is looking for employment."

He said his daughters had "fortunately" not been teased, and had the support of their school and peers.


Australia: No punishment for violent African gang?

Members of group that bashed man to partial blindness all avoid prison. Would whites have got off so lightly? What message does this send to other violent African gangs?

A GANG of youths whose bashing of an Indian man blinded him in one eye have all avoided jail. Majang Ngor, 20, the last of the gang to face court, was yesterday given an eight-month suspended jail term for the unprovoked attack on Kanan Kharbanda.

Prosecutors had wanted him jailed for four years. But Judge Susan Cohen said this would be unjust, given the penalties imposed on gang members who were more culpable. Ngor hadn't been an instigator or a ringleader.

At least three other youths - who can't be named because of their age - were given nine-month youth supervision orders in the Children's Court. The Director of Public Prosecutions is appealing against those sentences.

Ngor pleaded guilty in the County Court to recklessly causing serious injury, intentionally causing injury, robbery, and attempted robbery over the March 2008 bashing.

Mr Kharbanda, an accounting student, had been walking a friend to Sunshine station. One of Ngor's group demanded a dollar before hitting Mr Kharbanda in the face. Others joined in, kicking and punching; his friend was also hit and kicked to the ground. Mr Kharbanda suffered a fractured eye socket and broken nose. He has lost the sight in his right eye.

Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara said it was beyond belief that the youths had been let off "scot free". "It's disgraceful. The Indian community has the right - all citizens have the right - to be up in arms about it," he said.

Ngor told police they'd been drinking at a party and one of the group had suggested they go "hustling". He admitted joining the pack, but denied striking either victim.

Judge Cohen said the Sudanese refugee had since worked hard to reform himself. To his credit he'd finished year 12, got a stable job, and had stopped binge-drinking.

She said he hadn't caused the worst injuries, but had helped those who did. Violence at railway stations was of major public concern, but the matter was "less serious" than if weapons had been used.

The judge suspended the jail term for 15 months and ordered Ngor to do 40 hours of community work, saying the greatest public benefit would come from his rehabilitation.

Shadow attorney-general Robert Clark said it was extraordinary that none would spend time behind bars and said it is weak sentencing laws that allowed the gang members to walk free. "The victim of this crime will suffer a lifetime sentence with his injuries while the offenders are being let off with just a few hours of community service," he said.

"Imposing suspended sentences does nothing to build respect for the law, yet under John Brumby's weak sentencing laws vicious crimes like this bashing will continue to qualify for suspended sentences. "In contrast, a Baillieu Government will abolish suspended sentences for all crimes so that jail will mean jail," he said.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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