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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, […]


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 […]


Joint Criminal Enterprise – Constructive Murder

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January 9, 2015

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Harriet Wran charged with murder  – Joint Criminal Enterprise and Extended Common Purpose The media has taken a prurient interest in the fact that Ms Wran, the daughter of one time NSW Premier Neville Wran, has been charged with a murder. Ms Wran and her co-accused went to an apartment in Redfern, for reasons that are not yet clear, an altercation ensued and Mr McNulty and Mr Fitzgerald were stabbed. Mr McNulty died as a result of his injuries and Ms Wran, along with Michael Lee and Lloyd Edward Haines, were charged with […]


The Oscar Pistorious Trial

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October 20, 2014

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The Oscar Pistorious trial started a million conversations all over the world. Whether it was domestic violence, gun control or South Africa's horrific crime rate, the trial was something that almost everyone has an opinion about. Now that it is over and we have a verdict, the interest level seems to only have increased. As a criminal defence lawyer, there were two main points of interest for me. The first is the lack of a jury. South Africa abandoned the jury system in 1969. The justifications for this change are complex, […]


What’s driving High Range PCA sentencing

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September 8, 2014

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A Sydney socialite with a previous high-powered marriage, flipped car and another three smashed vehicles, the Jodhi Meares court case has had media salivating. But does the media’s reporting of the case paint a fair picture of the legal system in regard to drink driving matters? Meares, the 43 year-old fashion designer, was charged with high range drink driving and driving while suspended following a crash in Sydney's eastern suburbs in June 2014. She crashed into three parked cars in Bellevue Hills and rolled her Range Rover, returning a blood alcohol […]


Not Guilty Verdict in State’s First Major Drug Analogue Case

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September 2, 2014

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Two weeks ago a District Court Judge found two men not guilty of all charges in New South Wales’s first major drug analogue case. The defendants were represented by Armstrong Legal. The drug analogue provisions are an interesting area of law. They were developed in an attempt to keep one step ahead of clandestine chemists. The Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act NSW contains a schedule of numerous prohibited drugs. Any substance on that list is illegal to possess, manufacture or supply. However, relying on the list alone leaves a gaping loophole. […]


Record Fines of $1.25 Million for Speeding Trucks Company

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June 11, 2014

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Last week a NSW Magistrate imposed fines of $1.25 million against trucking company Scott’s Transport. The fines were for 165 speeding and speed limiter compliance offences. The company’s director and manager were held personally responsible for the offences. The fines are a record win for the Roads and Maritime Services in their crackdown on compliance in the transport industry. The Magistrate’s decision sends several clear messages. Firstly, the authorities are taking offences involving heavy vehicles extremely seriously. For several years now the Roads and Maritime Services has been has been conducting […]


The Criminality of Sexting

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May 14, 2014

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It seems that in recent times we cannot go a few weeks without being confronted with the issue of sexting. The recently released fifth National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health puts the number of students who have sent naked or semi-naked photographs of themselves at more than half of the Year 10 – 12 students surveyed. The statistics also show that 70% have sent explicit text messages. It seems sexting is so prolific now that experts have recommended that parents treat it as a form of “modern day […]


Robert Hughes and Majority Verdicts

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April 16, 2014

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When majority verdicts were introduced in NSW in 2006, there was an outcry from some stakeholders in the legal system. Ever since we have had juries, verdicts have had to be unanimous. This was regarded by many as being a fundamental principle of the jury system, and it was unsurprising to hear angry responses to the suggestion that it should be in some way watered down. The main justification provided for the change was to prevent or at least to reduce the number of trials where the jury was not able […]

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