Katrina Williams’ letter (Letters, February 1) is strong on emotion but short on fact. She says she doesn’t know whether the judge or the law society is more wrong for the acquittal of James Cook, and she refers to the ACT’s "out of touch judges" and the breakdown of law and order in the ACT.
The simple fact is that Mr Cook was acquitted because he was found to have acted in self-defence.
This means he’s not guilty. The legal requirements of self defence are the same in the ACT as in other jurisdictions.
Mr Cook did not "get off" on a technicality, because the law is clear that if one overacts to a threat, then self-defence does not apply.
Clearly that was not the case here.
What would Ms Williams have the court do? Send Mr Cook to prison when the facts of the case suggested he acted in self-defence?
Her claim that we need harsher sentencing ignores the solid evidence showing those jurisdictions with harsher penalties have higher crime and recidivism rates.
Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory have the toughest sentencing laws, and yet they have the highest crime and recidivism rates, proving the "tough" option by itself is rarely the best. ACT laws pursue a balanced approach between punishment and rehabilitation, and we are one of the safest cities in the country. I for one am glad that the Supreme Court bases its judgments on reason as opposed to emotion.
Anthony Williamson, Director, Civil Liberties Australia (ACT)