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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Escaped killer to face court

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Forum to address housing emergency, March 8

A grassroots movement is bringing women, community and art together on International Women’s Day (March 8) in an urgent push to solve the local housing emergency. 

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Action on Cumbalum Interchange at Ballina?

Following multiple community requests, Cr Phillip Meehan brought a motion to the last Ballina Council meeting calling for additional ramps to be built at the Cumbalum-Pacific Motorway interchange.

Housing affordability on agenda at Ballina

With the housing crisis worsening in Ballina and across the Northern Rivers, councillors agreed that something had to be done about the problem at their meeting yesterday.

Editorial – Ewingsdale development creep rejected by residents

A petition of 294 signatures against rezoning Ewingsdale farmland to commercial use will be presented to councillors for their upcoming Thursday meeting.

Truth

Dr Matt Landos, East Ballina There is the real news and then there is the fake news. The radio news announced...

Forum to address housing emergency, March 8

A grassroots movement is bringing women, community and art together on International Women’s Day (March 8) in an urgent push to solve the local housing emergency. 

Resilience through biodiversity and awareness

The Byron Shire Resilience and Regeneration Roadshow will be in Brunswick Heads this Saturday, as part of a series of events across the region tackling the question: ‘How do we create more resilient communities in 2021?’

Escaped psychiatric patient Trent Jennings has been charged with offences allegedly committed while on day release from Morisset Hospital.

Jennings, who was arrested while sleeping in a black Mercedes 4WD in Byron Bay yesterday, escaped a murder conviction on grounds of mental illness after self-administering a cocktail of recreational drugs before tying up and killing a man in a Sydney park eight years ago.

Jennings has been charged with detaining a person for advantage, robbery and car theft.

It is alleged that Jennings stole the car on 29 December, while on day leave from the hospital, after tying up a man he met on the internet.

Police now admit that a series of bungles led to Jennings not having been detained earlier.

‘Clearly, something has gone wrong,’ assistant police commissioner Mark Murdoch admitted yesterday, when it was revealed that Jennings had been stopped by police for a roadside licence check the day he absconded and was issued with fines but allowed to drive on.

‘We did not know Jennings had committed the offences 24 hours before. We did not know he had absconded from Morisset Hospital. The cops, as I say, are not clairvoyants,’ he told media yesterday.

Police commissioner Andrew Scipione will make recommendations to improve communication between the police and health ministers over such incidents, he said.

Questions remain about why Jennings was allowed to leave the hospital alone and why authorities took three hours to alert police after he didn’t return at his appointed time.

Clinical associate professor at Sydney University, Michael Robertson, told ABC radio yesterday ‘it would be a standard of care that you would need to notify police if there was a patient who was a forensic patient who had absconded,’ he said.

But NSW chief psychiatrist John Allan has defended the length of time it took for Morisset Hospital to notify police Jennings had escaped, saying ‘it’s often important to give people a little bit of leeway’.


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