All wrongs should be righted: O’Gorman
The Folbigg pardon highlights the necessity to establish a national Criminal Cases Review Commission in Australia, the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties has told the state’s Attorney-General, Yvette D’Ath.
Queensland CCL Vice-President Terry O’Gorm an said that the Folbigg case shows the current system for remedying miscarriages of justice in Australia depends on politicians agreeing to set up a special inquiry into a case said to be a miscarriage of justice.
“The more controversial the case the less likely a politician (usually the AG0 will set up an inquiry because the AG/politician fears the law-and-order blow back”, O’Gorman said.
He said that the UK (England, Wales and Scotland) have had CCRCs for more than 20 years and New Zealand set up a similar body in 2019.
“The Folbigg case amply demonstrates the necessity for a national CCRC”, Mr O’Gorman said.
If there is a public inquiry, it is set up by the government of the day and the commissioner and counsel assisting is chosen by the government. As the NZ Minister for Justice said in his cabinet submission for a CCRC: “there is a public perception that the status quo is not sufficiently independent of the executive government of the day to remedy miscarriages of justice.
“If NZ, with a population the size of Queensland, has acted to establish a CCRC it is particularly important that a national CCRC spanning all Australian States and Territories be established,” Mr O’Gorman said.
A national CCRC funded by all jurisdictions would be a more efficient way of dealing with miscarriages of justice.
Mr O’Gorman said that the NZ justification for a CCRC applies equally in Australia, namely “given the resources a State puts into securing a conviction, there is a reasonable expectation that some resources and initiatives will be expended by the State to help identify and address wrongful convictions”.