Murder charge permitted
A JUDGE will let prosecutors add an additional charge of intentional murder to the case of a former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an Australian woman last year.
Judge Kathryn Quaintance ruled yesterday that prosecutors could amend their complaint against Mohamed Noor to add a charge of second-degree intentional murder.
Noor is already charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the July 2017 death of Justine Damond. Authorities say Noor shot Damond after she called to report a possible sexual assault behind her home. In their request to add the count, prosecutors said evidence showed Noor intended to kill when he aimed and fired.
WHEN South Australian astronaut Andy Thomas was blasted into orbit on board the space shuttle Endeavour in 1996, he carried a collection of Australian artefacts with him.
There was a black opal ring that was part of his family history, there was a piece of wood from the anchor of Captain James Cook’s original Endeavour, and there were the pilot wings once worn by two South Australian brothers when they changed what people thought was possible in an aeroplane.
Ross and Keith Smith, and their mechanics Jim Bennett and Wally Shiers, flew their Vickers Vimy from Britain to Australia in 28 days in 1919, collecting a £10,000 prize and opening up what would become an important air route.
The Smith brothers, who could have collected the prize just for landing in Darwin but decided to continue on to Adelaide anyway, came home to a heroes’ welcome.
The war-weary public were eager for good news, and this was great news indeed. But de- spite the initial excitement, they never really claimed their rightful place in aviation history. Technology was moving so fast that in just a few years, the feat seemed unremarkable. Ross’s death just two years after the race seemed to be the full stop on the story.
The huge Vickers is now parked in a hangar next to Adelaide Airport’s long-term carpark, its main visitors made up of people taking a curious glance as they hurry back to their cars after holidays and business trips.
For Dr Thomas, however, the aircraft stands as a memorial to just what can be achieved by brave people with a will to succeed. The kind of people who lit a fire under him as a child and inspired him to become an astronaut.
“You have to ask yourself how did they succeed when others did not, and part of the answer is here,” Dr Thomas said, looking up at the aircraft’s huge engines.
“This aeroplane was powered by two Rolls-Royce Eagle engines. These engines were state-of-the-art in 1919 and the only source of the high-reliability engines that were needed for this type of mission.”
It’s immediately obvious that, when it comes to the Smith brothers’ Vickers Vimy, Dr Thomas knows his stuff.
“It was a name that I was very familiar with,” he said.
“When people ask why I’m here in Adelaide, I tell them we’re making a documentary on the Smith brothers and the Vimy and many people look at me like, ‘Who? It’s surprising that this is an unknown story.”