Archive for Current Cases

Former NFP Head Charged With Sexual Assault

The founder and former managing director of disability support organisation Lifestyle Solutions, David Hogg, has been charged over an alleged sexual assault dating back to the 1980s.

On Friday, Hogg was charged by Sydney police with “sexual assault knowing no consent was given” following an investigation that commenced last year. He was granted conditional bail and will appear in court on 24 January 2017.

The charge relates to an alleged incident on 29 July 1988 when the female victim was 16 years old and Hogg, who was known to her, was 35.

Hogg, who was also a winner of Pro Bono Australia’s 2015 Impact 25 award, established not-for-profit organisation Lifestyle Solutions, which provides national support services for people with disability and children living in out-of-home care, in 2001.

He stepped down from his role of managing director in June this year, and Lifestyle Solutions confirmed that he no longer has any involvement with the organisation.

Andrew Hyland, who was appointed CEO in November this year, told Pro Bono Australia News: “David Hogg left the organisation on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 to make way for new leadership.

“We note that the alleged assault was dated Friday, 29 July 1988, pre-dating the inception of Lifestyle Solutions in 2001. David left Lifestyle Solutions in June 2016, and is no longer a director or employee of the organisation.

“As the matter is before the court we cannot make any further comment.”

Hogg declined to comment, but his lawyer Hugo Aston said on his behalf that he would be entering a plea of not guilty.

“He will be vigorously defending the charge,” Aston told Pro Bono Australia News.

Pro Bono Australia will assess David Hogg’s Impact 25 award following the outcome of the court case.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit


Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

Had to give the accessories back then? Student, 21, who ‘spent millions on luxury items after bank mistakenly put $4.6M in her account’ pleads not guilty after fronting court in sneakers and an energy drink cap

  • Christine Jiaxin Lee, 21, pleaded not guilty at Downing Centre Court on Tuesday
  • Her lawyer, Hugo Aston, said they would be ‘vigorously defending the charges’
  • Mr Aston said her family had come to Australia from Malaysia to support her
  • Ms Lee allegedly spent $4.6 million on luxury items after Westpac error

The Malaysian student accused of splurging $4.6 million on luxury items after Westpac mistakenly gave her account an unlimited overdraft has pleaded not guilty.

Christine Jiaxin Lee arrived at Sydney’s Downing Centre Court on Tuesday wearing ripped jeans, a Monster energy drink cap and white canvas shoes.

The 21-year-old’s lawyer, Hugo Aston, told Daily Mail Australia they would be ‘vigorously defending the charges’ of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

Christine Jiaxin Lee arrived at Sydney’s Downing Centre Court on Tuesday to plead not guilty after she allegedly spent $4.6 million when she was mistakenly given an unlimited overdraft

Ms Lee is pictured with a Chanel cushion and luxury handbags, including YSL

We feel confident our client will be acquitted,  Mr Aston said.

Mr Aston said her family have travelled from Malaysia to support her through the matter.

Ms Lee is pictured wearing a Chanel necklace. The 21-year-old was arrested in May

Ms Lee allegedly went on a massive shopping spree after receiving the overdraft. She is pictured with a YSL purse

Representatives from Westpac were in court to observe the matter.

Matt Tregoning, from the bank’s investigations area, told Daily Mail Australia he hoped to see ‘justice’.

Ms Lee sat in court on Tuesday wearing ripped jeans, white canvas shoes and a black singlet. She had a tattoo on her wrist, arm and ankle visible, and had a pink fluffy key-chain attached to her light brown backpack.

As she left the court room, Ms Lee put her Monster energy drink cap back on, a germ mask, and grey hooded jacket.
Ms Lee was arrested in May by immigration officials at Sydney airport as she tried to board a flight to Malaysia.

Some of the handbags seized from Ms Lee’s apartment were by designer brand Hermes (centre two and two at right)

She allegedly spent $220,000 at the Christian Dior shop in Sydney in a single day

The chemical engineering student had been given an unlimited overdraft in a Westpac processing error in 2012.

It is alleged she realised in July 2014 she had an unlimited overdraft and then allegedly went on a $4.6 million spending spree for the following 11 months.

In a single day, Ms Lee allegedly handed over $220,000 at the Christian Dior shop in Sydney.

In April last year, a senior manager from the bank realised the error and called Ms Lee and demanded she account for the missing millions.

Ms Lee has previously claimed she believed the money had been transferred by her parents.

Pictured: Hermes handbags including The Birkin Bag (right) and The Kelly Bag (left) seized from Ms Lee’s apartment in Rhodes

The 21-year-old chemical engineering student from University of Sydney pleaded not guilty on Tuesday

Pictured: The Birkin Bag by Hermes, one of the luxury goods Ms Lee allegedly purchased with the overdraft

Pictured: Hermes handbags. The Rodeo Horse charm pictured on the centre front Hermes Birkin Bag is also by Hermes and sells for about US$1,1500

Ms Lee is pictured with a designer handbag and Moschino sticker or case on her smart phone

Christian Louboutin heels among the items allegedly found at Ms Lee’s Rhodes apartment

Pictured: A Christian Dior handbag at Ms Lee’s Rhodes apartment

Dior and Chanel jewellery seized from Ms Lee’s Rhodes apartment is pictured

The overdraft was put in her account by mistake by Westpac in 2012

Ms Lee’s lawyer told Daily Mail Australia she hopes to return to Malaysia

Ms Lee’s lawyer told Daily Mail Australia her family was supporting her

Her boyfriend, Vincent King, is pictured leaving court earlier in the year

Sydney student accused of $4.6m spending spree pleads not guilty


Christine Jiaxin Lee accused of going on a $4.6m spending spree after a banking error gave her access to unlimited funds. (AAP)


The Sydney student accused of going on a $4.6m spending spree after a banking error gave her access to unlimited funds has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

Christine Jiaxin Lee, 21, was arrested in May trying to board a flight to Malaysia and has been charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

It is alleged Ms Lee transferred $5000 per day over a nine-month period in several bank accounts across Australia and spent $220,000 in a single day at a Christian Dior store in Sydney.

