King’s headmaster Tim Hawkes admits ‘catastrophic failure’ at sex abuse royal commission

The King’s School headmaster Tim Hawkes outside the royal commission in 2015. Photo: Daniel Munoz The King’s School is part of a sexual abuse inquiry.
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The King’s School’s inaction on reporting an alleged indecent assault between teenage students was described as a “catastrophic failure” before a royal commission on Tuesday.

Senior staff at Parramatta were warned they could face criminal charges by not reporting an alleged indecent assault to police but failed to do so, the commission heard.

The Parramatta school’s deputy headmaster Andrew Parry told the inquiry he contacted police for advice about the alleged assault involving a teenage student ejaculating on another child at a 2013 camp.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard an officer at Castle Hill police advised him via email to make a formal report “to avoid any possible (criminal) action”.

The email was circulated to senior school staff, including headmaster Tim Hawkes, school counsellor Greg James and staff development director  Robert Chandler, the inquiry heard.

Dr Hawkes told the commission he did not dispute receiving the email but could not recall reading it.

The inquiry heard Dr Parry read the email but conceded in evidence: “I did not read the email carefully enough.”

Dr Parry told the commission the email was discussed at a meeting with Dr Hawkes, Mr James and Mr Chandler in August 2013. Dr Hawkes’s evidence is that he could not recall the email being discussed at meetings.

Counsel assisting the commission David Lloyd put it to Dr Parry that it was “extraordinary” that senior staff mis-read the email.

“So the leadership group had access to an email saying it would be  a criminal offence not to make a report to the police . . . and you say to the commission that not one person at that meeting raised the fact of advice of police that it would be a criminal offence not to report. That is an extraordinary state of affairs, would you agree?,”  Mr Lloyd said.

Dr Parry replied: “I would agree.”

Dr Parry told the commission he later apologised to Dr Hawkes for his mistake, writing in an email: “It was a complete oversight on my part.”

Under questioning from Mr Lloyd, Dr Hawkes conceded it was a “catastrophic failure” by the school.

In a 2000 email from Dr Hawkes tendered to the commission, the high-profile headmaster indicates that schools would be reluctant to report abuse due to adverse publicity.

The email, in relation to media coverage of a sexual abuse case at Trinity Grammar School, was sent to the school’s headmaster Milton Cujes​.

“If, in reporting an incident it means that the broad flapping ears of the press will be allowed to sensationalise the case on the front page of their newspapers, then this will be a very strong disincentive to report anything,” Dr Hawkes wrote.

“The newspaper article the other day would have served a clear warning to head that responsible reporting of an incident is an ill-advised action, and best avoided as much as possible. No threats from legal quarters will come close to persuading a head that it is worth reporting something if this is the reward they are going to reap.”

Dr Hawkes is expected to continue giving evidence on Monday.

The inquiry into public and private schools continues before Justice Peter McClellan​.

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Derby Day 2016: Team Hawkes out to add to group 1 spring at Flemington

Ready to shine: Star Turn is in great shape to take on the best in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Saturday. Photo: Bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛
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Team Hawkes started the spring with a sprinter, a miler and a couple of stayers looking for group 1 glory. They have already banked the Caulfield Guineas with Divine Prophet and will look to add a Victoria Derby and Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.

“We just try to have our horses right for the right races and are lucky enough to have a couple of good ones,” said John Hawkes, who trains Derby hopes Swear and Inference and Coolmore prospect Star Turn in partnership with sons Michael and Wayne.

“We were looking towards Saturday with them from the start of the preparation. It would be nice to get another group 1 but they are tough to win.”

No trainer has been able to knock off the Guineas, Derby and Coolmore in the same year since the Coolmore Stud Stakes moved in 2006, but Hawkes’ stable could give it a decent shot on Saturday.

While the Derby has been the long-held blue riband event and is the naming race of Saturday’s card, the highlight of the opening day of the Flemington carnival will be the Coolmore Stud Stakes as a talented group of three-year-olds battle it out down the straight 1200 metres.

Capitalist, Extreme Choice and Astern have already won the Golden Slipper, Blue Diamond and Golden Rose respectively with Extreme Choice adding the Moir Stakes to his group 1 haul on his spring return.

But the Hawkes stable will depend on Star Turn, a flashy chestnut son of Star Witness, to beat them. He is a powerfully built colt, which won the San Domenico Stakes, before a close second to Astern in the Run to Rose, leading to a decision to target this race. He won the Schillaci Stakes against the older sprinters at Caulfield last start and Hawkes believes he is up to the group 1 three-year-olds.

“He was very strong against the older horses and is already a group 2 but this is the race we have targeted,” Hawkes said. “It is why we programmed him the way we did, and this is the race for him to become a stallion.

“Being down the straight adds a little more to the race because they have to handle that, but we are happy with [Star Turn]. He has done well since Caulfield.”

