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Connecting people and communities

Thursday, 14 September, 2017 Page 3

Caught with cash and drugs By Cam Lucadou-Wells An accused drug trafficker has been bailed after being allegedly found with a stack of cash and drugs, as well as a ‘tick book’ of $37,000 worth of drug transactions, at a Narre Warren service station. Chris Stavrinidis had been allegedly fuelling up a motorbike without a rear number plate at the Vesper Drive outlet shortly before 3am on 21 August, Dandenong Magistrates’ Court was told. Stavrinidis tried to flee as police ar-

rived, nominal informant Acting Sergeant Garrett Sandeman told the court. Police seized $5825 cash, 17 grams of a “rock, white substance” believed to be meth and the tick book from Stavrinidis. The bail applicant had prior drug offences, Act Sgt Sandeman said. His criminal history including disqualified driving, cultivating a narcotic plant, illegally possessing a handgun and ammo, and importing tier-two prohibited steroids, the court heard. Stavrinidis’s lawyer said the illegal handgun was a BB gun and the steroids

were to assist the applicant’s recovery from a workplace injury. The applicant had been approved for a drug-rehabilitation CISP program, if granted bail, and no priors for failing to answer bail, the lawyer told the court. The applicant had previously complied with a two-year suspended sentence and a community corrections order. Bail conditions such as a night curfew, fixed residence, drug screening and CISP would reduce the risk of reoffending, the lawyer said.

“If he were to be bailed and engaged in treatment to a high level, imprisonment is not the only (sentencing) disposition open to the court.” Stavrinidis’s stay in remand had been a “sobering experience” marked by an incident in which a young person died in prison, the lawyer said. Magistrate Jack Vandersteen said Stavrinidis was leading a life hidden from the gaze of his family. The suspected meth found on the applicant could be worth up to $8000, Mr Vandersteen noted. He granted bail because of Stavrin-

idis’s youth, his stable residence, a written offer of employment, family support and drug treatment program. The prosecution case “at its highest” didn’t necessarily lead to a jail term but if bail was breached, Stavrinidis would be back in custody, Mr Vandersteen said. Stavrinidis was bailed subject to the CISP program, drug tests twice a week, daily reporting to police and having a fixed address. He is set to next appear at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 11 October.

Sex offender hired teenage girls for work

Warm but raw chicken nuggets bought by Sarah Dougherty from a McDonald's outlet in Berwick.

Nugget nightmare as chook not cooked By Cam Lucadou-Wells A four-year-old girl has fallen ill after being served with raw chicken nuggets from a McDonald’s outlet in Berwick. The girl’s mother Sarah Dougherty said she’d bought the nuggets as part of a Happy Meal treat from the store on Clyde and Homestead roads on the evening of 8 September. Her daughter ate several of the nuggets before saying the nuggets were “funny” and “a bit soft”. On inspection, the meat within the warm nuggets was bright pink

and raw. The girl suffered “the runs” for at least the next four days. Ms Dougherty described the store’s response - in which she was initially offered a free cheeseburger - as a “disgrace”. She said her child could have suffered much worse illness. A McDonald’s staff member assured her their chicken products were “treated” for salmonella. “I was told mistakes happen with 16-year-old kids operating the fryer,” Ms Dougherty said. “They said I was the second customer to report raw nuggets that night.”

After lodging a written “tick-abox” report at the restaurant, she didn’t receive a promised call from the store manager. So she called the outlet again. A staff member offered her free Big Mac vouchers - at another McDonald’s outlet, if she’d prefer. “(They said) if you haven’t worked at a McDonald’s, you don’t understand how chaotic it could be and that mistakes happen.” Ms Dougherty has since reported the incident to health authorities. “They say they’re taking it seriously, but what are they doing to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

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“I don’t plan on eating there ever again,” Ms Dougherty said. “I just wanted to let people know to check their food before letting a child eat it.” She is still awaiting a pledged follow-up call from McDonald’s head office. A McDonald’s spokeswoman said: “We are obviously disappointed that this has happened. “Incidents such as these are rare. “We have reinforced cooking procedures with this restaurant and we will continue our discussions directly with the customer.”

A registered sex offender has pleaded guilty to hiring four teenage girls at his Beaconsfield restaurant without notifying police. Anton Mai, who owns Tulip Thai restaurant, faced Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on five charges of failing to comply with his reporting obligations. Mai was registered as a sex offender for life, with two prior convictions for breaching reporting requirements in 2015, the court heard. On the latest charges, he failed to disclose that his restaurant hired a 15-year-old and three 16-year-old girls between November 2015 and March 2017. Mai, who represented himself, told the court on 11 September that his wife was “always the supervisor”. He had also failed to notify police of a delay in coming home from a trip to the US in late November. Mai had told police he’d return on Christmas Day. He emailed them with plans for a 17-day extension to his trip only after police made inquiries with his family on 5 January. In a later police interview at Pakenham, Mai said he had been unable to travel home as planned due to not having a valid visa, the court was told. It had been due to “an error and a mistake”, he told police. Mai was registered for life on the state’s sexual offenders’ registry after being found guilty of offences in Dandenong Magistrates’ Court in 2008, the court heard. Police prosecutor Senior Constable Jaimie Jeffs told the court that since then, Mai had reported multiple changes of personal circumstances, such as business details, internet service providers and travel plans. Magistrate David Starvaggi said Mai faced possible jail if he again breached his reporting obligations. “You need to understand that this is incredibly important legislation and it’s important you comply with it.” Mai was convicted and placed on a 12-month community corrections order with 150 hours of unpaid work.

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News - Berwick - 14th September 2017  
News - Berwick - 14th September 2017