Brekky Wrap: Grandparents Charged With Paddle-Beating Boy, 12, To Death

All the news you need to know this Tuesday morning.

A 12-year-old Montana boy found dead had allegedly been beaten by his grandparents and 14-year-old uncle.

James Sasser Jr, 47, and Patricia Batts, 48, appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Thursday regarding the death of James Alex Hurley, The New York Post reports.

According to court documents the boy had been living with his grandparents, two uncles and an aunt in West Yellowstone – near the border of Wyoming and Idaho – for about two years.

Following his death authorities said they uncovered videos that allegedly suggested Hurley’s grandparents and his 14-year-old uncle regularly abused him.

Image: Gallatin County Sheriff's Office

The alleged abuse included beating him with a wooden paddle and locking up food.

The uncle claims he found Hurley standing over Batts with a knife after they had a bad fight, according to the court records cited by The New York post.

However, the 14-year-old also allegedly confessed to kicking Hurley in the head multiple times in the 24 to 36 hours before his death.

The teen has been charged with deliberate homicide while the grandparents have been charged under the felony murder law, with authorities alleging they committed felony aggravated assault that contributed to the boy’s death.

The bushfire crisis impacted three out of four Australians either directly or indirectly, according to new poll results.

The survey by The Australian National University also found Prime Minister Scott Morrison's approval rating has taken a beating since the crisis, with less than one-third of Australians confident in the Morrison government.

Lead researcher Nicholas Biddle said he was surprised by how many Australians had been indirectly impacted by the fires.

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The immediate bushfire crisis may be under control but the "loss and grief" of the emergency still looms, with a dedicated mental health support service launched to help those in need.

"Those indirect measures, in many ways, had a greater effect on attitudes or beliefs than a direct effect only," Professor Biddle told AAP.

The survey estimated more than 75 per cent of Australians were affected, with 14 per cent of those directly impacted by lost, damaged or threatened property, or who were advised to evacuate.

Those not directly impacted included people who were exposed to smoke, forced to change travel plans or felt worried by the fires.

A man busted for drink-driving while riding his orange lawnmower on a Sydney footpath abused police before admitting he'd "had a lot to drink".

Police arrested disqualified driver Abrar Matin Alif, 34, as he was driving his Kubota ride-on lawnmower past a roadside breath test in the suburb of Greystanes in November last year.

They found an empty can of Jim Beam bourbon and cola in the mower's cup holder when they stopped him, according to court documents.

"Police noticed an extremely strong smell of alcohol coming from him and noticed that his eyes were bloodshot and that he was finding it difficult to keep his eyes open," the police facts state.

Alif was taken to Granville Police Station, where he recorded a breath alcohol reading of 0.167 -- more than three times the legal limit.

On Monday he was convicted in Fairfield Local Court of driving while disqualified and high-range drink driving. He was sentenced to a 12-month intensive corrections order which includes a six-month curfew.

A royal commission will hear directly from several people with cognitive disability as it investigates serious problems with the provision of health care.

Delayed diagnoses, misdiagnoses, and deaths possibly linked to inadequate treatment are among issues to be examined during public hearings in Sydney from Tuesday.

Commission chair Ronald Sackville QC said the inquiry will look at the higher rates of health problems and death among people with cognitive disabilities than those without.

Commission chair Ronald Sackville QC. Image: AAP

"I think you will find over the next two weeks there is evidence that should disturb all Australians and should make all Australians aware that there are very, very serious problems that need to be addressed," Mr Sackville told AAP.

Five people with cognitive disabilities will share their experiences on Tuesday and Wednesday, along with some parents and Council for Intellectual Disability CEO Justine O'Neill.

Other witnesses during the two-week hearing include parents of people with cognitive disability who have died due to potentially avoidable causes or inadequate treatment.

Catalans Dragons have dismissed allegations that Castleford fans were banned from displaying rainbow flags at last Saturday's match.

The French club launched an investigation following complaints by visiting fans that they were ordered to take down their flags, which are a symbol of LGBT pride.

The flags were seen as a protest at the presence of Israel Folau - who was sacked by Rugby Australia for posting homophobic messages on social media last year - as he made his Catalans debut.



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But the Dragons insist fans are welcome to display flags at their matches and say one fan was asked to take down a flag during Saturday's game only because it was covering an advertising board.

A statement read: "Catalans Dragons are happy to confirm that supporters flags are welcome in all the stands at Gilbert Brutus Stadium.

"We noted the complaints of certain Castleford supporters but, having reviewed the CCTV footage and numerous photos in the media, we can confirm that supporters were able to display their flags and colours throughout."

The Rugby Football League is carrying out its own investigation and said it was too early to draw firm conclusions.

Gunmen have opened fire on a church in Burkina Faso, killing at least 24 people, security sources said.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.

The timing of the shooting, during a church service in the village of Pansi in the Yagha region, mirrors that of other attacks on Christians in the past year, including church attacks and assassinations of pastors and priests.

The violence threatens to up-end traditionally peaceful relations between Burkina Faso's majority Muslim community and its Christians, who represent up to a quarter of the population.

Armed assailants "attacked the peaceful residents of this area after identifying them and separating them from non-residents," the government said in a statement on Monday.

It is understood 18 people were also injured in the attack and an unknown number were kidnapped.

The AFL is investigating whether menstrual cycles are linked to the rise in the number of ACL injuries plaguing the AFLW competition. 

On Friday Melbourne's Ainslie Kemp became the eighth AFLW player to rupture her ACL since the beginning of this pre-season in November, News Corp reports.

It is believed females are two to 10 times more likely to be felled by the knee injury but the League is eager to determine whether there is a link between the female cycle and the season-ending injury.

AFL women’s football chief Nicole Livingstone said: "We are keen to explore this further."

According to reports, the League is working alongside the Players’ Association and La Trobe University to research possible correlations.

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