Viewing entries posted in March 2013
I am finding myself increasingly involved in coronial issues as a practising lawyer. Interestingly, I have had a longstanding interest in such matters even before I joined policing back in the early 80's. In fact, it was my love of forensic science, following the completion of my Pharmacy degree at Sydney University and my work as a pharmacist, that attracted me to policing and the subsequent study of law. I also worked in Coronial Investigation with the NSW Police in the 1980's investigating suspicious and unusual deaths (other than homicides) on behalf of the Coroner. It was one of the most interesting areas of policing that I have ever worked in and is a passion that I have continued to pursue over my policing career and beyond. For example, I recently completed a 2 day workshop on Death Investigation and Forensic Pathology as part of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society conference in Hobart in September 2012. I also attended the national Coroners' Conference in Sydney in November 2012.
Today's The Australian, at page 2, advises that the first sitting of the above Royal Commission is to be held at 10.00 am on Wednesday 3 April 2013 at the County Court of Victoria, 250 William Street, Melbourne. All Commissioners will be present and the Chair, Justice McClellan AM, will provide information on the work of the Royal Commission including the future conduct of public and private hearings. Senior Counsel assisting will also deliver an opening statement. The sitting will be streamed live to the public via webcast on the Commission's website at www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au
Very interesting article in today's Sydney Morning Herald on Jurors and a report by the NSW Law Reform Commission which is due to be released next Tuesday. See http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/jurors-need-more-direction--report-20130325-2gq7q.html. I have written several blogs in recent weeks on juries and jurors.
Currently reading Innocence Regained: The Fight to Free Lindy Chamberlain by Norman H. Young (Federation Press 1989). It promises to be a fascinating read as it tells the Lindy Chamberlain story as it "recounts how the determined efforts of a minority overthrew the immutable verdicts of the country's most venerated institutions" (p.v). The cover of the book is a Pro Hart painting "The Judgement". Pro Hart was a strong supporter of pursuing justice in the case. In a preamble to the book he states that, in the painting, the Judge is painted blindfolded because he was "blinded to the real facts". Further, the jury are shown with masks and dark glasses "because they did not see or were not told the true details and were kept in the dark" (p.vii).
Attended a very good course on Advocacy in Sydney on Friday night and all day Saturday run by the Australian Advocacy Institute. Advocacy is all about the power or art of persuasion. There were top quality presenters and instructors at the course, including current and former Judges and magistrates, who provided coaching and constructive feedback on how we could approve our approach to argument, opening and closing addresses, evidence in chief, cross-examination and re-examination, in mock trial situations. We also learnt about the development of case theory (or the path to be followed to get the desired outcome) and the order in which we should prepare the various components of a case. Interestingly, the opening address should be left to the very last!
Today I am attending another mandatory CPD unit for lawyers on Ethics. The session will deal with retainers and liens which will deal with important issues relating to engagement, acting for joint clients, disengagement etc. The session will be presented by Michael Dolan, the Acting Manager of the Law Institute of Victoria Ethics Department. (Pleasing indeed to see that the Law Society equivalent in Victoria has an actual ethics department!)
Today I am attending a Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) seminar at the Law Society on "Using Social Media to Build Reputation" by Becher Townshend from Font Public Relations. The blurb for the session states that:
If you would like to watch the 60 Mins story again on the Sue Neill-Fraser case, go to the 60 Mins Facebook Page under Justice Overboard - Extra Minutes at http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article/8626931/justice-overboard. This segment also has details of how you can access extra information, including on Eve Ash's website for her documentary "Shadow of Doubt", which is coming soon! This morning I have commented on the Facebook page in relation to a query concerning what happened in the High Court "appeal".
The final results of the 60 Minutes poll on whether Sue Neill-Fraser should have been convicted or not are in. 79% to 21%. See Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/60Minutes9
Last night, after the conclusion of the story, 60 Minutes ran a poll asking the question "Should Sue Neill-Fraser have been convicted?". The outcome was that 74% of the viewers answered "No", that she should not have been convicted. Checking this morning, at around 7.55 am on 18 March 2013, there have been 1,423 votes cast with 79% now of the view that Sue should not have been convicted. This is despite the very balanced report which raised negative issues and aired police views on the case. There has also been 452 comments on the 60 Minutes Facebook page, which would seem like a huge response.