An indecent response

STANDING UP: Georgia Mueck, left, and Luci Regan have had a strong response to a Facebook page they started to document indecent assault in Newcastle venues. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers FED UP after years of being groped and touched as the recipients of unwanted male attentionin Newcastle night spots, twoyoung women are taking a stand againstindecent assault. Something they claimis occurring with such frequency it has become “normal”.
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Georgia Mueck, 23, and LuciRegan, 21, have created a Facebook page where others can come forward and register their experiences in venues around Newcastle.

Within daysof the page going live more than 100 women had made shocking claims about their experiences in several Newcastle late-night venuesby fillingout aconfidential form posted on the page.Most of the respondents are aged between 18 and 24.

The NewcastleHeraldhas seen some of the responses, which include incidences of groping to thebreasts, bottom and genitals.

Other women have reportedbeing pulled onto the laps of strangers, pushed against walls and kissed, havingtheir dresses and skirts pulled up, bras unfastened, grabbed forcefully, being digitally penetrated on the dance floor, having their drinks spiked andnipples flicked.

Women reported being abused, having their hair pulled, drinks poured over their headsand spat on when asking the offender to stop.

Some respondents said venues had failed to take appropriate action, or ignored their reports entirely,when they had complained.

“The security guards within Newcastle’s nightlife industry are extremely ineffective at handling anything like this, if you were to approach a guard about this they would most likely kick you out,” one respondent said.

One respondent said she“always expects itto happen” when she goes out and many said they no longer went to late-night venues in Newcastle because of concerns for their personal safety.

Ms Mueck said the problem in Newcastle was so big many young women going out at nightnow expected to be sexually harassed.

“If it’s a crowded place there is almost a 100 per cent chance you are going to be groped, felt-up,” she said.

While it was far from the worst experience Ms Mueck has had in Newcastle late night venues, thetipping point came in theearly hours of July 6 at The Argyle House.

“Some guy sitting behind me reached over and grabbed my arse,” Ms Mueck said.

In CCTV footage shown to the Herald by the venue a young man is seen reaching out and touching Ms Mueck on the bottom.

Ms Mueckreported the matter to a RSA marshalwho passed her table a few minuteslater.

However, because she could not identify who had touched her, no formal action was taken.

The Argyle House operations manager, AngusHarper, acknowledged the incident occurred in the night spot.

He said the problem of women being “sexually harassed”in venues across Newcastle was “widespread”.

“We do acknowledge the issue occurred, there are protocols in place for incidencessuch as this onefor action to be taken,” Mr Harper said.

“It couldhave been handled more appropriately …the response was incorrect.”

Mr Harper blamed the short delay between when the incident occurred and when it was reported, and the fact MsMueck could not identify the offender for the breakdown in the venue’s protocols.

Ms Mueck said she was not interested in singling out one venue, because the problem occurred routinely in other late-night venues as well.

Nor was she interested in seeing the alleged offender charged.

“What we want is cultural change,” she said.

“We want them to know this is not on.”

The Argyle House is taking the matter seriously. All staff have been summonsedto a meeting on Tuesday.

“Everyone is going to be there, this issue will obviously be raised,” Mr Harper said.

“The importance of patrons safety and well-being, ultimately their happiness and comfort within the venue will be stressed.

“When you go out you want to feel safe and not be looking over your shoulder the whole time.”

The Argyle House had submitted all footage and relevant information from the incident to policeand said it was committed to supporting Ms Mueck in whatever course of action she chose.

The establishment wanted to take leadership on the issue and said venues throughout the city needed tounite and tackle the problem together.

“We will be in touch with other venues around Newcastle,” Mr Harper said.

“This is an issue which has snowballed and needs to be dealt with appropriately.”

Newcastle police Acting Detective Inspector Scott Wheeler said anyone who experienced any form of sexual violence should “remove themselves from the situation, if possible, and notify authorities”.

“There is no excuse for this type of behaviour and it won’t be tolerated at any time,” Detective Inspector Wheeler said.

“Many people aren’t aware that any form of unwanted sexual contact is sexual violence and it’s a crime.

“The key word is unwanted – it can include touching through to sexual assault.”

He urged women to contact police if they experienced unwanted sexual contact.

“Our priority is always the health and well-being of victims, but it’s only when we know what’s happening that we can help.”

