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.
CLA on Australia Day 2019 asked SA Attorney-General Vickie Chapman for a Royal Commission into 400 convictions over 30 years based on faulty forensic evidence. She refused. But, the situation is identical to the ‘Lawyer X’ issue in Victoria, where a Royal Commission is inquiring into “illegal” evidence accepted by the courts. Here, author Andrew Urban and SA legal academic Dr Bob Moles explain why she must change her mind so that she abides by the rule of law.