Australian mother Sally Faulkner and recovery agent Adam Whittington have been charged with kidnapping over the failed abduction of Ms Faulkner’s two children in Lebanon.The criminal conspiracy charges against the pair were dropped in a Lebanese court on Thursday afternoon. Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes crew, also accused of forcibly taking Ms Faulkner’s children from her ex-partner Ali Elamine, will be charged with an offence of knowing about the crime and failing to report it, which carries the penalty of a fine. Ms Faulkner’s lawyer is hoping the kidnapping charges will be dismissed on appeal. The trial date is still to be determined.
High rates to impact NSW residents
NSW residents will experience a blow to their bank accounts as a result of higher power bills, increased council rates and higher road tolls occurring after the end of financial year. Energy retailers will raise their prices from up to 17 per cent, causing electricity bills to rise by hundreds of dollars per year. Gas bills will also see an increase of $2 to $7 a year. Residents will see an increase in council rates of at least 1.8 per cent and motorists using road tolls on the Eastern Distributor in Sydney could pay up to an extra six cents per trip. Christopher Zinn, consumer advocate from the FiftyUp Club group, advised NSW residents the “best thing that you can do is make sure that you’re paying the lowest amount possible for your electricity and also ensure you’re using it as efficiently as possible”.
Nguyen Thi Huong sentenced to death for drug trafficking
A 73-year-old Australian woman, Nguyen Thi Huong, has been sentenced to death after being charged for attempting to traffic heroin from Vietnam to Sydney. Huong claimed she was given bars of soap containing the drugs by a Thai woman named Helen and was unaware that they contained heroin. Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court found the Australian woman guilty in a trial held on Wednesday, ruling that the offence was “extremely dangerous to the community“. Huong now has 15 days to appeal against the death sentence in which she faces death by lethal injection. The Australian government is concerned that an Australian citizen has been sentenced to death and “will continue to provide consular assistance and support to the woman and her family”. – Compiled from online sources by Vivien Wickham
Image of the 60 minutes crew after their release from prison in April from the Channel Nine Twitter feed.