Designs to fix a ‘bush track’

It’s been a political football for years, flick-passed to anyone standing nearby and left behind by anyone driving politics.

But now, if you can have any faith, there might just be some movement when it comes to a long overdue upgrade to the cow track that is the400 metres or so of New England Highway near the Longyard precinct in south Tamworth.

At least Tamworth Regional Council has taken the driver’s seat and is designing what it thinks could be done for that narrow ribbon of asphalt and gravel shoulders that traffic negotiates between the Calala Ln roundabout and Craigends Ln.

The fact it runs right in front of what has been the roads authority’s Tamworth depot for more than a generation is not lost on anyone of driving age.

It’s been a traffic snarl and a driver’s nightmare for years, but finally the bottleneck that is one of the worst bits of the New England Highway in Tamworth could be headed towards an upgrade.

Funding, of course, is always, the speed bump in what should have been a done deal years ago.

Tamworth Regional Council has revealed it is undertaking a new design investigation at its own expense, in a move which could pave some improvements for traffic flow.

It is the latest move in what has been a serial point of discussion and debate for years, when the council has its regular meetings with local roads authority executives. For all those years, nothing came of it. It was ignored.

Now, the council is drawing up a design that would widen the highway to two-lanes each way.

That is their best-case scenario option, although they might be persuaded with a lesser design – of passing or turning lanes perhaps – if the RMS and government would stump up some money to start with.

Neighbours and long-time lobbyists describe the roadway as a walk of shame for governments – and successive ones at that.

Various traffic counts over the years suggest there are some 30,000 vehicles along that stretch of roadway every day.

It is one of our high-profile city entryways – and it’s not just shameful, but an indictment of political process for a regional centre.

TRC believes if it has the design decided, then when funding becomes available they can get a head start.

It is news many motorists and residents have been waiting on for nearly 30 years.

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Set for Life Lotto win keeps Baldivis couple out of the rain

The winning numbers from Tuesday’s Set For Life draw.A Baldivis couple are now able to afford an umbrella for this weekend’s wild weather after becoming the second Set for Life Lotto winners this week, collecting $20,000 each month for the next 20 years.

The couple learnt of their jackpot win after a visit to the shops to buy an umbrella, which they couldn’t really afford.

“With bad weather due on the weekend we needed an umbrella but we’d pretty much spent our budget for the week,” the woman said.

“It was after that I checked my ticket. I was crying when I found out – it just felt so surreal.”

Struggling to make their next mortgage repayment, she said they were strapped for cash as their small business had not done well for the past few years, but “that’s all about to change now”.

The family plans to celebrate with a holiday and even a top-of-the-range barbie.

“What we thought was unrealistic is now a reality,” she said.

“We’re going to spoil our parents, go on a family cruise, go fishing more, deck out our house and even buy a top-of-the-range barbeque.”

The winning ticket was sold by The Lucky Charm Baldivis, and is WA’s second first prize winner in just three nights following Sunday’s win by customers of The Lucky Charm in Midland, who celebrated with a pie and pint.

Tuesday’s Oz Lotto has jackpotted to $40 million, equalling the largest offer this year, with ticket sales set to skyrocket according to Lotterywest.

“We’re getting ready for a busy few days, and during our busiest hour on jackpot day we estimate about 400 tickets to be churning out of lottery terminals each minute,” Lotterywest spokesperson Pina Compagnone said.  Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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The next gen ACT Brumbies who grew up together dreaming of Super Rugby glory

Jordan Jackson-Hope is one of three Canberra players picked in the Australian under-20s team. Photo: Elesa Kurtz Nick Jooste and Joe Powell are expected to be the Brumbies’ long-term halves partners. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Lock Tom Staniforth signed a new deal with the Brumbies this week. Photo: Rohan Thomson

ACT Brumbies rookie Jordan Jackson-Hope still has to pinch himself when he walks into the club’s change rooms just to make sure his childhood dream is actually reality.

The kid dubbed “The Future” by some of his older teammates is part of a new generation of Brumbies players that are forging a bond that is built on delivering Super Rugby success to Canberra.