Hugo Aston, the 21-year-old’s lawyer told the Daily Mail his client would be “vigorously defending the charges”.

“We feel confident our client will be acquitted… Her family are fully supportive of her. We are very much a united team,” he said.

The chemical engineering student was given access to the extraordinary amount of funds when Westpac accidentally linked an unlimited overdraw facility to the account she opened in 2012.

A senior manager with the bank released the error in April last year and contacted Ms Lee to question her over the missing millions.

Ms Lee, who has been living in Australia on a student visa, is expected to return to Malaysia at the end of the court case.


Greg was my best mate. Knowing that I killed him … it’s left me with terrible feelings

The thing about the death of Greg Wood at the hands of his best mate, Daniel Gray, is how easy it is to imagine someone you know in the same situation.
Think about the ragged end of a wild bucks’ night in the Sydney central business district. Only two men are left standing after hours of drinking and recreational drug use.
One of the men, Wood, a 33-year-old with a penchant for pushing the limits, has been hassling his mate, Gray, for hours to do something very stupid – to try heroin together for the first time. It’s a couple of days after New Year’s Eve 2009.

Mateship gone wrong: Daniel Gray arrives at court for sentencing. Photo: Ben Rushton
Gray, an honest, thick-set Kiwi now living in Western Australia, refuses for the best part of five hours. But then his resistance fails.

”The biggest mistake of my life was giving in to Greg’s persistent requests to go to Kings Cross and buy heroin, ” Gray says, speaking publicly about what happened for the first time outside the witness box.
After travelling to the city’s red-light district, where Wood buys the drug with ease, the two mates travel back to their cheap hotel and come to the bizarre conclusion that it will be safer if they inject each other.
Wood’s attempt, it seems, is unsuccessful, but Gray is able to tap a vein and sends the heroin home.
Within a couple of hours, it is clear something is wrong – Wood’s lips have begun to turn blue and he has stopped breathing.
Gray tries desperately to revive his mate, attempting CPR and then calling an ambulance, but it is too late. About an hour later, at about 11am, the ambulance officers stop pumping Wood’s chest and take him away.
”Greg was my best mate,” Gray says. ”Knowing that I killed him … it’s left me with terrible feelings … regret, sadness.”
Gray immediately confesses to ambulance officers and police what has happened, telling them: ”It’s my fault … I’ll call his mother and tell her.”
What follows is a protracted legal nightmare.
A coronial inquest into Wood’s death is called and it hears a moving statement in which Wood’s widow Kristen says that her husband was a compulsive risk taker and that she doesn’t want any further action taken against his best mate.
But, as District Court judge Ian McClintock said in sentencing the 39-year-old on Friday, it is the justice system’s job to uphold the law on behalf of the entire community, not just a few individuals. Gray is charged with manslaughter and, some months later, pleads guilty to the charge.
”I cannot express enough to Greg’s family how sorry I am,” Gray says. ”The effects of my mistake have left them without a husband and a father.
”I just want people to know the terrible consequences that can flow … from taking drugs. It will be with me for the rest of my life.”
On Friday, Gray was sentenced to a three-year good behaviour bond, meaning he will not spend a single day in jail over the incident.
McClintock said Gray had taken part in the incident out of a ”misplaced sense of loyalty and mateship” that had ”resulted in a very tragic loss of life”.
”The idea to use and inject the heroin was the victim’s own,” McClintock said. ”It was the deceased who initiated the process of obtaining the heroin … pressing the offender to accompany him to Kings Cross to purchase it.
”He negotiated the purchase and it was he who incited his friend to use it to satisfy his own appetite.
”In light of the very low moral culpability, a sentence of imprisonment would not be appropriate.”
Speaking after the decision, Gray’s lawyer, Hugo Aston, said he believed the good behaviour bond was the right result, but that ”obviously, no one is a winner”.
”When you look at the circumstances of this particular case and these particular facts, quite clearly this man shouldn’t go to jail,” Aston said.
”He just wants to go home, be with his wife and try as best he can to get on with his life.”

See Story as Published in Sydney Morning Herald

Former Wife Confirms Charles Blackman Artworks are Fake

Genevieve de Couvreur, former wife of Charles Blackman, has confirmed that the two paintings recently sold as Charles Blackman paintings for $120,000 were not painted by the 84 year old artist.

“I saw Franki painting them,” Ms de Couvreur said. ”I saw those works in progress.”

Ms De Couvreur declares the Charles may have thought that he painted these, sadly he has been unwell for quite so

Ms de Couvreur accepts that her now 84-year-old former husband may have declared ”I painted that” during one of his two excursions to sign the paintings at the Deutscher and Hackett gallery in Sydney last year, as recounted by the auction house’s executive director, Damian Hackett.

”But look,” she said, ”Charles is sick. He doesn’t have his mental faculties, sadly.”

Aston Legal is still looking to discuss this case with the purchasers of these painting’s in this matter, please contact Aston Legal on 02 9635 3777

Read more:

Fraudulent Artwork – Charles Blackman

Aston Legal has been associated with renowned Australian artists Chris Blackman a Franki Birrell. 6 months ago, it is believed that a unknown buyer has purchased 2 paintings for $120,000 passed off as Blackman’s. Aston Legal is urgenly attemping to contact these buyers for assistance in this matter.

Read the full story in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald here.