Australian student who sold monkey skull to ‘people from Pirates of the Caribbean’ fined

A few years ago, one of those Johnny-Depp-pirate movies — it may have been 5 — was filming down the highway at the Gold Coast.

The set was plagued by drama when it was discovered Depp and then wife Amber Heard had illegally brought two dogs into the country.

This prompted deputy premier Banaby-the-bloody-carp Joyce (right, not exactly as shown) to question Depp’s acting ability after the couple apologized, which shows how small Australia is because now Joyce is embroiled in his own scandalous activities, involving humans, not pets.

Behind the sideshow of movie making, divorce and apologies, a Canberra university student was on Thursday fined for illegally possessing and importing exotic animal remains into Australia, in a case that has shed some light on the shadowy world of wildlife trade.

Alexandra Back of the Canberra Times reports that for years, avid collector Brent Philip Counsell, 28, dealt in what a magistrate described as a “macabre” trade of skulls and animal specimens, once selling a primate skull to the people making the Pirates of the Caribbean movie in Brisbane.

In 2016 authorities from the department of environment raided Counsell’s home in Deakin where they found and seized about 100 animal specimens from the living room and bedroom.

Australian environment law makes it illegal to either possess or import protected exotic animal specimens without a permit.

Over several years, Counsell either illegally imported or possessed a small primate skull threaded on a necklace, the skulls of a brown bear and a gibbon, a taxidermy buzzard, water monitor lizard, and teeth from a bear and a hippopotamus tooth.

When he spoke to investigators, Counsell admitted possessing and selling species from his website, which he had since shut down.

One of the charges stemmed from an admission Counsell made to authorities after they had searched his home, that he had sold a primate skull to the “people” behind the Pirates of the Caribbean movie that was filming in Brisbane.

He tried to avoid detection, and prosecutors found on his phone articles that offered tips about how to send skulls overseas without being noticed by customs.

A 50-something’s E. coli concerns for his daughter: Johnny Depp edition

I just spoke with my 20-year-old daughter – 4 of 5 and a better goaltender than I’ll ever be — when I read about Lily-Rose Depp, the 16-year-old actress and model daughter of Hollywood star Johnny Depp who publicly declared herself in August to be ‘sexually fluid’, meaning she does not regard herself as 100 per cent heterosexual, it caused a sensation.‘She’s got thousands of followers on social media, and they were all taken completely by surprise,’ says her father. ‘But not me. I already knew because she tells me everything – she’s not afraid to say anything to me. We’re super-tight and I’m very proud of our relationship. …

‘She’s got a sensible head on her shoulders, and I trust her to lead a sensible, responsible life, but I can’t ever see the day coming when I just switch off to let her make her own way in the world.’

Depp, 52, is possibly a little extra-protective of Lily-Rose because when she was seven, he and Vanessa nearly lost her to an E. coli infection, which she contracted while her father was filming Sweeney Todd in London. Her life was saved by what Depp has described as the ‘terrific’ medical team at Great Ormond Street Hospital. But as he remembers today, there was a period when they were not sure whether the little girl would make it at all.

‘They told us her kidneys had shut down and that she would be lucky to survive. For nine days we sat by her bed, and refused to move until she began to pull through.

‘Filming had to stop. Everything had to stop. It was three weeks before she was allowed to go home. I still think of that time when I’m playing an emotional scene in a movie – it’s something that, when you’ve been through it, you can’t help but tap into.’

But can she play goal?

Johnny Depp visits Australian children’s hospital as Captain Jack

Actor Johnny Depp is around town filming the latest Pirates of Caribbean installment, and has taken to winning over the locals after some bizarre behavior, so he went to visit an Australian children’s hospital.

johnny.deppDressed as his character Captain Jack Sparrow, he arrived at the oncology and neurology wards of Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane on Tuesday.

When his daughter Lily Rose contracted E. coli poisoning and suffered kidney failure in 2007, she was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, spending nine days there.

Depp was so grateful for the help they received that he donated £1million to the hospital and made a surprise visit dressed as Captain Jack two years later.

