The legal system is broken if a person must wait three years to get a Supreme Court trial. Barrister Greg Barns explains how justice could be done better in Tasmania, but his critiques and suggestions for major reform apply to every jurisdiction in Australia. Australia’s overall legal system(s) have never been subjected to an overall review. It’s time for Better Justice throughout the nation:
The announcement by the Australian government of an inquiry into excessive security laws and police power is an admission that raids on the ABC and an Australian journalist’s home were way beyond reasonable, Bill Rowlings says. Here’s the full terms of reference.
Civil Liberties Australia has formally asked the Commissioner of Police Darren Hine to reveal under what law, regulation or powers were his TasPol officers acting in locking down an entire town and other locations to conduct ‘fishing’ searches which the police admit were ‘random’, not targeted on reasonable suspicion. Is Tasmanian and Australia becoming a fully-fledged police state? Will it be your town or your suburb – or your workplace, like the ABC, or your home, like The Australian journalist’s– that the local police take over or raid next?
An audit office analysis of the state of forensic analysis support for the court system in Queensland shows it is causing delays (some caused by errors, some averaging six months), is riddled by inefficiencies in cross-department cooperation and may in future be subject to failure because police cannot guarantee an audit trail of the exhibits they store. CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings reports on damming findings that require immediate police, health department and government attention.
Politicians use ‘law-n’order’ election manifestos and “throw away the key” rhetoric to appear tough, but they are really only being tough on taxpayers’ pockets. Better coordination of laws, police, courts and prisons could save society billions to spend on higher priority community services citizens want, CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings says.
Oath-against-Oath trials are fraught with dangers, says Brian Tennant AM. Lives are being ruined by courts and juries accepting verbal statements, with no physical evidence, that are impossible to prove or refute. Perhaps we need to have a new set of rules, and less vindictive punishments, for such cases, he says.
A man convicted of sexual offences who has nearly completed his non-parole period in jail may have to undergo a retrial because of alleged misbehaviour by jurors. The unusual case is being investigated by the sheriff of NSW.
The government continues to commit the nation to expensive litigation under the Investor State Dispute Settlement regime. Many years after the event, the true cost of the spurious Philip Morris claim against Australia for plain packaging of cigarettes is now known. We won, but paid a heavy price we should never have been liable for.
The High Court of Australia has engaged in specious, circular reasoning to kill off the old ‘Prasad Direction’, which could see unworthy criminal charges cut short in court, barrister Jack Pappas says. Now it’s time for the Attorney-General to pass a new law reinstating ‘Prasad, or to give judges new powers to end a trial at any stage.