Hawkes’ son Wayne quipped “[Dad] doesn’t give away too much does he.”

But while the Hall of Fame trainer kept his cards close to his chest, there is satisfaction in being a major player on Saturday.

It is an example of the strength of the Hawkes yard that they arrive with three colts in the biggest three-year-old races of the spring and all could secure lucrative stud careers with victory on Saturday.

Swear carries a group 1 second behind Yankee Rose in the Spring Champion Stakes into the Derby, while Inference put together three wins before a fourth in the Stutt Stakes and third in the Caulfield Classic.

“They have both got there doing the right things, but like all the Derby horses they have to run 2500m and you don’t really know if they can do that until Saturday,” Hawkes said.

“Swear is a nice colt and has had the right preparation to get ready to for the trip and Inference is the same. We are happy with them both and they will run good races.”

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Melbourne Cup 2016: Gai Waterhouse predicts Australian-trained winner, defends quality of race

Home support: Gai Waterhouse is adamant the winner of the Melbourne Cup will be prepared by an Australian. Photo: bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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A defiant Gai Waterhouse has predicted an Australian-trained horse will repel the challenge of the internationals and win the Melbourne Cup while launching a passionate defence of the slumping entries and quality in the race.

As she searches for her second Cup winner in the space of three years with $61 hope Excess Knowledge, Waterhouse blamed the cyclical nature of the country’s staying stocks for triggering a low-key build-up to the first Tuesday in November.

“There are times where you don’t have a vintage year,” Waterhouse said. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It might just be one of those years and we might have a really good Cup next year. I think it just ebbs and flows.

“Godolphin might have seven horses and Lloyd [Williams] is going to have four. There are still some pretty hefty numbers involved.”

But with just 32 still in contention for a spot in the $6.2 million handicap, the traditional scramble for places on the fringe of the 24-horse field has not been as ferocious this year.

Up to 10 overseas-trained horses remain in contention, but Waterhouse is adamant the winner will be prepared by an Australian conditioner.

“I’m quite confident in my fellow trainers and I still think one of the locally-trained horses will win,” Waterhouse said. “It’s hard to get a gauge on the Japanese [Curren Mirotic] and you’ve got to respect them as they’re always serious contenders.”

Godolphin’s army is likely to include Caulfield Cup runner-up Scottish, but his handler James Ferguson said on Tuesday that Winx’s no-show in the Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Flemington carnival may have a bearing on Sheikh Mohammed’s plans.

“If she was going to run – she won the Cox Plate so fantastically – you’d be a bit foolish to take her on if she were to run in the Emirates Stakes,” Ferguson said.

“Obviously it makes that option a bit more viable … I haven’t been told a final decision yet so I’m just heading in the one direction. At the moment a decision hasn’t been made, [but] he could easily go for the Emirates Stakes.”

But Waterhouse has a one-track mind about Excess Knowledge, who used an 11th hour golden ticket after winning the Lexus Stakes last year to produce arguably his best performance since being in Australia when finishing seventh in the Melbourne Cup.

Vlad Duric will maintain the ride after the horse wobbled around the tight circuit when fourth in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup last Saturday.

“He is going under the radar,” Waterhouse said. “He caused his own luck on Saturday and he rolled around like a big whale in the straight. Vlad came off him and said, ‘put him in blinkers and I think you’ll get a much better result’.

“He’s got the right weight, he’s a proven performer and he’s probably at the right age to win the Cup, he looks well and I’m extremely pleased.”

Waterhouse’s chances of going back-to-back in the Lexus Stakes will rest with out-of-sorts Canberra Cup winner Hippopus, who doesn’t hold an entry in the Melbourne Cup.

“He’s a funny old thing and he wins every two years,” Waterhouse said. “He’s going about as well as Hippopus can and he’ll be 100-1 and if you have a bet on him he might pop up.”

Godolphin lodged a late entry for the Lexus Stakes with Oceanographer on Tuesday given the horse is a Melbourne Cup fringe dweller at No.29. He can secure his passage into the race with victory on Saturday.

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Derby Day 2016: Danny O’Brien convinced De Little Engine can still make the Melbourne Cup

Chad Schofield hits the front on De Little Engine on Melbourne Cup day last year. Photo: Robert CianfloneWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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Danny O’Brien is confident he will have a runner in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, although he is leaving it late with De Little Engine.

The focus for O’Brien is the Cup, although his appeal in the long-running cobalt inquiry will come to a conclusion next week.

“I have just been concentrating on training and hopefully we can get this horse into the Cup,” O’Brien said. “He is in good form and capable of running a good race, the other stuff will take care of itself.”

De Little Engine hasn’t passed the first ballot clause for the Melbourne Cup, his ninth in the Caulfield Cup was one place from clearing the ballot condition. Therefore he will try to use Saturday’s Lexus Stakes to move up the order of entry.

