The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Miscarriages of justice > Comments

Miscarriages of justice : Comments

By Michael Nott, published 19/7/2005

Michael Nott argues before Australians criticise Indonesia over the Corby case there are plenty of injustices here too.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All
One accidental benefit of the Chamberlain case was the light it shone on the question of the use of forensic science in our courts. Similarly the Schapelle Corby case has allowed some diffused light to shine, however weakly, on other judicial processes. After all, would Michael Nott have written this interesting article if not for the Corby case.

There is now greater interest in the question of the burden of proof where illicit goods are found in a suspect's possession. I found it interesting that Prof Tim Lindsey and others have suggested that Schapelle may have been found guilty in Australia. Given the obvious difficulties, mostly unrelated to guilt or innocence, faced by Schapelle to 'prove' her innocence, there would seem to be a need to review our own judicial processes.

There is obviously great cynicism amongst police, lawyers and judges about people being used as unknowing mules. Hopefully the Corby case will provide some impetus to bypass that cynicism and try to find some procedures that more accurately reflect the presumption of innocence.
Posted by True_Blue, Tuesday, 19 July 2005 11:40:49 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
As much as Aussies like to malign the excessive number of American lawyers and their propensity for excessive litigation they have served a very important function in forcing the US government to be very specific in it's law making and enforcement zeal.
As an example, the US Tax Code is a document that towers over the Australian document in number of pages. However, the US tax code never mentions that:
1. you can be prosecuted for not following the spirit of the law - never mind if it is not specifically spelled out
2. you can be prosecuted for trying to overtly minimize your personal taxes - and don't even think about telling others how to do it

Through many years of successful litigation by the private sector the US Tax Code has been honed to define exactly what is taxable and what is not. The basic tenet that you should not pay any more tax then you have to is fully supported, legal tax avoidance schemes are openly advertised and sold.

The above example of forcing reluctant law makers to state exactly what they mean (rather than the normal obfuscation) has served the general public well as it reduces persecution of politically hot topics.

Australia would be well served by a repeal of the state's dictum that the sovereign can not be sued unless the sovereign allows it. This would allow private citizens appeal against an overzealous governments knee jerk reaction to the problem de jour. Faced with the potential overturning by the court system it would force government departments and politicians to fully think out (plan?) proposals or new laws that creatively tax or spend on half baked politically motivated concepts. It would also serve to force politicians (via litigation) to spend our hard earned tax dollars on the most required projects (health and infrastructure for instance)

Making our elected officials and the hectares of bureaucrats behind them more accountable to the needs and desires of the electorate through a legalized aggressive public driven advocacy program would enable progress towards a more fair judicial system.
Posted by Bruce, Wednesday, 20 July 2005 8:30:04 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy