Coober Pedy News Special Edition No. 74, 10 March 2014

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Monday 10 March 2014

Special Edition 74

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Lawyers contest strength of evidence in case of Nikola Novakovich, accused of murdering Coober Pedy teenager Karen Williams
• MARCH 04, 2014 4:53PM

LAWYERS for a man accused of killing Coober Pedy teenager Karen Williams 23 years ago will contest the strength of the prosecution case, a court has heard.
Nikola Novakovich, 42, appeared by video link in the Port Augusta Magistrates Court today.
Novakovich is charged with the murder of Karen, 16 , who disappeared in the early hours of Saturday, August 4, 1990. Her body has never been found.
Novakovich was arrested in November last year after 14 months of renewed investigations into the cold case by police, which included the excavation of several disused opal mineson the outskirts of Coober Pedy last year.
Previously, prosecutors have alleged Novakovich killed Karen in a “cold-blooded murder”, by raping and murdering her and then disposing of her body down a mine shaft.
They have alleged Novakovich offered to give Karen and her friends a lift in his car after they had attended a nearby hotel and restaurant.
They have further alleged Karen’s friends were dropped off first, leaving her alone in the car with Novakovich.
Prosecutors claim Karen’s friends told police they expected Novakovich to drive Karen to her mother Eva’s house 250m away, but she never arrived and has not been seen since.
They claim Novakovich had provided several conflicting versions of events during police interviews between 1990 and 2013 and that, ultimately, he had denied being involved in Karen’s disappearance.
Today, Novakovich’s lawyer Nick Vadasz filed a rule 20 argument — a hearing in which defence counsel contest the strength of prosecution evidence filed in the case.
Mr Vadasz also flagged serving a subpoena on Police Commissioner Gary Burns.
He said police case management records dating back to 1990 had not yet been made available.
Novakovich was remanded in custody to face court again next month.
Police are offering a $200,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to the recovery of Karen’s remains.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or

Senator Brandis, please keep your freedom promise

FamilyVoice Australia, 6 March 2013
“The Coalition Government should honour its election promise to eliminate the ‘hurt feelings’ test from the vilification grounds of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act,” FamilyVoice president David Phillips said today.
The Liberal National Coalition wrote the following words in a letter to FamilyVoice shortly before the federal election on 7 September 2013:

"We are concerned that section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which prohibits statements that "offend, insult or humiliate" another person or a group of people on grounds of race or ethnicity, is a threat to free speech in Australia.
Offending, insulting, humiliating or intimidating others on any grounds, racial or otherwise, is deplorable. It should be everyone's goal to elevate the standards of public debate, not lower them, and to demonstrate respect rather than disdain for the various components of our community. Still, a "hurt feelings" test is impossible to comply with while maintaining the fearless pursuit of truth, which should be the hallmark of a society such as ours. Speech that has to be inoffensive would be unerringly politically correct but it would not be free.
The Coalition will repeal section 18C in its current form. Any prohibitions on inciting hatred against or intimidation of particular racial groups should be akin to the ancient common law offences of incitement and causing fear.
The repeal of section 18C became an issue after Andrew Bolt was found to have breached this section of the Racial Discrimination Act through publication of two of his articles in the Herald Sun. The articles questioned the merit of awarding prizes reserved for Aboriginal people to fair-skinned people of significant European as well as Aboriginal descent.
Justice Bromberg found that 'fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them) were reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed in the newspaper articles'”.

Senator Brandis was right when he said at the time: “Section 18C, as presently worded, has no place in a society that values freedom of expression and democratic governance. If the Bolt decision is not overturned on appeal, the provision in its present form should be repealed.” Since the decision has not been overturned, section 18C should now be repealed."1 Senator Brandis was again right when he said last year that: “You cannot have a situation in a liberal democracy in which the expression of an opinion is rendered unlawful because somebody else … finds it offensive or insulting.”2 Dr Phillips said that fundamental freedoms of expression, association and religion underpin our democracy. “They took centuries to achieve – and they are worth defending against attacks from those who want us to return to the dark ages,” he said.
1. George Brandis, “Section 18C has no place in a society that values freedom of expression”, The Australian (30 September 2011).
2. Chris Merritt, “Attorney-General George Brandis's first task: repeal 'Bolt laws' in name of free speech”, The Australian (8 November 2013).

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