Harvey Weinstein trial postponed to September

Harvey Weinstein has been charged over the alleged assaults of two women and faces life in prison if he is convicted at the trial. (File/AFP)
Updated 27 April 2019
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Harvey Weinstein trial postponed to September

NEW YORK: The sexual assault trial of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein will take place on September 9, three months later than expected, a New York judge said Friday.
Weinstein — a catalyst for the #MeToo anti-harassment movement-- has been charged over the alleged assaults of two women and faces life in prison if he is convicted at the trial, which could last for five weeks.
One of the 67-year-old’s lawyers, Jose Baez, welcomed the postponement, saying: “This is going to give us ample opportunity to dig into the case, talk to those people who are coming forward and telling us about other matters that are very helpful to Mr.Weinstein’s case.”
The delay was announced after a four-hour closed-door hearing to decide whether women other than the two accusers could give evidence at the trial.
Judge James Burke suggested that his decision on this key point may not be made public until the start of the trial.
Since October 2017, Weinstein — one of the most powerful men in Hollywood before a cascade of sexual misconduct allegations precipitated his downfall — has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than 80 women, including prominent actresses such as Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek.
Because the session was closed, it is unclear how many of those women — many of whose allegations are too old to be brought to trial — prosecutor Joan Orbon-Illuzzi would like to call on.
Their testimony could be key, as it was at the trial of former television star Bill Cosby, who was sentenced to at least three years in prison in the first courtroom victory of the #MeToo era.
But Baez said after the hearing that when prosecutors want testimony from women other than the alleged victims in the charges, it is generally “good for the defense.”
That is because it means the prosecution can’t prove their case based on the complainants’ testimony alone, he said.


Sharer of New Zealand mosque shooting video gets 21 months

Philip Neville Arps, left, appears for sentencing in the Christchurch District Court, in Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (AP)
Updated 18 June 2019
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Sharer of New Zealand mosque shooting video gets 21 months

  • Under New Zealand laws aimed at preventing the distribution of objectionable material, Arps faced up to 14 years imprisonment on each count

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: A Christchurch businessman who shared a video of worshippers being slaughtered at a New Zealand mosque was sentenced on Tuesday to 21 months in prison.
Philip Arps had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing the video, which was livestreamed on Facebook by a gunman on March 15 as he began killing 51 people at two mosques.
Christchurch District Court Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said that when questioned about the video, Arps had described it as “awesome” and had shown no empathy toward the victims.
The judge said Arps had strong and unrepentant views about the Muslim community and had, in effect, committed a hate crime. The judge said Arps had compared himself to Rudolf Hess, a Nazi leader under Adolf Hitler.
“Your offending glorifies and encourages the mass murder carried out under the pretext of religious and racial hatred,” the judge said.
O’Driscoll said Arps had sent the video to 30 associates. The judge said Arps also asked somebody to insert crosshairs and include a kill count in order to create an Internet meme, although there was no evidence he’d shared the meme.
Under New Zealand laws aimed at preventing the distribution of objectionable material, Arps faced up to 14 years imprisonment on each count.
In other cases, at least five other people were also charged with illegally sharing the shooting video. An 18-year-old was jailed in March while the others weren’t kept in custody. The teen is accused of sharing the video and an image of the Al Noor mosque with the words “target acquired.” He is next due to appear in court on July 31.
The judge said Arps had argued he had a right to distribute the video under the banner of freedom to pursue his political beliefs.
Arps’ lawyer Anselm Williams told the judge that Arps should not be sent to prison.
“It’s my submission that this court needs to be very careful to sentence Mr. Arps based on what it is that he has actually done, and what he accepts he has done, not on the basis of the views that he holds,” Williams said.
After the hearing, Williams said Arps had filed an appeal against his sentence at the High Court, but declined to comment further.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, last week pleaded not guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism in the mosque shooting case. His trial has been scheduled for next May.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has helped lead a global pledge named the “Christchurch Call,” aimed at boosting efforts to keep Internet platforms from being used to spread hate, organize extremist groups and broadcast attacks. New Zealand has also tightened its gun laws and banned certain types of semi-automatic weapons since the attack.