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The Royal Commission

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March 30, 2015

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The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has shifted into another gear over the past few weeks. The purpose of the Royal Commission was to investigate the manner in which a wide range of institutions have responded (or, more accurately, failed to respond) to child abuse. It has done so through a large number of “case studies” that were intended to provide a window into these organisations and help the community learn from the mistakes of the past. To date the Commission has looked at children’s homes, scouts, […]


Sentencing and Bail in NSW Election

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Published under Law Reform, News

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March 27, 2015

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Magistrates and judges often say to defendants in criminal cases that the points they (and sometimes their practitioners) are making are points for legislators, not judicial officers. That is because Parliament makes the laws, and the judiciary implements them: this is the bedrock of the doctrine of the separation of powers and the backbone of the rule of law in a representative democracy. With a NSW state election only days away, though, defendants (also known as citizens and voters), can make their points in the most powerful way possible – via […]


League and the Presumption of Innocence

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March 23, 2015

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What do “boat people” and rugby league stars have in common? Not much by way of physique. And nothing, usually, by way of general reverence and respect within broad sections of the community. The former often dominate the front pages, with detrimental comments about “queue jumping” and similar expressions, while the latter fill acres of newsprint at the back of the paper with their latest little training mishap, or innocuous thought on a looming match, or empty vaunting about their teammates. But, in recent days, the “boat people” and at least […]


They’re not “just traffic matters”

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March 17, 2015

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It is safe to say that the majority of the work that I see, as a criminal lawyer, are traffic offences. Traffic offences can range from infringements to drink driving or other driving charges. The perception of these matters as “just traffic offences” (and I hear this at least once a week, if not more often), cannot be sustained. Think about it: even the smallest cars weigh over 1000 kg and are capable of moving at high speeds and doing significant damage. Effectively, they are weapons. This week already I have […]


Social Supply – NRL Arrests

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March 13, 2015

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The use and supply of prohibited drugs, primarily by young people, has been a cause of concern in local media and the community in recent times. Campaigns run in print media have denounced the legal system's approach with respect to the use and supply of prohibited drugs, calling on stiffer sentencing. It has been a difficult issue to escape. In late February, seven current or former Gold Coast Titans players and Karmichael Hunt of the Queensland Reds were served with notices, by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission,to attend court. The […]


The cuts to the ALS funding

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March 9, 2015

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I am lucky, sure I worked for my luck, I took chances where I had the opportunity. I am fortunate to have some very caring friends in the legal industry, people who have far more of a social conscience than I, people who remind me how lucky I am. One friend introduced me to an organisation called International Justice Mission https://www.ijm.org and http://www.ijm.org.au. A truly remarkable organisation, a not for profit, that raises funds to place legal professionals in countries where public justice systems are broken or non-existent. They are not […]


The role of the Attorney-General in a modern administration

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March 5, 2015

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The comments of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Attorney-General George Brandis about Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs invite debate about the role of the Attorney-General in a modern administration. Is an Attorney-General expected to be a first law officer, a very public beacon of the separation of powers and above the fray of politics? Or is he or she simply a minister, a politician in government who has a partisan political role to play and whose leader commands his or her loyalty and active support? In relation to the matter […]

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