– Georgia Mueck, 23

Newcastle Rugby League: Kurri Kurri Bulldogs playmaker Terence Seu Seu receives one-match suspension

OUT: Kurri Kurri Bulldogs playmaker Terence Seu Seu. Picture: Marina NeilKURRI Kurri will be without playmaker Terence Seu Seu for Saturday’s catch-up game against competition leaders Western Suburbs at Harker Oval after taking an early guilty plea this week.
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His penalty for a grade-one reckless high tackle charge from Saturday’s loss to Cessnock was halved, which means he can return for the Bulldogs against Maitland next weekend in what shapes as a possible battle for the wooden spoon.It leaves the former NRL hooker with 50 carry-over points for any future visit to the Newcastle Rugby League judiciary.

* ABulldogsreserve grader may not be so lucky when he faces a Newcastle RL disciplinary hearing on Thursday night for an off-field incident involving Cessnock prop Kurt Warden during the same Coalfields derby.

The unidentified player, who was a spectator at the time, will answer three code of conduct breaches after allegedly pushing Warden, who had been sent to the sin bin at Kurri Sportsground.

CATCH-UP FIXTURES: Western Suburbs v Kurri Kurri at Harker Oval on Saturday; South Newcastle v Macquarie at Townson Oval on Sunday.

* AS of Wednesday Maitland hadn’t lodged an official appeal about a Newcastle RL match review committee decision earlier this week.

Pickers winger Tyler Le Prince-Campbelldidn’t require surgery but will miss the rest of the season with a fractured cheekbone after copping a strayboot to the head.Central’sJustin Worley escaped penalties both during and after the game.

* HUNTER product Caitlin Moran has been named at five-eighth for NSW ahead of the women’s interstate challenge against Queenslandin Wollongong next Sunday.

The Jillaroos centre will be joined by North Newcastle and Aussie teammates Isabelle Kelly and Bec Young.

Newcastle Rugby League: Western Suburbs second-rower Ben Stone quietly impresses coach Matt Lantry

TOUCH: Western Suburbs second-rower Ben Stone has been impressive for the ladder-leading Rosellas in 2017 with coach Matt Lantry praising the 21-year-old’s ability to do all the “little things”. Picture: Marina NeilOn the surface Western Suburbs are just a clean cut above everyone else.
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Leading the Newcastle first grade competition with just one loss, comfortablyholding the best for and against records while alsoaveraging a 22-point marginfromthe opening 10 games.

Underneath it all doing the dirty work is Ben Stone.

The 21-year-old Belmont Southsecond-rower comes from good rugby league stock –dad Rick the former Knights coach and younger brother Sam a current NRL player.

And while sometimes “underestimated” Wests mentor Matt Lantry knows the value of this Maltese international and counts his lucky stars to have the Lakes junior at Harker Oval in 2017.

“It hasn’t gone unnoticed,” Lantry said.

“We’re paying 200 points for him and it’s probably the best 200 points we’ve spent.

“He’s well respected by his teammates andjust does all the little things.

“A guy actually described him to me just recently as the Dallas Johnston [former n forward] of the footy team or even like Alan Tongue [former Canberra skipper].They don’t do all flashy things, but they do all the little shitty things.”

Lantry can rattle off Stone’sweekly statistics –30 or 40 tackles and15 carries for 100-plus metres –but it’s much more than simply crunching the numbers.

“Work ethic,” Lantry said.“I thoroughly enjoycoaching him for what he bringsto the table because helets his actions do all the talking.

“And hiseffort areas are so impressive – it’s kick chase, it’s trail on the inside, it’s saving a try. He nevermisses an assignment andunderstands the gamewell.”

Lantry and Stone crossed paths at the Knights last year with NSW Cup. It was an insight on what to expect and potentially what’sto come.

“He always turns up and doeshis job,” Lantry said.

“Week in and week out you know what you’re going to get from him.

“You don’t have to worry about how he prepares orwhat his mental state is before a game because when Ben Stone’s there to play he gets it done.

“I’d actually like to think we’ll have him at Wests for a long, long time. He has great leadership qualities and is apotential leader amongthat group down the track.”

Although at a new club Stone has linked up with a few familiar faces at Wests, including playmaker Ryan Walker and utility James Elias,and feels that has been part of the team’s success.

“It was a bit hard to go from Lakes to Wests but Matt [Lantry] has got the right crew there and I’mreally enjoying my footy,” Stone said.

