In the last few days, I had a request from the Victoria Police library for a paper that I had given on moral courage to UTAS graduands whilst the CEO of the Integrity Commission here in Tasmania.
Article by Charles Wooley in Tas Weekend Magazine 21-22 February 2015 - mention of Sue Neill-Fraser case
Respected 60 Minutes journalist, Mr Charles Wooley, who is based here in Tasmania, is now writing a weekly column in the Tas Weekend Magazine in The Mercury. This week's article, located at the very back of the magazine, may have appeared to have been a gardening article with its picture of a bee emerging from a pretty mauve flower. Boy, were readers in for a surprise!
This morning I attended the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies (TILES) 2nd Annual Forensic Studies Forum at the University of Tasmania, at its Hobart campus. The forum was opened by Mr Alastair Ross, the Director of the National Institute of Forensic Science (which is based in Melbourne). There were a range of speakers including Alison Williams, the CSI Team Leader from Avon and Somerset Constabulary in the UK. Alison spoke on the role of scientific personnel in the investigation of burglary. Other presenters were Mr Peter Woodman from the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department, Senior Sergeant 1C Cheryl Brown from SA Police and Ms Loene Howes from UTAS. The session was chaired by Dr Roberta Julian.
An article in today's The Australian at page 7 outlines how the NSW Police Commissioner is calling for a "gold standard" "cops watchdog". The NSW Government is under pressure to sort out the overlapping web of watchdog and oversight agencies. Mr Scipione is suggesting the introduction of a British style independent police complaints authority. He wants a single body oversighting complaints against police. A current inquiry into the actions of senior police officers has highlighted the confusion.
Last year South Australia introduced further right to appeal provisions in relation to criminal matters which require "fresh and compelling evidence" (which is defined specifically in the legislation). It would seem that this threshold may be too robust and may prevent persons who have been wrongfully convicted accessing a further appeal. This is particularly the case where the broader common law interpretation of "fresh" evidence does not apply in determining whether the matter meets the necessary threshold. (Note, "fresh" evidence is evidence not available to the accused at the time of the trial, actually or constructively. Evidence is constructively available if it could have been discovered or available at the trial by the exercise of due diligence).
The potential influence of "people power" (a term used by Stuart Tipple, Lindy Chamberlain's lawyer) was clearly demonstrated this month with the reopening of the appeal into the murder conviction of Adnan Syed. See http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-adnan-syed-appeal-granted-20150207-story.html. "Serial", a multi-episode podcast brought international attention to the case after its producers spent a year and a half reinvestigating the homicide of Syed's High School classmate and ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, on 13 January 1999. Millions of people downloaded the 12 episode podcast produced by Sarah Koenig. A legal fund that she set up just recently has already raised $US82,000 from donations from podcast fans.
Attached is my abstract which has been accepted for presentation at the upcoming Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory (CLANT) conference in Bali in June 2015. Eve Ash, who produced the award winning documentary Shadow of Doubt on the Sue Neill-Fraser case, will be giving a presentation as well in the same session.
Sadly, today marks 2,000 days in gaol for Sue Neill-Fraser after she was found guilty of the 2009 murder of her long-time partner, Mr Bob Chappell. The murder occurred on Australia Day 2009 on board the Four Winds yacht moored off Battery Point/Sandy Bay.
For the latest in relation to the SA case of Henry Keogh see http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-02/henry-keogh-maintains-his-innocence-dpp-deliberates/6062040. It seems that the DPP is still deliberating about whether there should be a trial and the matter is now listed for a directions hearing on 20 March 2015.
High Court comments on "practical unfairness", impropriety by the Crown and others and the meaning of "Miscarriage of Justice"
Just finished reading Lee v The Queen; Lee v The Queen  HCA 20 (21 May 2014). I found it to be a very interesting decision. The case concerned the publication of certain evidence given to the NSW Crime Commission (and protected by legislation) to members of the NSW Police and to officers of the DPP. The appellants submitted that their trial on various drug and firearms offences miscarried as a result of the DPP’s possession and possible use of that evidence.