But here’s the real inspiration for Captain Jack.

Australia: stolen cattle gallstones and upsetting sheep with foul language

Australia can be a weird place.

johnny_depp_71911A collection of cattle gallstones, which are used in Chinese herbal medicine at $20,000 per kilogram, began disappearing over the last six months from a slaughterhouse at Oakey, west of Toowoomba.

The Toowoomba Stock and Rural Crime Investigation Squad this week raided a property at Cranley and a 38-year-old man was charged.

He will appear in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on June 23.

Acting detective senior sergeant Brendan Murphy said police had to act fast because the small gallstones are easy to dispose of.

South of Queensland in the state of New South Wales, animal activists reported shearers at a NSW property for abuse because they were upsetting the herd with abusive language.

While the case has been dropped, the issue came up at a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday with Nationals senator John Williams demanding to know if department officials had received any formal complaints – from the sheep themselves.

“Not yet senator,” policy official Fran Freeman said.

Looks good on the outside, not so much inside

And no I am not talking about Johnny Depp. Time and time again food safety communicators promote the use of digital tip sensitive thermometers to determine doneness of food. But how often is this practice being done in restaurants? If so, is it being done correctly? From my experience, it seems that restaurant operators depend on color far too often and the operators that use thermometers do not use them correctly. This simply boils down to a need of properly train staff. It is imperative that front line food service staff are physically shown how to correctly use thermometers rather than just explaining the concept and theory behind it. Health inspectors, in particular, must take the time during routine inspections to demonstrate the proper usage of thermometers and compel restaurant managers to train their staff accordingly.

There have been too many cases of raw chicken burgers being served to the public and ultimately making people barf.  At times, food service staff are stressed and end up getting food orders wrong and are therefore rushed to correct the problem. In doing so, corners are cut resulting in burgers not being cooked long enough. Take the time to properly cook chicken burgers and remember stick it in.



Depp donates to hospital

The Daily Mail is reporting that actor Johnny Depp has secretly been giving back to the hospital that saved his little Lily-Rose, after the 8-year-old contracted E. coli and her kidneys failed last year.

Apparently, Depp gave the hospital £1 million ($2 million) of his own money. He also invited 5 doctors to see the London premiere of his most recent movie, Sweeney Todd.

And on November 29, unknown to the public, Depp spent four hours at the hospital telling bedtime stories to patients dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow after having his Pirates Of The Caribbean costume flown over from Los Angeles.

Sounds like an ideal candidate for a public service announcement (PSA) on foodborne illness.

Johnny Depp: Words can’t describe pain of daughter’s E. coli illness

Johnny Depp tells Entertainment Weekly in its Nov. 9 issue that his eight-year-old daughter, Lily, is now healthy and well following her hospitalization this year after contracting what was believed to be an E. coli O157.

"Now every single millisecond is a mini-celebration. Every time we get to breathe in and exhale is a huge victory. She pulled through beautifully, perfectly, with no lasting anything."

"To say it was the darkest moment, that’s nothing. It doesn’t come close to describing it. Words are so small."

Unfortunately, not everyone makes it, like the 14-year-old Iowa girl who died Friday morning. Or 5-year-old Mason Jones who died in 2005 in Wales.

Depp daughter’s E. coli scare

According to, actor Johnny Depp has spoken out about his family’s scare following his seven-year-old daughter, Lily-Rose’s bout with E. coli two months ago.

The story notes that Lily-Rose was rushed to a London hospital after contracting the E.coli bacteria, which caused her kidneys to shut down. Filming on Depp’s latest movie Sweeney Todd was halted so he could keep a vigil at the youngster’s bedside with partner Vanessa Paradis (who, according to other media sources, he may finally marry this summer) .

Although Lily appears to be back to her normal self already, Depp was quoted as saying, "It gave us a great scare. What got us through this wasn’t the strength of Vanessa or me but our daughter and her incredible ability to make us feel OK even though she was very unwell. She was super-strong."

The actor further added, "It was a very bumpy patch but she has come through it beautifully and unscathed and she is now as healthy as she always was. She is wonderful."