Afternoon Update: Drumgold scores partial victory in Lehrmann trial fallout; NRL racism allegation; and Nikki Haley wins first primary

<span>Former ACT director of public prosecutions Shane Drumgold (left) and Lehrmann trial inquiry head Walter Sofronoff.</span><span>Composite: Lukas Coch/AAP</span>
Former ACT director of public prosecutions Shane Drumgold (left) and Lehrmann trial inquiry head Walter Sofronoff.Composite: Lukas Coch/AAP

Good afternoon. The flow-on effects from the Bruce Lehrmann trial rolled on today, with the former director of public prosecutions Shane Drumgold scoring a partial victory in his ongoing case against Walter Sofronoff and the ACT government.

A court found that extensive communications between Sofronoff – who headed an inquiry into the Lehrmann trial – and The Australian columnist Janet Albrechtsen may have given an impression of bias against Drumgold. The former DPP launched legal action against the ACT government last August after the Sofronoff inquiry’s damning findings against him.

Separately, the Liberal senator Linda Reynolds received a $90,000 payout after settling a defamation case brought against the ACT government, after Drumgold, in his time as DPP, accused her of “disturbing conduct” during the Lehrmann trial.

Top news

  • Racism allegation mars NRL’s lavish Las Vegas showcase | The Brisbane Broncos five-eighth Ezra Mam, a Torres Strait Islander, complained to the referee Adam Gee during the second fixture at Allegiant Stadium, won by the Sydney Roosters 20-10, alleging opposing forward Spencer Leniu – a Panthers premiership player and Samoa international – made a racist comment. The matter left a sour aftertaste from rugby league’s historic venture in the US.

  • Nikki Haley secures first primary victory | Haley, the only remaining challenger to Donald Trump, won 62.9% of the vote in the Washington DC primary, versus 33.2% captured by the former president. Haley still faces near-impossible odds in her quest to win the Republican nomination to take on Joe Biden in November, after Trump won the first eight contests by significant margins.

  • Australia building air traffic control system for ‘flying taxis’ | Could The Jetsons finally becoming a reality? Airservices Australia – the federal government agency responsible for managing airspace across – seems to think so. Analysis commissioned by the agency predicts that drone flights in the country will surge to 60m by 2043, including delivery drones, air taxis and other pilotless operations. At present, there are about 1.5m drone flights a year.

  • Widespread WA power outage | Western Power says a power outage affecting nearly 30,000 customers across WA is due to pole top fires, following drizzly rain and humid weather.

  • Kamala Harris issues sharp rebuke of Israel | The US vice-president has bluntly called out Israel for not doing enough to ease a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza as the Biden administration faces increasing pressure to rein in its close ally while it wages war with Hamas.

  • UK considers ban on MPs engaging with protesters | Government ministers are considering proposals to ban MPs and councillors from engaging with groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil.

  • Escaped horses gallop down US highway | Motorists in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday were met with two horses running free down Interstate 90, the longest highway in the US. The pair of horses temporarily slowed down traffic after escaping the Cleveland police stables and making their way to the highway. The horses were safely recovered. Watch the video.

  • Massive jailbreak in Haiti | Hundreds of inmates have fled Haiti’s main prison after armed gangs stormed the facility in an overnight explosion of deadly violence that engulfed much of the capital. Gangs have stepped up coordinated attacks in Port-au-Prince while the embattled prime minister, Ariel Henry, is abroad trying to salvage support for a UN-backed security force to stabilise the country.

In pictures

‘It’s greed, that’s what it’s about’: documenting the UK’s cost-of-living crisis

Photographer Kirsty Mackay’s project The Magic Money Tree explores the impact of poverty in the Black Country, South Shields and Bristol.

“All together, photographs, drawings, paintings, banners and testimony tell the collective story of the cost-of-living crisis. It’s protest art in an election year,” she writes. View the photo essay.

What they said …


“Reinstating the suspended [UNRWA] funding is the bare minimum Australia should be doing.” – Mat Tinkler, Save the Children Australia’s CEO

The federal government continues to face calls to reinstate UNRWA funding to help Palestinians – the foreign minister, Penny Wong, flagged over the weekend an urgent aid package to be announced in “coming days”.

In numbers

But in somewhat more positive news, the average views per rental listing declined, according to Domain’s February rate report.

Before bed read

Our AFL columnist, Jonathan Horn, has published the first of his two-part ladder predictor for this season. Today’s edition looks at the bottom half – and, to my surprise, has the Crows finishing 11th!

Read Horn’s ladder predictor – part one.

Daily word game

Today’s starter word is: DEB. You have five goes to get the longest word including the starter word. Play Wordiply.

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