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More than 60 'broken' share bikes seized in Waverley Council swoop 06/03/2018

Cr Wakefield said he was disappointed that so many bikes remained abandoned on Monday, after his well-publicised warnings to bike operators last week.

"I would have hoped that after a week of sending out fairly clear messages ... that some of the operators would have cleaned up their act a bit more."

Bikes seized for impounding at Bondi on Monday.

Although he wouldn't name names, he said some operators had cleaned up their act more than others.

Checking on share bikes and impounding those that are broken or otherwise non-operational will now form part of council officers' regular day-to-day activities, Cr Wakefield said.

The impounded bikes will be shifted to the council's depot in Alexandria, and the companies notified. They can recover those bikes for a fee of $70 and if they don't within a month, the bikes will be recycled.

Waverley Mayor John Wakefield

Photo: Jessica HromasWaverley Council is still seeking legal advice on whether it can use a clean-up order that would see operators slapped with a $500 fee and legally required to clean up their mess.

A spokesperson for Ofo, one of four share bike companies currently operating in the Waverley Council area, said they are "committed to providing the community with fully functional bikes that they can ride for recreation and commuting.

"Ofo ensures that we have a trained team of operations crew who are always conducting regular checks on ground. In the cases of indiscriminately parked bikes or broken bikes, we do encourage users and the media to report it through our Facebook channels or through the report function on the Ofo app.

"Based on the urgency of the reports received, we will prioritisethe retrieval of each bike so as to ensure public safety."

Cr Wakefield has also slammed the NSW government for "wiping their hands of the problem" and leaving councils with little other option than to take punitive measures against share bike operators.

"We don't want to have to clean up the mess afterwards, we want to form proper, contractual relationships with set terms and conditions, with one or two good operators; they fulfiltheir side of the deal, we fulfilours. As it stands now, any operator can come and just put their product out on the streets, because they don't need a license, they don't need a permit, because the state government legislation hasn't caught up with reality."

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William Tyrrell's mother says foster parents should feel guilty 05/03/2018

Speaking publicly for the first time, Ms Tyrrell told Channel Seven's Sunday Night she isolated herself as she "felt like the worst mum in the world".

"Because I haven't come out and said anything, of course, people are gonna assume I don't care.

"And that's OK, because I know that I do.

"Their judgement doesn't bother me, really. I'm not a bad person. I'm not a bad mum."

Ms Tyrrell said she made "bad choices" when her eldest daughter was born and fled with William after the girl was taken into foster care.

"Because I had domestic violence and drugs and alcohol, marijuana. When I had to do a drug screen, I tested positive after I'd had my children."

Despite her efforts to keep William, he was taken to live with the same family when he was nine months old.

William Tyrrell was three when he vanished from a home on the NSW Mid North Coast in 2014.

Photo: SuppliedIt was during a trip to the coast a few years later, as his foster mother and grandmother sipped tea metres from where the two siblings played, that William disappeared.

"They were responsible for looking after him, and they failed," Ms Tyrrell said.

"She went inside and made a cup of tea. If that's the case, like, OK, that's an accident, and that's unfortunate, but it doesn't make any sense to me. Kids don't just go missing."

William's foster mother, who still cares for his older sister, also told Channel Seven of her heartbreak:

"We need to know where he is, and we need to know what happened to him, 'cause we can't live forever like this."

Ms Tyrrell said she didn't speak out around the time William went missing because she "thought it was best".

"They know what they're doing. Like, I didn't wanna go on news being, like, angry or anything, making anything worse."

She was shocked when police knocked on her door to search for William in the initial stages of the police probe.

NSW Police launched a massive search for the missing toddler, which soon became a hunt for his kidnapper.

Photo: Port Macquarie NewsMs Tyrrell maintained she had nothing to do with her son's disappearance and had been shopping at Blacktown, in Sydney's western suburbs, at the time.

"I showed the police my ATM receipt, my docket, everything."

Forensic psychologist and former cop Brad Jones said it was "very likely" the veil that surrounded William's biological parents made the investigation more difficult in its early stages.

Ms Tyrrell said she shared the hopes of investigators and some experts that William was still alive, pleading with her son's kidnapper to not hurt him.

"Where else could he be? He's not in the bush ... I feel like whoever has him needs a bullet.

"Just let him come home. Please. It's not fair. This isn't fair."

The NSW government last year offered an unprecedented $1 million reward for any information leading to the toddler's recovery.

Crime Stoppers - 1800 333 000

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Megan Gorrey is a reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Sydney still glittering the morning after Mardi Gras 04/03/2018

The Mardi Gras parade might be over, but Sydney streets were still sparkling early on Sunday morning.

Just before dawn, revellers adorned with rainbow tutus, fairy lights, unicorn headbands, leotards, and glitter were still celebrating in the inner city.

An estimated crowd of 300,000 people joined the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the first march, and the first Mardi Gras since same sex marriage became legal.

"Theres a very different vibe now that we have marriage equality, said Alex Greenwich, the state MP who long campaigned for marriage equality. People are marching with more confidence this year than ever before.