“It was a good run in the Caulfield Cup and we didn’t realise until later that he would have passed the ballot if he had finished eighth,” O’Brien said. “That was disappointing but he is looking for the 2500 metres and loves Flemington, so he should get the job done on Saturday.

“We have been aiming at the Cup since he won the 2800m race on Melbourne Cup day last year and we always planned to run in the Lexus because he races best [at Flemington].

“If he can run in the first three he should get into the field and he will be running if he does.”

O’Brien was delighted to engage Hong Kong-based jockey Chad Schofield for Saturday and he will also ride in the Melbourne Cup if things go to plan. De Little Engine worked over 1800m at Flemington on Tuesday morning and has a preference for the long stretches of his home track.

“He has always been a Flemington horse and he is a real stayer, the further the better for him,” O’Brien said. “It is a bonus to get Chad back riding him because before he went to Hong Kong he had a great record on him and knows him well.

“In fact his last three rides on him have been wins, so when I knew he was coming back I wanted to book him.”

Schofield is back to ride Seaburge in the Cantala Stakes, but De Little Engine could be a handy bonus.

Tom Melbourne and The Bandit are the other two horses, which paid up for the Melbourne Cup on Monday without having cleared the first ballot clause and have to win the Lexus to gain the exemption from the ballot.

There are still question marks over a couple of horses that comfortably sit inside the field, including Tally, Real Love and Howard Be Thy Name, which runs in Wednesday’s Bendigo Cup.

Michael Moroney has decided not to start Vengeur Masque on Saturday, although he is No.28 on the order of entry after running eighth in the Caulfield Cup.

“We will just hope that he gets into the field, if not he can run in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the final day,” Moroney said.

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‘Reduced’ size for new Maitland hospital

Health Minister Jillian Skinner. PICTURE: Edwina PicklesHEALTH Minister Jillian Skinner says it’s“nonsense” to suggestthenew Maitland Hospital will have less than 300 beds, despite a leaked departmental document stating the scope of the project had been“reduced”.
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Ms Skinner was in Newcastle on Tuesday to announce the opening of the $7 million upgrade of theneonatal intensive care unit at John Hunter Children’s Hospital, which she said would provide“state-of-the-art-care” for about 1100 newborns each year.

But as opposition growsto the Baird government’s decision tohand the new Maitland hospital over to the private sector, MsSkinnerwas forced to deny reports the hospital will bemuch smaller than initiallypromised.

TheNewcastle Heraldhas previouslyreported concernsthe newhospital at Metfordwould be significantly smaller than the 400-plus beds initially promised by the government, prompting Labor to dub itthe‘‘incredible shrinking hospital’’.

On Tuesday Ms Skinner insistedthe new hospitalwillhave “upwards of 350” public and private beds,despite a Health Infrastructurebriefing note from August last year revealingthe new hospital had been“reduced” tohave only282 beds“based on 2022 demand projections”.

It comes at the same time asAustralian Medical Association presidentProfessor Brad Frankum saysMaitland Hospital doctors believedthe government had not properlyconsulted them about which services the region needed–particularly better emergency and intensive carefacilities.

The internal briefing note, marked confidential, reveals thata preliminary business case for the new hospital from 2014 had preferred a 464bed hospital costing $766 million.

However that optionwas knocked backin favour of thecheaper $450 million option.

The briefing note states that as a result of that, and other events including the opening of the Hunter Expressway reducing travel times from the Hunter Valley to the John Hunter Hospital, the scope of the new Maitland hospital would be“reduced” to282 beds.

The documentis more than a year old, and does not include reference to the public-private partnership. Nor does it state that the minister signed off on the proposal.

On Tuesday Ms Skinner said the hospital wouldbe“at least as big as what we proposed, and I think we proposed 350 to 400.

“It will be at least that, I would expect, but possibly more.

“But the nonsense that one of the local members talking about 220 beds is just that.”

Meanwhile, ProfessorFrankum has slammed the government for offering mixed messages on the hospital.

“The clinicians at Maitland seemed to be getting a whole lot of different messages over the last few years about exactly what the hospital size and complexity was going to be,” he said.

“The Ministryof Health and Local Health Districtdo seem tohave changed their mind on a numberof occasions and that creates quite a bit of uncertainty.

“Big projects like this only succeed if they are done with good clinician engagement–that’s not just doctors but nurses and Allied Health professionals as well.

“Those are the people who understand the needs and if they’re not on board, you’re not going to succeed.

“There’s been very significant lack of engagement with clinicians in this whole thing so far.”

About 700 people attended a protest against the government’s public-private partnership plan in Maitland on Saturday, amid concerns about public access to the hospital.

But Ms Skinner said she could“guarantee”that a public patient“would be given exactly the priority they have now” under the terms of contract the government would negotiate.

“It is all about a doctor making a clinical decision about which patient goes first,” she said.

“If they show up at an Emergency Department together for example there will be no distinction between the private and the public patient.”