“It’spretty much the same players as last year [from Wests] plus five of us cameover and we all played together [at Knights] last year. So we’vegelled pretty well.”

Chinan Ninja Warrior: Fans call for Roy and HG to sit in commentator’s box

n Ninja Warriorhas been slaying the primetime competition, but that hasn’t stopped some fans from coming up with a rather absurdrequest.
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Ninja Warrior is popular. Well, the athletes at least.

In recent days, social media has lit up every time the addictive sports entertainment show goes to air. From the cushy confines of their living rooms, punters have shared their delight over moments of brute strength and hilarious fails.

But among the mountain of praise lies an idea that just won’t go away, with armchair warriors insistingNinja Warrior’sn hosts – Ben Fordham, Rebecca Maddern and Freddie Flintoff – aren’t “charismatic” enough for the job.

Some have even gone as far as to suggest the trio need to be replaced by Triple M’s Roy Slaven and HG Nelson in order to provide some comic relief. The pair are well-known for their alternative commentary for the Olympics (and, closer to home, the State of Origin).

The real hosts (left) Ben Fordham, Rebecca Maddern, Freddie Flintoff and (maybe) the preferred hosts, Roy and HG. Pic: Channel 9

Ninedeclined to comment but given the show’s strong ratings the network is unlikely to be in any hurry to change the line-up.

Even if they were able to convince Roy and HG to step into the commentary box,it would be too late, the show was filmed last year in Sydney making it impossible for new commentators to be parachuted in.

Roy and HG have been approached for comment. They’re on holidays at the moment, though, soNinja Warriorfever is probably the last thing on their minds.

#ninjawarriorau Hey @channel9, how many retweets is needed to get Roy and HG to commentate?

— Stanks (@ssvetec) July 9, 2017this run alone has shown #NinjaWarriorAU need for better commentators… a post from last nights show is spot on. Where is Roy and HG?

— Luke Michael (@LukeAus) July 10, [email protected] has bucked the trend, proving you don’t need charismatic hosts to produce successful TV #NinjaWarriorAU

— Jason Oxenbridge (@JOxenbridge) July 11, 2017

Sean Barnard pleads guilty to Nelson Bay pub glassing

Newcastle courthouse. A MAN on bail accused of seriously assaulting two police officers at Shoal Bay in 2014 has pleaded guilty to glassing another punter at a Nelson Bay pub.
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Sean Paul Barnard, 29, of Nelson Bay, appeared in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday via audio visual link from the maximum security section of Cessnock Correctional Centre.

Barnard’s solicitor, Chris O’Brien, entered a plea of guilty to a charge of reckless wounding after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)withdrew a more serious allegation of wounding a person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

According to a statement of police facts, which DPP solicitor Brooke Ellery said were not yet agreed upon between the parties, Barnard and the victim were drinking at the Sea Breeze Hotel at Nelson Bay on April 22 this year whena conversation about Barnard’s girlfriend became heated.

The pair were on the balcony of the hotel when Barnard, who was holding a schooner glass in his left hand, allegedly asked the victim: “What did you say about my girlfriend?”

The victim allegedly replied: “What did you say, sorry?”.

CCTV footage from the hotel appears to show Barnard poke the victim a number of times in the chest before grabbing him by the left shoulder and swinging the glass into the victim’s right ear and neck.

During a bail application in April, solicitorDrew Hamilton had said that CCTV footage showed an “impulsive act, a spontaneous act” after the conversation between the pair soured.

The force of the blow showered bystanders in shards of glass and the pair grappled for a moment before security broke it up.

Barnard was walked from the hotel before fleeing on foot, only to turn himself into police the next day.

He had been on bail for more than two-and-a-half years in relation to the incident with police, but has now been in custody since his arrest in April.

The victim was treated at the scene before being flown to John Hunter Hospital where he underwent surgery.

The matter was adjourned to Newcastle District Court on July 18, when Barnard will also appear alongside his three co-accuseds –Alan Mark Chegwidden, Matthew Terrance Connell and Jess Aaron Keatinge –in relation to thewild melee at Shoal Bay in November, 2014.

That matter has evolved into a long-running and complicated saga, which has includeda stay of the proceedings in May last year after lawyers for the four menreferred the matter to the Police Integrity Commission, citing “overt and flagrantbreaches of police protocol” concerning the use of tasers.