Police spoil Theos party

first_imgLast night MP Theo Theophanous remained under investigation despite the dismissal of the rape case against him. Mr Theophanous will not stand trial on the charge of raping a woman in his Parliament office on a September night in 1998. In the committal hearing that was held in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, Friday’s decision rendered by Magistrate Peter Reardon was welcomed with feelings of elation by the embattled MP. “There’s no bigger test of a family than what we’ve gone through and I’m so proud of my family and of my wife and the way in which they handled themselves, the way in which they supported me through what has been a nightmare,” said an emotional Mr Theophanous to Neos Kosmos English Edition (NKEE).“I’m so pleased that the judge saw through what the evidence showed, was a complete fabrication.” He went on to suggest bias and racial stereotyping were part of the motivation for the prosecuting policeman; “I don’t know if the Greek community noticed, but the policeman who was prosecuting, did it with such a bias and such zeal – at one point he was asked about an email that he sent to the woman [accusing me] and he wrote ‘this person will be a problem for us as a witness’.” Mr Theophanous went on to say “It is completely inappropriate for him to say ‘this person is going to be a bit of a problem’ and then he added he’s a typical Greek’.” Mr Theophanous added, “When asked by my lawyer Robert Richter what he meant by saying ‘typical Greek male’ his response was “Well, you know, I’ve got lots of Greek friends and arrogant is what a typical Greek is and they would agree with that’.” An angry Mr Theophanous underscored “this is the kind of stereotyping we still have in this State, unfortunately.” On Friday afternoon Mr Theophanous said to NKEE, that he was “Very happy and the family is very happy and we’re very pleased to be past it.”Mr Theophanous did not wish to speculate about his future plans regarding his political career as he highlighted the need to take some time during the weekend to “think things through.” News of his formal discharge were also met with satisfaction by longtime friends of Mr Theophanous. The director of the Hellenic Museum, Vicky Yiannoulatos, a former advisor of Mr Theophanous said to NKEE; “I think it’s fantastic news for Theo, his family and his friends who have supported him because I think justice has been served.”In the lead up to the closing of the submissions by the defence and the prosecution, Mr Theophanous’ attorney slammed the conduct of the investigation by the leading police detective. Robert Richter, QC, in his closing submission on Thursday said “[…]this investigation and prosecution does a great disservice to all victims of rape and there are many, many real victims of rape.” “Mr Smith’s investigation in my submission gives a bad name to dedicated and hard working sexual offence investigators,” Mr Richter said referring to the chief investigator in the case against the embattled MP Mr Theophanous who was accused by a woman that he raped her in his Parliament office more than 10 years ago. His defence lawyer argued that the police had helped the alleged victim modify her testimony several times in order to mirror the evidence that became available during the investigation. “I would put to you that your investigation was a complete disgrace,” Mr Richter said to Detective Sergeant Doug Smith while questioning him on the stand. “I wouldn’t say that,” replied Sergeant Smith. During his testimony the detective claimed that friends of the alleged victim who disputed her claims were not reliable witnesses. Senior Constable Karla Dennis would not confirm whether the new probe was into alleged interference with witnesses but she said it was separate from another inquiry. That inquiry, began at Mr Theophanous’ request in March, is into whether the rape allegation was part of a conspiracy against the former Victorian minister.Mr Theophanous denied interfering with witnesses and said it was his accuser who had tried to “contact, coerce or coach at least six witnesses”. In a statement, he said that no issue in relation to alleged interference was raised during the committal hearing. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

