Dingoes put down after French tourists mauled on Australian island

Australian authorities have warned visitors in the past that dingoes are wild animals and need to be treated as such. (AFP)
Updated 03 March 2019
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Dingoes put down after French tourists mauled on Australian island

  • Fraser, the world’s largest sand island, is popular with tourists for its beaches — and dingoes
  • Authorities have warned visitors in the past that dingoes are wild animals and need to be treated as such

SYDNEY: Two dingoes have been put down after a French mother and son were mauled at an Australian tourist island, authorities said Sunday, the second attack in the popular spot in just over a month.
Paramedics said the pair had just stepped out of a vehicle at the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island off the Queensland state coast on Thursday evening when they came across a pack of dingoes.
“The couple panicked and ran back toward the vehicle and it was that time when the pack actually chased them and attacked,” Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman Michael Augustus said Friday.
The woman had “multiple superficial bites, predominantly to the lower limbs” while the boy had “significant wounds to his legs, arms and face,” he said. Both were taken to a nearby hospital in a stable condition.
Augustus said the pair were believed to be French tourists, with local media reporting that the boy was aged nine and the woman in her 20s.
One dingo involved in the attack was captured and euthanized by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers on Friday and another was put down Sunday, the state’s environment department said in a statement.
In January, a six-year-old boy was mauled by the native animal after as he ran up a dune on the island.
Fraser, the world’s largest sand island, is popular with tourists for its beaches — and dingoes.
Authorities have warned visitors in the past that dingoes are wild animals and need to be treated as such.
Tourists are also told to keep children close by, to not run, and to not to feed the dingoes.
Native to Australia, dingoes came under the spotlight with the disappearance of baby Azaria Chamberlain at Uluru, or Ayers Rock, in 1980 for which her mother Lindy was convicted of murder and her father, Michael, of being an accessory.
The convictions were overturned in 1988 after the chance find of a piece of Azaria’s clothing near a dingo lair.
A landmark court ruling in 2012 found that a dingo did snatch their baby from a tent.


Women cleared of defamation in French sexual misconduct case

In this Sept. 21, 2014 file photo, Denis Baupin, a prominent Green Party member and former Paris city official, takes part in a climate change demonstration in Paris. (AP)
Updated 20 April 2019
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Women cleared of defamation in French sexual misconduct case

  • The court considered that the women and journalists acted in good faith, which is a defense for defamation under French law

PARIS: A Paris court has dismissed a defamation case against six women who accused a former French lawmaker of sexual misconduct and the journalists who reported the allegations.
The court on Friday ordered Denis Baupin to pay 1,000 euros ($1,120) in damages to each of the 12 people he sued.
In May 2016, investigative website Mediapart and radio station France Inter published and broadcast accounts from 14 women who alleged Baupin had groped, sexted or otherwise harassed them.
The prominent Green Party member resigned as vice president of the lower House of Parliament but denied wrongdoing and launched a defamation lawsuit against the six women who were identified in the reports, some witnesses and journalists.
The case had been under particular scrutiny in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Women rights activists have seen it as a test of French women’s ability to speak out when they think powerful men have sexually harassed or abused them — and how journalists can report it.
The court considered that the women and journalists acted in good faith, which is a defense for defamation under French law.
In addition, it considered France Inter and Mediapart respected their additional obligations: the legitimacy of journalists’ goals in producing a story, demonstrating an absence of personal animosity, prudence and balance, and the quality of the investigation.
Most of the women who spoke about Baupin’s alleged behavior from 1998 to 2013 were fellow Green Party members, and outrage greeted their descriptions.
Four filed criminal complaints for sexual harassment at the time. A nine-month judicial investigation ended without charges. Prosecutors said the three-year statute of limitations had expired, but released a statement saying the women’s “measured, constant statements” and witness corroboration created a set of facts to support allegations of actions that “may for some of them be classified as criminal.”
The cleared women greeted the ruling with tears of joy and relief.
Lawyer Claire Moleon, a lawyer for one of them, told The Associated Press that “this is a great victory.”
“This is a very strong signal given by justice. It’s putting an end to a move that we were noticing to use defamation lawsuits to put more pressure on the victims of sexual harassment and sexual abuse,” she said.
Moleon stressed that Baupin’s order to pay damages to the people he sent on trial shows that “sanctions apply” to such cases.
During the February trial, women had described, often with lots of emotion, their alleged harassment through text messages and inappropriate comments, and in some cases, alleged sexual assault attempts.
Some former officials of France’s Green Party also testified in court, saying they should have acted earlier on reports of sexual misconduct. They stressed that the #MeToo movement has raised their awareness.
Baupin’s lawyer Emmanuel Pierrat, had argued his client did nothing illegal and had filed a defamation lawsuit to “fully clear his name.”
Baupin had decided not to attend the trial.