Court warns of retrial, possibly at great expense, CLA says

Despite having a delay of 18 months for judicial/legal and Covid reasons during which to prepare, Tasmania’s Court of Criminal Appeal refuses to live-stream the Sue Neill-Fraser case starting 1 March 2021, Although there is intense interest Australia-wide, only 18 people can sit in the public gallery, 17 can watch CCTV coverage from the next door courtroom, and eight media are to be corralled in another separate CCTV room. The court claims a reason for no live-streaming is that it might order a retrial, a final decision that is actually beyond the power of the court to make. Neill-Fraser is appealing a murder conviction from 2009, which CLA believes was a miscarriage of justice.

LATE NEWS: Robert Richter QC of Melbourne has replaced Tom Percy QC of Perth as SNF’s barrister, due to Covid-19.

Kissing judge features in Grand Poobah pash: age shall not weary him

Just as chief judge Alan Blow makes a public PR bid for retaining his ’talented’ judges unchanged for a total of 20 years-plus – 6 men and 1 women, it should be noted – one of them (and not the woman) gets caught on camera late at night in the Grand Poobah nightcoub in an “intimate kiss” with a junior employee who reports to him. No wonder CLA and the Tasmanian Women Lawyers are calling for a judicial commission in Tasmania, urgently.

3000 people call for Defence Inquiry reforms

In a detailed criticism, the human rights advocate wife of an honoured SAS RSM soldier outlines why our military personnel are plagued by second-class regulations and rights even as they deliver first-class service to the nation. More than 3000 people have signed a petition to the Australian Parliament, agreeing with her, that Australian soldiers too should have equal protection before the law, and not be subjected to ‘Roo Bar’ regulations which form a barrier to justice. Photo: ADF whistleblower speaks to a rally in front of the ACT courts complex.

What’s the rate of wrongful convictions in Australia?

No-one keeps statistics on wrongful convictions in Australia, so the rate has to be derived from overseas. Bill Rowlings of Civil Liberties Australia uses the virtually identical legal-police-courts systems in the UK, which does have a statutory authority keeping accurate figures. In Australia, the ‘headline’ rate for major crimes of 6% will surprise many people: for minor crimes, the legal system gets it wrong in about 10% of cases, questioning whether ‘justice’ in Australia needs a major commission of inquiry.

Camera phones single best tool for police accountability

Ordinary citizens are starting to fight back agains the problems of police-investigating police (PIP). Camera phones are becoming instruments of truth when police officers collude to deny, during internal police inquiries, that they used excessive force, or bashed, a person they were arresting. You have a right to film police in public, provided you don’t hinder them. ‘Stop PIP’ is a new CLA campaign, in development.

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.

Identify…disrupt: Dutton to further extend surveillance state

The drip-drip-drip of inexorable increasingly-repressive surveillance laws keep emanating from the black hole of Home Affairs, run by Minister Peter Dutton and his sidekick Mike ‘The Pezz’ Pezzullo. The title of their latest Bill explains what they want to do to the Australian people and society: Identify and Disrupt.

Stop the Prosecution!

In capital cities around Australia, 9 November marked ’Stop the Prosecution!s’ day when supporters called on Australia’s Attorney-General Christian Porter to end the secret trials of Witness K from ASIS and his lawyer Bernard Collaery. Their trials – secret evidence in closed courts – are contrary to the rule of law, which the AG is supposedly the guardian of.