Pop superstar and gay icon Cher performed at the after-party at Fox Studios, with a dancefloor heaving with thousands of people, drenched in purple light.

American singer Cher at the Sydney Mardi Gras.

Photo: James Brickwood


Law of the jungle: Taronga sues rival over 'Sydney Zoo' name 02/03/2018

Taronga said international and interstate visitors comprised about 50 per cent of its foot traffic over the past four years, totalling about 1.5 million visitors a year.

It said members of the public were likely to understand the words "Sydney zoo" as a reference to Taronga Zoo and the term was "not merely descriptive of any zoos in the Sydney area".

Taronga filed the misleading and deceptive conduct claim in the Federal Court on January 15, along with a related case challenging Sydney Zoo's application to trademark the name in a logo featuring animal silhouettes in front of a rising sun.

IP Australia, the Commonwealth agency that administers intellectual property rights, said in a decision in January that Taronga had failed to establish any of its grounds for opposing the registration of Sydney Zoo's trademark. That decision is being challenged in the Federal Court.

The agency said it rejected Taronga's submissions that there was "something improper" about Sydney Zoo in Blacktown using Sydney as a geographical descriptor because, "like Mosman", the proposed zoo was "located in metropolitan Sydney".

Sydney Aquarium founder John Burgess and his son Jake, who are behind the plans for Sydney Zoo, lodged an application to register the Sydney Zoo trademark in May 2015 after registering it as a business name in August 2012.

Sydney Zoo founders John Burgess and his son Jake at the site of the proposed zoo in November 2017.

Photo: Isabella Lettini In November 2015, Taronga lodged applications to register as trademarks the words "Taronga Sydney zoo" and a logo featuring the words "Sydney zoo" and its widely used platypus icon.

Taronga told IP Australia a "significant proportion of the public think of Taronga Zoo when they see the term 'Sydney zoo'". In support of that claim, it relied on a consumer survey and an analysis of Google search algorithms and tags on social media site Instagram.

But in its decision in January, IP Australia said there was no evidence Taronga used Sydney zoo as a trademark. A delegate for the registrar for trademarks said the mere fact some people used the term "Sydney zoo" to search for Taronga on Google, or the hashtag #sydneyzoo to caption photos of Taronga Zoo on Instagram, did not mean the term was used as a trademark.

Neither Taronga nor Sydney Zoo are the owners of a registered trademark featuring the words Sydney Zoo.

That distinction belongs to a UK-based tourism and entertainment company, Merlin Attractions, which owns and operates the Madame Tussauds wax museum at Darling Harbour and the neighbouring Wild Life Sydney Zoo.

Merlin's trademark includes the words "Wild Life Sydney Zoo" and "the Australian animal adventure" in a logo featuring a hopping kangaroo and an outline of Australia.

Taronga said in documents filed with IP Australia that it already dealt with "regular instances of consumer confusion where a member of the public has purchased a ticket for Wild Life Sydney Zoo ... and seeks entry into Taronga Zoo".

The Federal Court cases are slated for preliminary hearings on Tuesday.

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Michaela Whitbourn is The Sydney Morning Herald's Legal Affairs and Investigations reporter.

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Chasing the money trail of fraudster Newcastle accountant Ray Walker 01/03/2018

When the property was sold in 2012 for $280,000, Ms Walker said the mortgage was paid out and the remaining money, about $40,000, was given to her father.

Asked if her father provided any similar properties or chattels to her sister Kate Hertogs, Ms Walker said she did not know.

Ray Walker gained the trust of dozens of his clients over decades and stole $10 million from them.

Photo: SuppliedI went back to university on a full-time basis, she said. I couldnt get Austudy and dad offered to assist me by financially supporting me with the purchase of the property.

She agreed none of the money for the property came from her and her fathers interest in the unit should have been disclosed.

Under questioning by barrister Anthony Spencer, for the bankruptcy trustee, Ms Walker conceded as executor she did not thoroughly scrutinise her fathers assets and failed to recognise it was a conflict of interest for her to oversee the sale of her fathers business to her accountant brother, Brett Walker.

Sarah Walker agreed none of the money for a property came from her and her fathers interest in it should have been disclosed.

Photo: Simone De PeakI didnt see it at the time [as a conflict of interest], no, she said. Asked by Mr Spencer if she should have seen it, she responded: In hindsight, yes.

Emotions were running high in the courtroom with 20 of Walkers victims, many who lost their life savings, turning out to hear evidence by Ms Walker and Michael Hart, who worked as an accountant alongside Walker and his son Brett.

Michael Hart, who worked as an accountant alongside Walker and his son Brett, outside court on Wednesday,

Photo: Simone De PeakWhen Ms Walker responded to a question by Mr Spencer saying she was not sure how to answer that, there was an audible groan from the public gallery and one of the victims yelled honestly.

Mr Hart told the court the day after Walker killed himself the companys website was changed to delete the word partner when referring to senior staff. This was done after Brett Walker received legal advice and employed a public relations firm to manage the scandal.

Partners in an accounting practice can be held legally responsible for a firms debt.

Mr Hart conceded his email signature and business card previously described him as partner, but said the four accountants operated under the R W Walker brand as separate business entities.

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