AK Hammertime in Haines

first_imgYou may have heard NPR’s Morning Edition running their “Unsung Museums” special this summer. Well it turns out Alaska has its fair share of them, including the hammer museum in Haines. It’s a place where hammers are revered, and boast stories both heartfelt and weird. The Hammer Museum has been open for more than a dozen years, providing a public display not to be matched. Listen nowA 19-foot hammer guards the outside of the Hammer Museum in Haines. The museum features 2,000 hammers on display and sees about 5,000 visitors each summer. (Photo by Jillian Rogers, KHNS – Haines)Dave Pahl is the founder of the Hammer Museum.“You know, it easily could have been saws,” Pahl said. “In fact, we won’t even go there because I’ve got a big saw thing going on, too.”Pahl said he didn’t ‘have a clue’ that a tourist attraction would be the end game to his hammer collection, which he started decades ago. The museum features 2,000 hammers on display. And that’s not even all of them.“I think the combination of the variety, the collectability – I had hammers for my own use before I even had any thought of collecting – and then the history, really, wrapped it all up,” Pahl said. “It seems like there’s a lot more history in a hammer, there’s a lot of history in saws, too, but the hammer was man’s first tool. It’s the king of tools, that’s what they say.”The museum, nestled in a cozy spot just off Main Street and guarded by a 19-foot replica hammer, opened in 2002. It became a nonprofit a couple of years later. Since then, Hammer Museum t-shirts and trinkets emblazoned with cheeky sayings like ‘Nailed it’ and “I got hammered at the Hammer Museum” fly off the shelves in the summer months. On a busy Wednesday, cruise ship passengers crowd into the small space and marvel at the collection.And of course, MC Hammer is playing in the background.To enhance the atmosphere on Wednesdays, the museum busiest day of the week, they play hammer-related songs and MC Hammer – There aren’t a ton of hammer songs, but MC Hammer released at least eight albums.Gloria and Mark Olson are perusing the collection. They’re cruise ship passengers from Battleground, Washington.MARK: “I love it!”GLORIA: “He said ‘I’m going to take hundreds of pictures in here.”MARK: “My first thought is ‘How can there be so many different types of hammers?’”Ashleigh Reed is the museum’s director. She said people step through the door and usually their first word is ‘Wow!’ But, there are those few … A cruise ship guest snaps photos of the extensive hammer collection at the Hammer Museum in Haines on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Wednesdays are the museum’s busiest day. (Photo by Jillian Rogers, KHNS – Haines)“There are definitely people that are like ‘oh, I came to look for this hammer very specifically’ and we may or may not have it out on display, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hanging around,” Reed said.Most of the specimens belong to Dave Pahl, but some have been donated from around the world. There are medical autopsy hammers, carpenters’ hammers of course, tiny hammers for making jewelry, giant hammers designed to avoid the dreaded finger whack, and …“Well, we do have murder hammers, and this is one of these hammers that’s been documented in the visitor’s guide of what we have,” Reed said as she showed off the displays.She shows off the ancient Tlingit Warrior Pick, also known as the ‘Slave Killer.” It’s a stone hammer hundreds of years old that Pahl happened to unearth while digging the building’s basement years ago. He took it as a sign that he was on the right track, and the artifact is now displayed prominently. On average, the hammer heaven sees about 5,000 visitors each summer. Between admission sales – it’s five bucks to get in – t-shirt profits, and grants, the museum makes enough to keep Reed employed for about half the year. The quirky venue pretty much markets itself, but a January spot on the quiz show Jeopardy! definitely helped boost the museum, and the town.The Hammer Museum in Haines was featured on the quiz show Jeopardy in January. (Photo courtesy Hammer Museum)In the category ‘Offbeat Museums’ The $200 clue was “Haines, Alaska’s museum of this tool features exhibits on handle making and ‘5 ways not hit your fingers.’” The guy who buzzed in got it wrong, he said knife. But folks in Haines were bursting with pride after their 15 minutes of fame.“But man, that photo of the screen from Jeopardy got, like, 22,000 hits. It got shared and reposted, so there was definite interest, for sure, for sure,” Reed said. “It was pretty fun.”Haines has the only museum dedicated to hammers in the United State. A quick Google search reveals that there are other exhibits around the nation that offer displays of tools, but nothing touches the Hammer Museum here.last_img read more