Jackson-Hope is the blonde playmaker who gets likened to Justin Bieber, then there’s self-confessed mummy’s boy Tom Staniforth, wavy-haired “Grommet” Joe Powell, “Bernie Junior” Nick Jooste and potential Wallabies bolter Allan Alaalatoa.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham is prepared to throw his faith in them all to give them a taste of Super Rugby now while they’re surrounded by superstars and then take the reins in the coming years.

All are 22 or younger, and Jooste is the baby of the group at just 18 years old.

Jackson-Hope and Staniforth have been plucked from their jobs working as barmen, while Powell was a carpenter before the Brumbies came knocking.

“There’s obviously an exciting future and a lot of potential in the squad … ideally we can stay together for the next 10 years and play for this club,” Jackson-Hope said.

“I never thought I’d be in this situation, I never thought I’d be here playing for the Brumbies when I was working behind a bar earlier this year.”

Jackson-Hope took the first steps in his Super Rugby career when he set up a match-winning try with his first touch against the Melbourne Rebels.

He’s on the verge of signing an upgraded deal in Canberra after only being on training incentives this year.

Staniforth finalised a new two-year contract earlier this week, while Powell and Alaalatoa both re-signed this season.

Larkham spent the first part of the year trying to lock in players like David Pocock, Christian Lealiifano and Scott Sio.


But he landed three more rising stars on Friday when the Brumbies recruited Canberra junior Ryan Lonergan, Ben Hyne and Robert Valetini.

One of the biggest knocks on the Brumbies in previous years was that they were scouring player ranks around Australia to try to find recruits rather than developing their backyard youngsters.

“But [Jackson-Hope], Tommy and Joe show that there are players in Canberra that are getting opportunities,” Larkham said.

“The plan is always to have a balance between progression and established players. The pathways through the Brumbies are there at the moment and Russ [Ingram] has done a fantastic job setting it up.

“All of the junior coaches are doing a great job and we’re seeing that because the next generation of players are coming from the local competition.

“That’s what we’ve always wanted down here. To be competitive with the other Super Rugby teams we need local talent coming through.

“But we’re not in the business of giving guys a go just because they’re local. They’ve got to prove they’re up to the level, and these guys have.”

Jackson-Hope and Jooste, who has the nickname of ‘Bernie Junior’ because of his resemblance to Larkham, will play for the Australian under-20s at the junior World Cup in June.

Staniforth, Powell and Alaalatoa are all graduates of the junior Australian program and are rated as future Wallabies.

Staniforth had to wait 700 days between his first and second Brumbies games, but his patience was rewarded with a two-year contract extension.

“The Canberra connection is starting to come back into the Brumbies, which is important for the team,” Staniforth said.

“It’s something special to us because we grew up watching the heyday of the Brumbies when they were carving up the competition. It’s something that’s not spoken about, but it’s there.

“The guys we grew up watching like Stephen Larkham and George Gregan … they were once in a generation players. But the success they had is something we all want to recreate.”

Scrumhalf Powell was a paying Brumbies member for 17 years before he made his Super Rugby debut last year.

“I’ve played since Tommy since under-10s, I remember him because he was always the tallest and everyone thought he was going to make it because he was two-feet taller than anyone else,” Powell said.

“When I made the Australian under-20s is when I thought I could make a career out of rugby.

“Some of the guys call [Jackson-Hope] and Joostey ‘The Future’ because it’s exciting to know there are boys coming through in that next generation. I’d love if we can stay together, it would be amazing.”


May 28: ACT Brumbies v Japan Sunwolves at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

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WA’s own Gage Roads Brewing Co takes top gong at Australian International Beer Awards

Gage Roads Brewing Co awarded Champion Australian Beer for their pale ale, Little Dove. Photo: Gage Roads Brewing CoWA’s own Gage Roads Brewing Co has taken out the top prize at the 2016 Australian International Beer Awards held in Melbourne on Thursday night.

The Palmyra-based brewing juggernaut won the award for Champion Australian Beer for its pale ale Little Dove, as well as Best New World Style Pale Ale.

Gage Roads brewing manager Dirk Penny said everyone at Gage Roads was stoked to hear the news.

