Swastika is an image, misuse is the problem

Jurisdictions throughout Australia are hell-bent on banning symbols they don’t like, when it is way the symbol or sign is used rather than the image itself that is the problem. CLA made this point in a submission to a parliamentary process in the ACT, pointing out that there are thousands of signs, symbols, gestures, chants that could – and do, at times – give offence when misused.

Australia Day: CLA asks AG for national forensic science regulator-authority

CLA, in one of its traditional Australia Day letters, has called in 2023 on Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus to secure agreement of all other AGs for a major review of forensic science in Australia, and for a national Forensic Science Regulator/Authority. The December 2022 findings of the Sofronoff inquiry in Queensland dramatically highlighted the extent of the problems, which have caused wrongful convictions in cases like Fara Jama in Victoria, Mallard in WA, Keogh in SA and Eastman in the ACT, among many others.

Freeing up the law

A defendant will be represented in court by an artificial intelligence in February 2023 for the first time ever. The DoNotPay smartphone app will tell a defendant what to say during a court case challenging a speeding ticket. The apps’ developers have not disclosed the exact date or location of the case in the USA, New Scientist reports. Should the robot lawyer lose the case, the company has promised to cover the cost of the fine for the defendant. DoNotPay is billed on its website as the “world’s first robot lawyer”. Joshua Browder, founder and CEO, said: “The goal of this company is to make the $200 billion legal profession free for consumers.” https://tinyurl.com/4n5peyaz or https://tinyurl.com/5x8mewp4

DPP and police Failure To Disclose (FTD) warps justice

Increasingly, in criminal trials throughout Australia, the failure to disclose (FTD) critical information to the defence appears to be skewing trials towards wrongful conviction outcomes. The problem is not new – the cases of Mallard, Keogh and Eastman over two decades demonstrate that fact – but what was an occasional blight seems to be becoming a plague of considerable proportions. Here’s the story, plus a special report on the Rules of Disclosure by legal academic Dr Bob Moles.

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.

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.