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Consorting Laws NSW

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December 24, 2014

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New South Wales' anti-consorting laws have been upheld in a High Court decision handed down in October 2014. The NSW laws, enacted into the Crimes Act in 2012, make it a criminal offence to ''habitually'' consort with convicted offenders. A person can be charged with consorting if they associate (either in person or by electronic or other forms of communication) with at least two convicted offenders, on two occasions. The offence carries a maximum penalty of three years in gaol and/or a $15,000 fine. Previously, consorting was a summary offence and […]


NSW Interlock Changes

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December 18, 2014

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More NSW drink-drivers are set to return to the road somewhat earlier – but only with the mandatory imposition of alcohol-ignition-interlock devices under a significant restructure approved by state Parliament. Both houses of parliament passed the Bill with bipartisan support in mid-2013 and the new scheme is to begin on February 1, less than two months before the next state election. Under the shake-up, a high-range (0.150 or more) drink-driving offence and repeat drink-driving offences at all levels will become “mandatory interlock offences”, meaning drivers will have to have an alcohol-ignition […]


Cameras in the Court Room

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December 11, 2014

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Australia has, until very recently, been profoundly sceptical of allowing the media to record proceedings in the courtroom. Whilst we are very fond of open justice and ensuring that the public and print media are able to view court proceedings, we have been equally averse to allowing video or still cameras into a courtroom, to the point where it is still a very serious criminal offence to use such devices without permission. There are good reasons for this reticence. It remains illegal to publicise the identity of jurors, and so it […]


Education the Answer to Domestic Violence

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December 5, 2014

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It seems that deaths arising from an abusive relationship or domestic violence in Australia are increasing at an alarming rate. Recently, the deaths of Kate Malonyay, Warriena Wright, Lisa Harnum and Luke Batty have brought to attention the prevalence of domestic violence in our community. Indeed, Beyond Blue has labelled the current situation as an “epidemic” of violence. Domestic and family violence can take many forms. It involves violent, abusive or intimidating behaviour carried out by a partner, carer or family member to control, dominate or instil fear. This abuse can […]


Sniffer dogs barking up the wrong tree 64% of the time

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December 1, 2014

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The NSW Greens launched the ‘SniffOff’ campaign in November 2014 after concern that Police use of sniffer dogs was not only ineffective but also constituted harassment and breached personal rights. Data obtained from the campaign reports that the dogs give false positives 64% of the time and that only 2.44% of searches result in a conviction. There has been significant media coverage of the findings with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting that ‘tens of thousands of NSW residents are being subjected to public police searches after being falsely identified as carrying […]

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