Excellent paper on Significant Developments in the Criminal Law from NSW Criminal Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
An excellent paper on Signficant Developments in Criminal Law by the Hon Justice R A Hulme from the Law Society of NSW 2014 Annual One Day Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Seminar (Criminal Law) on 8 March 2014 is now available courtesy of the NSW CrimCLE. See http://www.supremecourt.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/agdbasev7wr/_assets/supremecourt/m670001l727304/rahulme_20140308.pdf. The 49 page document covers a wide range of issues and is extremely informative.
Ross on Crime (5th Ed Lawbook Co. 2011) and Ian Freckleton and Hugh Selby's Expert Evidence: Law, Practice, Procedure and Advocacy (5th Ed Lawbook Co. 2013) are useful on the point of experiments in criminal cases. In such matters, according to Ross on Crime, an "experiment" means establishing a known truth. More broadly it means an action to test a hypothesis or to discover something unknown. An experiment is different to a "demonstration" which is the physical replaying of a relevant event. A demonstration usually takes place in court in the presence of a jury (Ross on Crime ibid 4.1500).
Have just joined Amnesty International and hope to attend their AGM to be held in Hobart from 10.45 am to 3.00 pm on Saturday 10 May 2014 at the Tasmanian Action Centre, Level 1, 130 Macquarie Street, Hobart. See http://www.amnesty.org.au/tas/event/34281/. Members and supporters are most welcome. To RSVP please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with BAGM in the subject line.
I refer to my blog entry for yesterday. A good overview of the case which updates the reader can be found at http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/the-circus-surrounding-the-jaidyn-leskie-murder-trial-remains-etched-in-victorians-memories/story-fnat7jnn-1226611842179.
This Easter weekend, I took the opportunity to read Michael Gleeson's book The Jaidyn Leskie Murder (Harper Collins 1999). It tells the story of the murder of a 13 month toddler, Jaidyn Leskie, which occurred in the eastern Victorian country town of Moe in 1997. The body was found months after the boy's disapperance, on 14 June 1997, in the Blue Rock Dam nearby. The killer had placed the body in a sleeping bag and weighed it down with a crowbar (which, in the end, was insufficient to keep the bloating and decomposing body underwater). A post mortem showed that the boy had a broken arm and a fractured skull. He had been in the care of a babysitter, Mr Greg Domaszewicz, at his home, while the boy's Mother, Bilynda Murphy, was out partying. Co-incidentally, on the very same night that the boy disappeared from Mr Domaszewicz's house, acquaintainces of Mr Domaszewicz had smashed the front windows of his house and left a pig's head on the lawn. Mr Domaszewicz was arrested and charged but subsequently found not guilty of the murder or manslaughter of the child.
Last night I attended the forum on Suspended Sentences hosted and organised by the Law Society, Civil Liberties Australia and Community Legal Centres Tasmania. I was surprised at the level of attendance with participants including lawyers, probation officers, academics, prison administrators, senior Department of Justice personnel and politicians. The forum was also linked to other major centres through video conferencing. I was expecting about a dozen or so people around the Law Society conference table but the room was full and the media were out in force. The new Attorney-General, Dr Vanessa Goodwin (lawyer and criminologist), made it very clear that, following on from its "signature" election policy, the Government would be proceeding to abolish suspended sentences but looking at the same time to introduce other possible options, on the advice of the Sentencing Advisory Council (SAC). She advised that this would be done within existing resources.
I will definitely be attending this one. A very important conference to my current legal practice in which the examination of forensic science issues is a critical aspect of evidentiary analysis. See http://www.aomevents.com/ANZFSS2014/Registration. Also contemplating attending a few of the pre and post symposium workshops. At the 2012 symposium, for instance, I attended a two day Death Investigation workshop which has proven to be very useful in my coronial work. A great opportunity to hear from the experts at a reasonable cost.
Yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald tells the story of Jonathan Fleming who has just been released after wrongly spending 25 years in prison. See http://www.smh.com.au/world/innocent-man-jonathan-fleming-freed-after-25-years-in-jail-20140410-zqsx2.html#ixzz2yWdjWL8k. It seems that Johathan had an alibi all along however the court was never told that he was at Walt Disney World in Florida at the time. Jonathan, now 51, had lost several appeals against his conviction for the 1989 New York murder but was finally freed as a part of a wider review of unsafe prosecutions. A hotel receipt proved he was 1700 km away in Florida five hours before the killing, and police there had sent a letter to investigators confirming that hotel staff remembered him paying. Disturbingly, a key witness in the crime who placed Mr Fleming at the scene had recanted his testimony soon after his 1990 conviction.
An article in yesterday's Mercury outlined judicial criticism of a process relating to the execution of a search warrant in 2010 in Ulverstone, Tasmania, by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). See http://www.themercury.com.au/news/scales-of-justice/judge-raps-policemens-rights-abuse/story-fnj8cre7-1226879372531. Chief Justice Alan Blow held that the officers had breached the law by failing to provide the couple with a copy of the warrant. He commented that he doubted whether any significant disciplinary action would be instituted.
Great to see the Australian Lawyers Alliance (of which I am a member) supporting the establishment of a Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) in Australia. See http://www.lawyersalliance.com.au/ourwork/criminal-cases-review-commission