Domestic violence cases where police are the perpetrators, or where they ignore women’s pleas for help, are highlighting how the system of police-investigating-police (PIP) means officers can get off scot-free in cases where their actions should be brought to public account. Even the Queensland Parliament is complaining that the PIP system doesn’t work, and must change.
It has been reported that NSW police are accepting secret reports of sexual assault in a dangerous new type of vigilantism. Asked to comment verbally by the media, Civil Liberties Australia chose to put our concerns in writing. Here is our statement.
Police investigating police misconduct – and producing no case to answer, or a whitewash – is common throughout Australis. Paul Gregoire tells of some recent cases, and CLA provides some better ways of handling complaints against police generally.
Today’s the day! Risdon prisoner Sue Neill-Fraser’s long-awaited, long-thwarted, and long-delayed appeal is due to start on 1 March 2021, this CLArion issue’s cover date. The tortuous, uphill climb to today began on 2 August 2013 when CLA President Dr Kristine Klugman and CEO Bill Rowlings briefed then-Shadow Liberal AG Vanessa Goodwin on the need for Tasmania to ‘mirror’ the then-new law in South Australia allowing a second appeal. On 2 November 2015, the now-deceased Goodwin was true to her word: the second ‘Right to Appeal’ became Tasmanian law too. Since that date – 5 1/2 years ago – SNF has been striving for an appeal court to overturn what CLA believes is her wrongful conviction for murdering husband, Bob Chappell, on their yacht moored in Sandy Bay on the night of 26 January 2009.
Sudden, dramatic apologies by the Tasmanian Premier and Police Commissioner over investigative and management failures by Tasmanian Police since 2009 have added a possible late-breaking, new dimension to the appeal by Sue Neill-Fraser against her murder conviction, which begins in Hobart on Monday 1 March 2021. The apologies bring back to public notice a 60-page critique of alleged police failures in the SNF investigation: it was submitted to a coroner’s court in 2014, but its contents have never seen the light of day. The appeal court could be better informed if it demands to examine the dossier.
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.
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.
A couple in Canada have been fined roughly $1500 dollars each after police found a woman walking her husband on a leash in contravention of Quebec’s strict curfew rules. According to local media, the woman told police she was merely out “walking her dog,” one of the few activities allowed during the 8pm to 5am curfew.
How we turn out first responders to emergency mental health situations colours the entire way people with drug-health problems are then treated, Bill Bush says. We need to learn lessons from other countries whose systems are much more helpful to people regaining their health and place in the community.