Civil Liberties Australia

Promoting people's rights and civil liberties. It is non-party political and independent of other organisations.
Civil Liberties Australia

Civil Liberties Australia

Tas Police: secret, illegal keepers of the dark arts

Recent revelations of secret recordings of lawyers and their clients at Risdon Prison by Tasmanian Police over two months raised major alarm bells. The Commonwealth Ombudsman has been consistently calling out TasPol for its recording devices and surveillance warrant failures for years. TasPol's “compliance culture” is lacking, the Ombudsman says. In other words, TasPol does not obey the law. SPECIAL ANALYSIS reveals how extensive the TasPol problem is: nothing less than a full inquiry into TasPol will get to the root causes of its problems.

What are the laws about police warrants?

Police can self-authorise some warrants, or get a magistrate or judge to issue others. But whatever method is mandated, warrants are frequently incorrectly issued in Australia on false, dodgy or incomplete information containing wrong details and not meeting legal requirements, or by unauthorised people. The Commonwealth monitors warrant processes, and its Ombudsman has singled out one state in particular, Tasmania, for compliance and culture criticism over the past few years

Behind the secrecy in Bernard Collaery case

What was so secret about the Bernard Collaery and Witness K case? It couldn’t have been the bugging of the East Timorese Cabinet rooms, as that was well known. Perhaps it was deeper and longer-term spying on who the East Timorese leaders were planning to throw their lot in with, over suspicions of Chinese influence of concern to Australia 20 years ago, Dr Richie Gun surmises.

An Australian republic: it’s (nearly) time

Paul Gregoire of Sydney Criminal Lawyers wrote about Australia leaning towards becoming a republic before the former monarch’s death, and sought comment from CLA CEO Bill Rowlings. Now updated with the change of gender accommodated, here’s a look at why Australia might change, and when.

CLArion September 2022 – Justice under threat Oz-wide and in island state

The High Court has a duty to deliver transparent justice in open and full view of the people: it failed last month. Australia-wide, torture and sexual assault reveal severe problems in juvenile jails as adult prisoners are experiencing similar inhumane treatment. One state's justice system is in parlous condition with illegal audio and visual surveillance of hundreds of privileged lawyer-client discussions after police used an illegal warrant inside a jail. Was the police action a ‘witch hunt’? Did it comprise an official conspiracy to thwart the rule of law? Clear and obvious warnings month after month indicate justice in Australia is in need of a national Royal Commission covering all jurisdictions at the one time, CLA believes. In other items:

  • High Court runs special hearing of dubious legality
  • Police drop last SNF-related case after using illegal warrant
  • Tasmanian justice appears to rot from an early age
  • Drug court saves $14m, report says
  • Teenage boy locked in solitary 20 hours a day for 25 days in total
  • Canada's ‘pre-crime’ system targets Indigenous girls disproportionately
  • Parents stunned when trying to protect children in school
  • Judges – as well as juries – sneak a peak at Wikipedia
  • Ankle bracelets become the new jails

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High Court fails again on justice being seen to be done

The size of justice as portrayed on the TV set in Court 2, High Court of Australia. The portrait of the judge, at right, is bigger, not to mention the coat of arms.
The High Court rejected Sue Neill-Fraser’s bid in mid-August 2022 for a full court hearing on what she, many legal experts, and CLA believe is her wrongful conviction for killing husband Bob Chappell on a yacht in Tasmania in 2009. The High Court hearing, in a remote, disjointed mini-TV setting, was a farce if meant to exhibit open and transparent, accessible justice. On many levels, the court needs to lift its game considerably and be reminded that it serves the people, not the reverse.

Barrister promises revelations: ‘reprehensible’ police

Fallout from ‘reprehensible’ behaviour by Tasmanian Police is likely to reverberate around Australia in legal circles as barristers pillory how TasPol and the Office of the DPP handled a five-year alleged harassment of lawyer Jeff Thompson. The DPP dropped the case – at virtually the last possible moment – this week. More revelations about possibly appalling and illegal police behaviour are yet to emerge when earlier court-ordered suppression orders are lifted.

Lawyer unhassled! Yacht No Body case nears a climax

Matters associated with the Sue-Neill Fraser case have some good news at last – the SNF ‘orals’ hearing in the High Court of Australia is scheduled for Friday 12 August 2022, at a time yet to be fixed.A lawyer involved with the case has had charges against him dropped this week. And, for the first time, on Sunday 14 August ALL of Australia will be able to watch the gripping drama of the Yacht-No-Body case in Sandy Bay, Tasmania, in 2009 that has seen Sue jailed for 13 years (as of 20 August)…the ‘Undercurrent’ series starts a new run from 10.40pm AEST this Sunday.
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