“It was fantastic and really great for our family down here at Gage Roads to be recognised for our hard work,” Mr Penny said.

Their award-winning 6.2 per cent pale ale was judged by 63 beer industry experts alongside more than 1700 entries from 326 Australian and international breweries.

“The judges basically said it smelt amazing, had a great aroma and was well balanced,” he said.

Little Dove was a joint effort from all the brewers at Gage Roads and was only in production for two weeks before it was submitted for the awards.

“It was a collaboration, we are lucky enough to have great brewers at Gage and we got them all together to create it,” he said.

“We all brought our favourite beers and tasted them, decided on our parameters and eventually came up with our pale ale.

“It was a very organic process, we basically picked the best bits of all our favourite beers.”

Named after the strip of ocean which separates Rottnest Island and Fremantle, Gage Roads has been brewing for 14 years, and Mr Penny said WA’s craft beer scene has come a long way since then.

“For such an isolated state, we do well,” he said.

“We have a good craft beer scene, it’s a really good environment here.

“The public are starting to catch on too, it’s definitely growing.”

Gage Roads has frantically produced kegs today to get the winning brew to beer enthusiasts across Perth.

“Now we’ve won this award, we’re rushing around trying to get kegs out, but we got 80 out today.”

AIBA head judge and head brewer at Little Creatures in Fremantle Warren Pawsey said it was another successful year for the competition.

“As in previous years, the process was intense and the judging panel were impressed with the quality and range of styles that were presented this year,” Mr Pawsey said.

“This year the medal round was particularly hard to judge with some truly cracking beers entered.”

This victory for Gage Roads comes hot on the heels of Albany’s Limeburners Distillery winning Australian Distiller of the Year in April.

Others winners include Boston Beer Company taking out Champion International Beer and WA’s Eagle Bay Brewing Co, Mash Brewing, and Feral Brewing Company for various other awards.

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Grieving family mourn crash death of Chidlow ‘father, husband, son and brother’

Chidlow man, Rod Hasson, 38, was killed in a head-on crash in Mogumber on Wednesday.A family is mourning the loss of a 38-year-old Chidlow man they described as a “loving father, husband, son and brother”, after a head-on crash at Mogumber on Wednesday that claimed two lives.

Rod Hasson and a 32-year-old Three Springs woman died when their vehicles collided around 7.50pm on Wednesday night on the Bindoon-Moora Road in Mogumber, about 140 kilometres north of Perth.

His family issued a heart-rending statement:

“The family is absolutely devastated and heartbroken,” it read.

“Rod was a loving father, husband, son, and brother. Our hearts go out to the other two families involved in this tragedy.

“We thank everyone for their overwhelming support.

“We would like to grieve in private with our family and friends. Thank you.”

Major Crash officers are investigating the fatal crash and a spokeswoman said it appeared that a Ford Territory station sedan had been travelling south while a Holden Epica sedan had been travelling north.

“Mr Hasson and a woman (details yet to be confirmed) died at the scene,” she said.

A passenger in the Ford received critical injuries and was flown to Royal Perth Hospital by the RAC rescue helicopter.

Police would like to speak to anyone who saw either vehicle before the crash or the crash itself.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at 老域名crimestopperswa老域名备案老域名*/]]>Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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EgyptAir flight MS804: Pilots named in plane believed crashed in Mediterranean

Missing EgyptAir flight: what we know nowAustralian dual national on missing planePassenger found passport in time to board missing flight

The two pilots who were flying EgyptAir flight MS804 before it disappeared on Thursday have been named.

News network CNN has identified the pilots as Mohamed Said Shoukair, the captain, and Mohamed Mamdouh Ahmed Assem, the first officer.

The network cited an official close to the investigation and a security official as their sources.

Mirvat Zaharia Zaki Mohamed was reported as the head flight attendant.

Sixty-six people were on board the Airbus A320 when it disappeared on a flight between Paris and Cairo in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The 56 passengers, from 12 countries, included three small children. Thirty of the passengers were from Egypt, 15 were from France, two were from Iraq, and one passenger each was from Canada, Chad, Kuwait, Sudan, Portugal, Belgium, Algeria and Saudi Arabia. One of the those on board was an Australian-British dual national.

