CLA on Australia Day 2019 asked SA Attorney-General Vickie Chapman for a Royal Commission into 400 convictions over 30 years based on faulty forensic evidence. She refused. But, the situation is identical to the ‘Lawyer X’ issue in Victoria, where a Royal Commission is inquiring into “illegal” evidence accepted by the courts. Here, author Andrew Urban and SA legal academic Dr Bob Moles explain why she must change her mind so that she abides by the rule of law.
Sometimes we forget that those who serve us 24/7 might also be doing it tough. Two recent major reports into the health/mental health and ‘injury’ management systems of first responders have raised serious and troubling questions about the quality and integrity of internal management and compensation arrangements, particularly in the NSW Police Force. Former Detective Sergeant Terry Flanders explains why ordinary citizens should be worried about and stand up for all ‘first responders’.
A former Tasmanian, and noted crime author, Robin Bowles brings a unique perspective to her skilfully crafted, disturbing and compelling new book on the Sue Neill-Fraser case. The third book on the wrongful conviction released in just six months, Bowles brings a different insight to the sorry saga, which is still being played out in the Tasmanian courts 10 years after Bob Chappell disappeared off a yacht, his body never found. All actors in this drama await judge Michael Brett’s imminent decision on whether the woman sentenced to 23 years jail will get another chance to appeal her innocence.
“Our polite request to Attorney-General Elise Archer for the Tas Govt to consider holding a Royal Commission in 2020 or 2021 has been met with an emphatic ‘NO’ in record time, and on a long weekend,” CLA President Dr Kristine Klugman said. “You would think the government would be a little more circumspect, and wait until after legal cases had concluded to respond, as we suggested.
“Throughout Australia, governments unthinkingly backing their police and state legal systems have come completely unstuck over the past decade or so, and many Ministers have egg on their faces. I’m reminded of South Australian AG Michael Atkinson who for years repeatedly, inside and outside parliament, said the Henry Keogh conviction for murder was rock solid, safe, and a fine example of SA police, forensic and prosecution work. Keogh’s conviction was not long ago overturned by the SA Supreme Court after 19 years. SA has just paid Keogh $2.5m compensation.”
The Sue Neill- Fraser case, now 10 years old, is becoming Australia’s new ‘Dingo Took My Baby’ saga. Tasmania has jailed a woman for 23 years after her husband went missing from a yacht on Australia Day night in trendy Sandy Bay. No body, no witnesses, no believable motive and a trial skewed by a major Crown blunder not corrected before the jury made its wrongful judgement. Tasmania desperately needs a Royal Commission into its legal/justice system. In this Australia Day letter, CLA invites Attorney-General Elise Archer to announce one.