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Skyhawk Crash – Mark Middleton (Sentencing – Protests and More Protests) – Golfing General – Vets Reject Pay Offer – School Bus Crash – Cruise And Kidman

SKYHAWK CRASH: An NZ Air Force Skyhawk has crashed in Australia killing one.

MARK MIDDLETON SENTENCING: Mark Middleton was sentenced to nine months jail, suspended for two years, in an Auckland court today. He had spent two weeks in jail after being convicted for threatening to kill murderer Paul Daly. The court was told that Middleton suffered from psychotropic grief. He promised not to threaten to kill Daly again. The crown argued that a deterrent sentence was necessary. The judge said the background to the case was important – “words are inadequate to describe it”. The judge warned Middleton that he would be imprisoned if he reoffended. He also warned others not to encourage Middleton to reoffend.

MARK MIDDLETON PROTESTORS: Outside the court a crowd watched and waited for the sentence. They applauded when he was released. Mark Middleton said he wanted to thank all his supporters. Protestors said they were angry with the government and the judiciary. About 300 marched through central Auckland while waiting for the sentence. A list of murder victims was read out. The mood was sombre as a minutes silence was observed. The protestors said they did not influence the judge’s decision. Middleton’s family say they hope the protest will lead to changes to the system.

MORE ON MARK MIDDLETON PROTESTS: Protests were also held elsewhere around NZ. Hundreds listened to a letter in Middleton’s home town. In Owaka their were long queues to sign a petition. In Wellington the crowd cheered when they heard the sentence. Peter Williams says their was a sinister aspect in the background of this case, that of a lynch mob. A political psychologist says the public are frustrated.

GOLFING GENERAL: Army chief Major General Dodson has been accused of playing golf while his troops suffer without pay increases. Dodson’s itinerary shows 15 overseas trips with golf played on nine of them. Dodson says that playing golf is a good way of doing business, especially in Asia. NZ First’s Ron Mark says Dodson should be more restrained in his spending. The Minister of Defence says that all of Dodson’s trips were approved. Dodson plays an 11 handicap.

VETS REJECT OFFER: Meat work vets have rejected a pay offer from MAF management. Meat workers are annoyed that they are losing out on work thanks to the vets. The vets rejected a one off $10,000 payment as part of the latest MAF offer. Their spokesman said that the offer was intentionally provocative.

SCHOOL BUS CRASH: Several School Children were injured in a school bus crash today. They were treated to McDonalds.

CRUISE AND KIDMAN: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s divorce proceedings have become more bitter as Cruise backdates the separation and claims the relationship ended after nine years and 11 months. Cruise is trying to protect $500 million in assets. If the relationship lasted 10 years then it comes under special provisions in Californian law.

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