Of the 10 crew members on the flight, three were security officers, two were the pilots and five were flight attendants.

By Friday morning, Mr Assem’s Facebook page had been turned into a memorial by Facebook.

Friends shared his profile picture, showing him in the cockpit of a plane, and expressed their disbelief.

“My heart is burning ever since I woke up to the news,” one friend wrote. “How could something so horrific happen to such a kind soul. Even those who were not close to you have always stated how kind and [what a] polite type of a dreamer you were.”

It was initially believed no Australians were on the flight. On Friday, foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop announced an Australian-British dual national was on board.

Ms Bishop did not release a name, however the only British national on board was Richard Osman, 40, a geologist who had just welcomed the birth of his second child.

Mr Osman was flying to Cairo on MS804 for his job as a geologist with an Egyptian goldmining company, his brother, Alistair Osman, told the South Wales Evening Post.

An air and sea search which scoured the Mediterranean for a second day has not yet found a trace of the plane.

On Thursday, Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said the plane swerved left and right then plunged by 22,000 feet before it disappeared off the radar.

Though EgyptAir continued to refer to the plane as missing, French president Francois Hollande said the plane had crashed.

“The information we have managed to gather – the ministers, members of the government and the Egyptian authorities – confirm alas that this plane had crashed,” Mr Hollande said.

With Agencies

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Indonesian minister says evidence against international school staff is strong

Indonesian teacher’s aide Ferdinant Tjiong and Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman had their prison sentences for sodomy at the Jakarta Intercultural School reinstated by the Supreme Court on appeal in February this year. Photo: Michael BachelardIndonesia’s chief security minister says he will show the ambassadors of four countries – including Australia – solid evidence against teachers and cleaners accused of sexual abuse at a prestigious international school.

Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman and Indonesian teacher’s aide Ferdinant Tjiong had their prison sentences for sodomy at the Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) reinstated by the Supreme Court on appeal in February this year.

The shock decision attracted international ire because it was at odds with that made by the Jakarta High Court, which acquitted the men in 2015.

Chief Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan said he had asked the Jakarta Police to brief him on the case after ambassadors had complained.

He said he would invite the ambassadors from Canada, Australia, the US and Britain to see the evidence.

“We will invite the respected ambassadors because they insisted that we were wrong,” Mr Panjaitan said.

“We try to deal with the JIS case seriously, we don’t want to be accused on baseless grounds. In a short time we will invite the four ambassadors who complained about the case to see the evidence so they will believe in our law and trust our credibility. We don’t want to be repeatedly accused of (mishandling cases). We are not a banana republic.”

US Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake’s statement at the time was remarkable in its forthright condemnation.

“We are shocked and disappointed by the decision announced by the Supreme Court to sentence two international school teachers,” he said.

“In August 2015, the Indonesian High Court found that there was not sufficient evidence to support the teachers’ conviction. It is not clear what evidence the Supreme Court used to overturn the High Court’s decision. The outcome of the legal process will impact international views about the rule of law in Indonesia.”

The Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson, was more measured but said in February he hoped the teachers would be acquitted in line with the Indonesian High Court decision.

“As a founding member of the board of the school we have a significant involvement in the Jakarta Intercultural School and will be following this case closely,” he said at the time.

The high-fee school, now Indonesia’s largest international school, used to be called the Joint Embassy School, after its Australian, British, American and then-Yugoslavian partners.

Mr Panjaitan said after checking with the Jakarta Police and the Attorney-General’s Office and reading the report into the case he was convinced the investigation had been professional.

“I would like to invite them (the ambassadors) and show (them the report),” Mr Panjaitan said. “After we make the presentation we will see what they say.”

Asked if he was aware the international community was following the case, Mr Panjaitan said: “I don’t care, you know I trust my own people, we have strong evidence so we’ll prove it. We will show them this is the strong evidence from the government of Indonesia. Why do we have to care so much about the critics when we have strong evidence?”

