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Christmas and Family Violence Cases

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December 23, 2015

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The Christmas period is a wonderful chance to catch up with family and friends. It is also a time when conflict can arise in these relationships. Warm temperatures and alcohol do not help. Unfortunately, this can lead to Police involvement and every year we predictably see a January jump in the number of people needing advice and representation. It is a sad reality, but reality nonetheless. Many of these people have either been charged with or asked by police to be interviewed in relation to assault and similar offences, including threatening […]


The Oscar Pistorius Trial – Guilty of Murder

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December 18, 2015

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No Prosecution in living memory has captured the attention of the South African media in the way the Prosecution of Oscar Pistorius did. The defendant was a famous athlete, and the prospect of him being thrown in gaol on the charge of murder was as tantalizing as it was gripping. The trial was the first occasion that a trial in South Africa had been broadcast live on television, the media even going so far as to set up a dedicated channel for the period of the to broadcast the trial. At […]


NSW Commissioner of Police v Folkes – Citizen’s Rights

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December 15, 2015

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On 10 December 2015 the Supreme Court of NSW heard an Application by the NSW Commissioner of Police who sought an Order prohibiting the holding of a public assembly arranged by the Party for Freedom.  Nicholas Folkes, the Chairman of the Party for Freedom, signed a Notice of Intention to hold a public assembly on 6 November 2015.  Mr Folkes intended to hold a memorial rally for the Cronulla Riots which took place on 11 December 2005. The Summary Offences Act 1988 provides that if a public assembly is authorised by […]


Intent, Proof and Gerard Baden-Clay

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December 11, 2015

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The Queensland press is in a frenzy following the Court of Appeal’s decision to set aside Gerard Baden-Clay’s conviction for the murder of his wife Alison, and to substitute it for a conviction of the lesser offence of manslaughter. As is unfortunately typical of news outlets in this state where decisions of the Courts are concerned, an understanding of the law and a more than superficial recognition of the reasons for the decision is sorely lacking in the coverage.  The lack of accurate reporting has led to an understandable sense of […]


District Court Backlogs

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December 8, 2015

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Over the weekend (6/7 Dec 2015) there was press about the Attorney General, Ms Upton, providing $20 million to fund acting District Court judges and other facilities to clear the largest backlog since 2007. It now takes an average of 369 days, or so the press reports, to conclude a matter in the District Court. On the surface the announcement sounds like good news but as ever, scratch the details and the news is not as good as it can be. The District Court, as important as it is and there […]


Lessons from Stereosonic 2015

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December 2, 2015

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Media reports indicate that 69 people were charged with drug related offences at the event. This, combined with tragic death of a 25 year old woman and admission to hospital of 9 others has put illicit drug use at large dance parties back on the front page. What drug am I buying and is it safe? The short answer is “you never know” and “no”. It is important to realise that very often people are being given drugs that are quite different to what they thought they had purchased, making a […]


Hate Speech

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December 1, 2015

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When is hate speech a crime? Should it be? Political debate has swirled around for years about how, or if at all, the government should punish people who vilify minorities. Andrew Bolt was prosecuted in the Federal Court of Australia for suggesting that some Aboriginal people weren’t really aboriginal, or at least were not aboriginal enough. But this was not a criminal prosecution – he was pursued through the Federal Court, and the worst penalty he could have received was a fine. There are criminal laws that focus on the use […]

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