Police have higher duty to be accurate

When police officers speak in public about matters of murder law and sentencing, they clearly have a higher responsibility than ordinary citizens to get their evidentiary facts right. CLA expects senior police officers to accurately report matters such as numbers of stab wounds in a particular case.

Foolish on Murder Law

The Canberra Times reports in ”Police argue ACT murder law too lenient” (July 23, p1) that in formal evidence to the ACT Assembly committee into changing the murder law police Commander Kevin Zuccato stated that Nanette ”Sandy” Porritt had been stabbed 57 times and then drew some conclusions about the incident.

As Chief Justice Terence Higgins stated in his judgment, ”The autopsy evidence has been substantially misquoted. In truth, the report revealed 57 incised wounds, only a few of them being stab wounds.”

Zuccato joins the irresponsible, ongoing parade of those who misquote evidence in support of an emotive and political point they seek to make; I expect better from a senior police officer.

Civil Liberties Australia is not an apologist for the actions of Glen Porritt, but changing such a basic law as murder on the basis of the sentencing in one case is inappropriate and foolish law-making.

Lance Williamson,
Director, Civil Liberties Australia

Letter to the Editor Canberra Times 25 Jul 09 – click here

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