The teachers’ legal team have said they will lodge a judicial review to ask the Supreme Court to review and examine how the law had been implemented.

They said a medical document from a hospital in Belgium said one of the alleged victims had never contracted a sexually transmitted disease as had been claimed.

The legal team also claims a medical examination of one of the alleged victims in Singapore showed no signs of sexual abuse.

But Mr Panjaitan questioned the need to go as far as Belgium for evidence.

“We have independent doctors, forensic experts, specialists on genetic diseases,” he said.

Follow Jewel Topsfield on Facebook

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Should Ballarat hospitals can fizzy drinks?poll

CALORIE loaded, sugar laden drinks are staples in all vending machines, but do they have a place in our hospitals?

Ballarat Community Health dietitian Kerri Gordon says soft drinks are major contributors to poor health and poor nutrition. Picture: Dylan Burns

A small health service is leading the push to can the drinks –by providing water only to patientsthrough both its vending machines and cafeteria.

As one of the highest soft drink consumers in the state, will Ballarat be the first major city to lead the way when it comes to a healthy future?

A 2011/12 health population surveyshowed Ballarat’s sugary soft drink consumption to befive per cent higher than Melbourne.

Nineteen per cent of the city’s population drinks soft drink on a regular basis.

Heart Foundation statistics also revealed Ballarat to be one of Australia’s fattest places, with residents also having a high rate of type 2 diabetes.

These same factors pushed East Grampians Health service to ban all drinks except water, tea and coffee three months ago. The movement is gaining momentum. Murrumbidgee Local Health District, in Southern New South Wales pulled all sugary drinks from its vending machines at more than 30 health locations in the district. It attributed a high rate of obesity to the unprecedented decision.

East Grampians Health Service chief Nick Bush said it was the responsibility of the health service to lead the way when it came to healthy living.

“We have a focus on reducing obesity and we decided we needed to take leadership,” Mr Bush said.“It’s a very important step and we hope through positive leadership other health services will follow us.”

Ballarat Health Services chief allied health officer Wendy Hubbard said it was “crazy” that soft drink consumptionhad got to this stage.

“We have tried to do things, like put water at eye level. But it’s not enough,” Ms Hubbard said.

“We have certainly recognised these (soft drinks) as an important issue and major contributor to a range of health issues.

“BHS’ Population Health and Primary Care Committeeis currently developing a strategy to address the issue in healthcare and other organisations across our community.”

St John of God Ballarat hospital director of nursing Maria Noonan said there were no plans to remove any beverages from distribution but stressed the hospital had a range of healthy options.

Ballarat Community Health dietitian Kerri Gordon said hospitals were at the“coal face of health” and any positive changes they could make in terms of health promotion would be hugely beneficial.

“There is evidence that obesity contributes to chronic disease and poor nutrition,” Ms Gordon said.

“We need to make peoples’ access to health services positive.”

Ballarat is currently engaged in the H30 Challenge to help fight the rising obesity problem.Ballarat’s obesity is 2.8 per cent higher than inMelbourne.Vic Health chief executive Jerrel Rechter last year toldThe Courierthat sugary drinks were costing Ballarat residents both financially and in terms of their long term health.

“Ballarat is pretty high up there on the scale,” Ms Rechter said.“Sugary drinks are the highest sugar intake in our diet. It’s just become what people drink.”

Ballarat mayor Des Hudson did not support the push to ban soft drinks because he feared it would take away personal choice.He saidthe decision was ultimately up to hospitals and health organisations. He stressed council had engaged in the H30 initiative to promote healthy choices.

Anotherreport labelled Ballarat as one of the most unhealthy cities in the world.

The ABS figures this year showed Ballarat had the second largest increase in any major urban areas of obesity among adults. There was an 8.2 per cent increase leading to a total of a 75.3 per cent obesity rate.

Australian Beverages Council CEO, Geoff Parker labelled a NSW Labor push to ban all soft drinks at hospitals as misguided.

“Australians need to continue to focus on the sensible, practical management of nutrition, not extreme regulatory measures ordered by the latest wave of anti-sugar discourse,” Mr Parker said.

