Another police shooting, just as the dingo was declared innocent

Forty years ago, there was a police shooting in the NT. With Constable Zachary Rolfe facing a murder charge in 2021, its interesting to look back on what happened in the case of the shooting death of the Anmatyerre man (with the skin name of Jabanardi) and Constable Clifford. Here’s Russell Goldflam’s account.

CLA posts Australia Day letters for 2021

To Kevin Andrews MHR:
Civil Liberties Australia on Australia Day 2021 asks the man responsible for citizens of the ACT and the NT having lesser rights than all others Australians – they are not able to even vote on dying with dignity/euthansia law – to ‘rescind’ the federal law he promoted by lodging a new Private Member’s Bill to restore the rights of 600,000 fellow Australians. Here’s the Andrews letter.

To WA Police Commissioner (and Police Minister):

On Australia Day 2021, CLA asks for an apology from WAPOL and the State for those people the police falsely and irresponsibly named as ‘persons-of-interest’ before, some 25 years later, Bradley Edwards was convicted and sentenced. We asked particularly for an apology of Peter Weygers and civil liberties: Weygers was then the local president, whose reputation was ruined by the erroneous police accusation. Click here for the letter.

To Ministers for Corrective Services, throughout Australia:

CLA asks, on Australia Day 2021, that you review the rules, sometimes archaic, about what prisoners can receive through the mail and other associated censorship concerns, including their rights to educational material and to private correspondence with the lawyers. For the letter sent to WA click here. And for a CLA/Uni of Qld report on the state of censorship in prisons in Australia, click here.

Releasing non-violent inmates could reduce COVID spread potential

As Iran releases 100,000 prisoners, Australian jails are still packed with the potential for major COVID-19 spread into the community, Paul Gregoire writes for Sydney Criminal Lawyers. And, as usual, Indigenous prisoners are relatively most at risk because of their large numbers and poor health. The WHO and UN have warned Australia about the potential for jails to spread the pandemic. ‘Prison health is a matter of public health’.

Judicial Commission needs independent, external input to stop judges bullying lawyers

The NT is planning to introduce a Judicial Commission to deal with the problem of judges bullying lawyers. A parliamentary committee is considering submissions – but none of the submissions, other than that from CLA – proposes having truly independent people on the commission and its investigatory panels…or even mandatory Indigenous representationl. Changes to the current bill are vital if justice is to be seen to be done, and to be done, to lawyers and their clients in the NT, CLA says.

CLA proposes independent and Indigenous members of Judicial Commission

The NT Parliament is proposing a Judicial Commission to solve major problems of bullying by judges and magistrates, as well as lengthy delays in delivering some judgements. CLA has told the parliamentary committee that the absence of any independent legal expert from outside the NT, and  the possibility of the commission having no Indigenous representatives, needs fixing.

Prison report is blueprint for saving $billions, overhauling justice

The Queensland Productivity Commission has delivered its seminal report on the state of jails in that state but in reality standing for all Australian jails. Their recommendations provide a blueprint for saving taxpayers money, ending a massive jail-building program over the next decade, and seriously reducing the number of people in prison. Will our fearful governments have the courage to take positive action to achieve a better system delivering better justice?

If your MP says they are ‘tough on crime’, show them this:

For all those politicians (and the media) who posture at being “tough on crime” and who bring in mandatory sentences to appear to be “smart” legislators telling magistrates and judges how to make decisions and pass sentences, hear this plea from a real live criminal lawyer dealing with the consequences of such irresponsible political action in the Northern Territory…