Viewing entries posted in July 2012
My opening keynote presentation to the National Women Firefighters Conference in Adelaide appeared to be very well received. They were a great group of women (with a couple of men also in attendance) with lots of interesting and relevant comments and questions following the presentation. A pdf copy of my powerpoint is attached for those who might be interested. The topic was "Achieving Success: Courage and Confidence Under Fire". A key point of the presentation was understanding what success actually means to you as an individual, as an important first step. see paper here
I am now able to practise as a lawyer here in Tasmania! Will be able to fully utilise my LLB (Hons) and LLM. Please visit my website in About and Services to see what areas of law I will be practising in. The main areas will be criminal law and integrity/justice matters, including post-conviction reviews. Currently in Adelaide presenting at a national conference as the opening keynote speaker. My presentation will be posted as soon as I return on my Presentations page.
Megan Kalajzich was shot twice in the head as she slept beside her husband at their Fairlight house in Sydney (near Manly) around 1 am on 27 January 1986. Her husband, Andrew, convicted of hiring a hit man to murder her, was released from prison in February of this year and, somewhat surprisingly, continues to protest his innocence. Andrew was a high profile, millionaire hotelier and businessman who developed The Manly Pacific Hotel on Manly Beach - an icon in its day. There was an interesting story on Sunday Night last night. It would seem from a quick review of items on the web that the evidence against Andrew is damning, particularly given that an independent inquiry carried out by a retired Judge was conducted back in the early 1990's. However, from the show last night, the information about the discovery of the silencer in the garden, some significant time after the event, conveniently in front of a media cameraman, if correct, appears worthy of further investigation. (One also has to remember that some Manly detectives were the subject of a major operation, Operation Florida, by the NSW Police Integrity Commission in around 2000/01, which saw some individuals go to prison see link, including for activities in the 1990's).
Great article entitled "Integrity Deserves Much More than Lip Service" on page 19 of this weekend's The Weekend Australian by Steve Harris. See http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/integrity-deserves-much-more-than-lip-service/story-e6frg6ux-1226431098552. (Note, the print version is more detailed than the on-line version). Harris analyses and reflects on what is meant by the word "Integrity". He states that "integrity" is a slightly old-fashioned word that has come roaring back into vogue as the lingua franca, measure of debate and verbal weapon of choice to extol or excoriate the quality of people and organisations in all fields of human endeavour. He claims that we are "drowning in the frequency" with which the word is invoked by leaders and commentators. He points out that despite the prevalence of the word, community confidence in the integrity of our foundations of government, business, media, church, unions, science and academe is at low or sub-optimal levels, and perhaps for the first time, all at the same time. He states that these days, integrity or complete honesty is sacrificed in favour of "spin, obfuscation and manipulation". He argues for an "axis of integrity" in strategies, people and processes and refers to the concept of "ROI" - Return on Integrity. It seems that many of us are on a non-stop merry-go-round:
Back in March, I made two confidential submissions to the SA Legislative Review Committee which was examining a Bill for a Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) for SA and a possible model for a national CCRC. A CCRC, like the model in the UK, would provide an avenue of last resort for those persons wrongly convicted who had exhausted all possible avenues such as appeals and a petition for mercy. (See previous entries on my blog for 16 and 28 March 2012). The Legislative Review Committee released its final report on Wednesday 18 July 2012. An excellent summary of the report's findings and a copy of the actual report can be found on the Networked Knowledge website at http://netk.net.au/. The Committee has recommended the establishment of new criminal appeal rights and new mechanisms to review flawed forensic evidence in criminal cases. The Committee, however, did not recommend the establishment of a CCRC in SA. The report was critical of the current petition for mercy procedure and said that it was rarely used and lacked timeframes, structure and transparency. The Committee recommended that current appeal provisions be extended to include a further statutory right of appeal by a convicted person at any time (with the leave of the court) on the basis of a tainted conviction, or where there is fresh or compelling evidence which may cast reasonable doubt on a person's guilt. The Committee further recommended that a provision should also include the right of the court to order a new trial where appropriate. It said that the new right of appeal should only apply to serious offences with penalties of 15 years or more imprisonment. The Committee also recommended the establishment of a Forensic Science Review Panel, which would meet regularly and as required. The Forensic Review Panel would be able to refer a case to the Court of Appeal for review of a conviction upon the receipt and consideration of forensic test results. The Panel would have powers of investigation, including the power to obtain documents and samples from police and the courts, and the power to call its own experts. The Panel would then prepare a report and where appropriate refer the new material directly to the Court of Appeal. The Committee would also have power to make reports and recommendations to the Attorney-General regarding changes to legislation, policies and strategies as a result of their findings.
