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Tuesday, Jul 11, 2006
Alleged: George Semenov
Case Updates: 2 update(s) available
A magistrate has been accused of baiting his neighbours' dog with a poisoned pie, according to documents tendered to Melbourne Magistrates' Court.
The Brighton neighbours of magistrate Raffaele Barberio claim they are being stalked and harassed by the lawman and are in constant fear after an alleged barrage of intimidation and offensive language.
George and Valentina Semenov, who have known the magistrate for about 7 1/2 years, applied to the court yesterday for an intervention order against him.
Mr Semenov, 42, claims the magistrate referred to his wife as a "banshee dog".
Mrs Semenov, 34, accuses him of looking over the fence at her for almost an hour.
The couple claim that Mr Barberio baited their dog on July 11 with a poisoned pie thrown over the fence then began "yelling profusely and swearing offensively" at Mrs Semenov when she questioned him about the incident.
"I asked Raffaele where the pie had come from. Raffaele responded in a very aggressive and intimidating manner," she said in her written complaint.
Mr Semenov said he phoned the magistrate, saying: "The dog is one thing, but we have a two-year-old son who picks things up from the ground and puts them in his mouth. What if he picked up the pie and, God forbid, got poisoned?
"He yelled back, 'I don't care'.
"I was astounded and got frightened of what he is capable of doing to my young children."
Lawyer Peter Ward, for Mr Barberio, told the court his client would contest the allegations.
Mr Barberio has been a magistrate for more than 20 years. He was the first Victorian magistrate of Italian heritage.
Mr and Mrs Semenov, who also have a four-year-old daughter, accuse Mr Barberio of threatening to stop renovations at their home and intimidating Mrs Semenov's elderly parents as they removed guttering from the property on August 21.
"He approached them and told them not to remove anything saying, 'Tell George if he is going to demolish this property, he will be in big trouble'," Mrs Semenov said.
The couple say the magistrate used a "dagger finger" gesture at them and threatened to sue them for defamation.
"I am in constant fear of something happening to my family. Raffaele Barberio has threatened to see this through to the end," Mr Semenov said.
Mr Ward told the court his client had nothing to hide.
"The complaint does not amount to stalking," he said.
"It cannot be resolved through mediation."
Lawyer Tony Burns, for the Semenovs, said his clients were still prepared to explore mediation.
Outside court, Mr Semenov declined to comment but confirmed his family had vacated their home while renovations were taking place.
Chief Magistrate Ian Gray said he encouraged the parties to explore mediation and said he expressed no view about the merits of the case.
Mr Gray adjourned the matter until October 19.
|A magistrate and his neighbours have reached a secret agreement to end a long-running feud that culminated in claims of a poisoned pie being thrown over a back fence.|
The Brighton neighbours of magistrate Raffaele Barberio told Melbourne Magistrates' Court yesterday they had settled their differences with him in private mediation.
In an earlier court hearing George Semenov and his wife Valentina said they lived in fear after a barrage of intimidation from Mr Barberio.
They alleged the magistrate tried to bait their dog in July this year with a poisoned meat pie thrown over the fence.
Yesterday Mr Semenov told the court he and his wife wanted to withdraw their application but said Mr Barberio's behaviour at mediation had been "less than exemplary".
Magistrate Lesley Flemming told him the comments were not appropriate given mediation was confidential.
Mr Barberio, who is based at Dandenong Magistrates' Court, was not at the hearing and was not represented by a lawyer.
|Source: Herald-Sun - Nov 2, 2006|
Update posted on Nov 2, 2006 - 10:12AM
|A magistrate who allegedly called his neighbour's wife a "banshee dog" after feeding her pet a poisoned pie will attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation. Raffaele Barberio will be asked to "please explain" during the mediation session why he also allegedly threatened and intimidated his neighbours' parents as they helped remove gutters, ordering the elderly couple to stop work. |
A hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court was adjourned as the court heard Mr Barberio would submit to mediation with George and Valentina Semenov, who accuse the suburban magistrate of stalking, harassing, threatening and intimidating them.
In a formal complaint lodged with the court, Mr Semenov said he was "frightened of what (the magistrate) is capable of doing to my young children" after the alleged poisoned pie attack on July 11, which sent the Semenov family dog into fits of "angry barking".
"My wife had a discussion with Raffaele ... regarding a pie found in our back yard," Mr Semenov said. "I telephoned Raffaele at approx 6.30pm to follow up on this incident. He was very aggressive towards me and referred to my wife as a 'banshee dog'.
"I said 'we're going to be neighbours for a long time ... the dog is one thing, but we have a two-year-old son who picks things up from the ground and puts them in his mouth - what if he picked up the pie and, God forbid, got poisoned? He yelled back: 'I don't care'."
A week before the pie incident, Mr Semenov alleged, he caught the magistrate "intensely looking over the fence at me for almost an hour".
"I felt like I was being stalked," he said.
Mr Barberio did not attend court yesterday. His lawyer, Peter Ward, said the mediation would occur some time in the next two weeks. In a hearing last month, Mr Ward told the court Mr Barberio would contest the allegations and he had nothing to hide.
The matter was set down to be heard again in November.
|Source: The Australian - Oct 20, 2006|
Update posted on Oct 23, 2006 - 8:14AM
- Herald Sun - Sept 11, 2006
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