“As an industry, we are strong advocates for better education, consumption in moderation and a common sense approach to all aspects of an individual’s diet.”

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Wineries offer fans opportunity to rent vines and make their own personal drop

Brian Spencer, his son Spencer Page and dog Annie at the Shiraz Republic, their winery and brewery in the Heathcote wine region. Photo: Paul JeffersFancy serving your own custom bottle of wine at your next dinner party? You could name it after yourself or perhaps your dog – Quin’s Shiraz, perhaps?

For a handful of Victorians who appreciate a boutique drop but don’t have the time – or the millions of dollars to set up their own vineyard – they are jumping on the sharing economy bandwagon and renting vines.

The Shiraz Republic, located in Toolleen, in the state’s north, is one of a handful of wineries that allow wine enthusiasts to rent vines and then have their grapes turned into their own signature bottle of plonk.

The business runs a bit like ride-sharing company Uber or rent-a-home business Airbnb – it’s a temporary rent that allows someone to experience something that is normally out of their reach. And while many people fantasise about owning their own vineyard, the the cost and hard work behind the dream makes it impossible for all but the biggest diehards.

Spencer Page, who runs the winery, originally ran the company as a traditional family business but quickly realised that offering non-winemakers a taste of making their own wine brought the customer closer to the action.

“It started with a couple of people who couldn’t grow their own wine but wanted to, and then we started to sell grapes to home winemakers and it all went from there,” he says.

“The appeal is mostly to find out how the operation of a winery works and how to make wine themselves but it’s also a fun and social thing,” he says.

Some customers are happy to leave the everyday work to Page and simply wait for their shipment of wine to arrive on their doorstep, while others are more hands-on, even bringing their own fertiliser to help grow their grapes.

“During harvest, it feels like a big family holiday, because everyone is working together and talking and learning,” he says. “It’s a really social thing we do over three or four weeks.”

People who rent a vine can expect about 25 bottles of plonk from their investment per season.

Page says that like the ethical food movement, which demands to know where food is produced and know that workers are being paid properly, growing your own grapes and making wine gives customers plenty of control over what they drink and serve their friends.

“It’s about being more involved and this is a good way to do that,” Page says.

Other wineries that rent their vines include ones in the Macedon Ranges and the Adelaide Hills, and it’s a trend that has taken off overseas, too. In the winemaking centre of France, Bordeaux, a winery also rents vines and has called itself … Shiraz Republic.

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Duo appeal sentences in Port Kembla pub robbery

On the afternoon of April 29, 2013, three men walked into a bar …

A few minutes later they left with $37,000.

The bar in question was the Steelworks Hotel at Port Kembla, and the three men –Mark Humphries, Wade Ponfiled and Jhy Wilson –were in the mood for a robbery.

Two of the men were armed, Humphries with a pistoland Ponfield with a knife, when the trio pushed open the doors of the hotel and made their way to the main bar, demanding cash.

A woman working behind the bar had the gun pointed at her and was ordered toempty the till.

The trio also demanded access to the pub’s safe and weresubsequently taken to a back office by another worker where they obtained tins containing the pub’s takings.

They then fled the scene.

Documents tendered during court proceedings for the trio said the incident was captured on CCTV cameras.

Humphries was arrested on June 14, whilePonfield and Wilson were apprehended five days later.

They each pleaded not guilty to a charge of robbery armed with a dangerous weapon, however were all found guilty after a jury trial.

Ponfield was sentenced to a minimum jail term of three years and seven months; Humphries to a minimum of five years; and Wilson to a minimum of three years and six months.

Wilson accepted his sentence, however Ponfield and Humphries challenged theirs inthe NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

In a decision handed down this month, judgesClifton Hoeben, Robert Beech-Jones and David Davies dismissed Ponfield’s application, finding his sentencehad been appropriate, however agreed to reduce Humphries’jail termafter finding the original sentence had been too severe.

Humphries was re-sentenced to a non-parole period of three years and nine months, making him first eligible for parole in October 2018.

Ponfield will be eligible for release to parole in June 2019, while Wilson is due for release later this year.

Each man will be required to serve a lengthy period on parole.

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