Please note that my formal paper for this forum, which I presented on Friday 13 July at UTAS, is available from the Presentations page on this website.
I was supposed to fly to Sydney on Tuesday morning. We were just about to board our Jet Star flight here in Hobart when we were told that the flight had been cancelled due to "an engineering problem". Whilst I am very pleased that the fault was found while I was still on the ground, what followed was nothing short of a "schmozzle" (a minor altercation between players - a quarrel that doesn't escalate into serious physical violence - according to the web!). On hearing the bad news, I raced to the Qantas Club thinking, as a Qantas Club member, I might get some priority in being re-scheduled. But alas, No! The Qantas Club quickly informed me that the issue was a Jet Star one and was totally beyond their control (even though they own the company!!). Because I had clearly wasted time at the Qantas Club, I then found myself at the end of a very long queue at the Jet Star Service Desk, where I was able to observe the debacle that followed. It appeared to me that there was no protocol or Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for dealing with such a situation, even though it must occur quite frequently. Customers were simply left to fend for themselves and there was a decided lack of information! There was no prioritisation or triage to speak of. For example, you think that they might have identified those people who had tight international connections. Or perhaps they could have inquired if anyone was attending an urgent event like a funeral, wedding etc. No, the way that you were treated, and your ability to get on another plane in a reasonable timeframe, was simply determined by your position in the queue. No-one from Jet Star was walking up and down the very long line assisting people with their queries (until very late in the piece). Lots of people resorted to ringing Jet Star whilst standing in the queue to get service. I had been in the line for over an hour and decided to give up. With limited flights and seats getting out of Hobart, I clearly was not getting on any flight leaving soon!
I will be speaking to a Soroptimist International of Hobart meeting at the Grand Chancellor Hotel on the evening of Tuesday 7 August 2012 on the issue of women in leadership. I was a member of Soroptimists when I lived in Perth and the group, which consists of professional and businesswomen, does incredible work for both women and young girls around the globe. Soroptimist International is committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide. The organisation's very worthy values are:
The US Justice Department and the FBI have launched a review of thousands of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted or deserve a new trial because of flawed forensic evidence. See http://netk.net.au/Forensic/Forensic101.asp. The review comes after The Washington Post reported in April that Justice Department officials had known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people but had not performed a review of the cases. It appears that hair and fibre examinations are the cause for concern. The Washington Post also reported in April that hair and fibre analysis was subjective and lacked grounding in solid research and that the FBI lab lacked protocols to ensure that agent testimony was scientifically accurate.
Just finished reading The Child Who Never Was: Looking for Tegan Lane by Allison Langdon (Park Street Press 2007). It is the intriguing story of Keli Lane and the investigation and Coronial Inquest into the mystery disappearance and possible death or murder of Tegan Lee Lane, the daughter born to Keli Lane on 12 September 1996 at Sydney's Auburn Hospital. The birth was a tightly kept secret - even Keli's family and then boyfriend had been unaware that she was pregnant. The story covers Keli's life growing up near Manly, on Sydney's Northern Beaches, the daughter of a respected police officer previously stationed at Manly. I too grew up near Manly and my father was also a police officer stationed at Manly. I also played water polo for a short time for Sydney University - a very rough and fast game!. But I am somewhat older than Keli. At least I could understand the general environment in which she moved and lived, however my experiences were all positive and I didn't find the context in which I grew up at all problematic. I am now hoping to read the other, more recent, true crime story on Keli written by Rachael Chin entitled Nice Girl (Simon & Schuster 2011). There are some interesting aspects to the case and it is mind boggling to think that Keli was able to keep not only Tegan, but two other newborn children, a secret from her family and friends. It seems that she confided in no-one. We can only hope that somewhere out there that there is a 15 year old girl who one day may start asking questions about her real parents. I understand that Keli, who is currently in prison for the murder of Tegan, is appealing her conviction. This is certainly an interesting and highly circumstantial case, given that there is no body, no weapon, no cause of death, no time of death, no admissions or confessions or no forensic evidence linking Keli to foul play. But Keli certainly wove a complex and effective web of lies to conceal whatever did happen to Tegan. And who is, and where is, the father????