Explosive letter & speech reopens SNF inquiry call

A former Tasmanian prosecutor, Tony Jacobs, with 30 years experience which includes 30 murder trials, has written an explosive letter – beginning with the famous phrase ‘J’Accuse, quoting Emile Zola in 1898 – to the state’s Law Society claiming that “Mrs (Sue) Neill-Fraser’s conviction for murder should have been overturned because of the mistakes & omissions of a number of Tasmanian Legal Practitioners”. Jacobs’ letter was tabled in the Legislative Council of the Tasmanian Parliament on Tuesday 15 November 2022 by Michael Gaffney MLC. Here’s the tabling speech from a Hansard proof copy, .and you can read the tabled the letter.

NACC: CLA explains how integrity and rights go together

CLA’s submission to the National Anti-Corruption Commission parliamentary inquiry placed the NACC in context – along with a much-needed, federal Human Rights Act to follow – as delivering a better, fairer and more equal ethical infrastructure for Australia. When CLA appeared before the NACC inquiry committee, it was unfortunately more intent on parsing clauses from a legal perspective than discussing the best national philosophy for Australia. (Note: the committee asked for submissions to be kept as short as possible).

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.

Warrants: how Tas compares; why reform needed

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.

High Court fails again on justice being seen to be done

[caption id="attachment_42385" align="alignleft" width="500"] 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.[/caption]
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.

Justice failing state’s kids as young as 10

Horrific stories of kids locked up 23 hours a day forming suicide pacts, regular riots and a juvenile jail smashed to pieces are the backdrop for an urgent need to change tack on how the state of WA treats its young, and old, prisoners. Australia needs an inquiry – one it has never had in its 120 years – into the state of justice in the nation, CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings writes.

Backgrounder: why Australia needs a CCRC

Australia needs a Criminal Cases Review Commission system. Proven over 25 years in Britain, a CCRC can correct wrongful convictions like those of the Guildford 4 and the Birmingham 6 (Photo: two of those victims, with Australian wrongful conviction guru Estelle Blackburn). With an Australian CCRC system, the cases of Sue Neill-Fraser and Derek Bromley – now before the High Court – would have evaluated for their possible erroneous forensics earlier than 13 and 37 years ago, respectively.