Viewing entries posted in May 2013

Human Error in Wrongful Convictions

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 31 May 2013 | 0 Comments

On 31 January 2009, Manny Fernandez of the New York Times reported on "Examining Human Error in Wrongful Convictions".

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Mother of Boy Shot by Police Goes to UN to Force Overhaul of Investigations

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 30 May 2013 | 0 Comments

Thanks Amanda for the heads up on this one. There is a report in the UK Guardian today which states that the mother of Tyler Cassidy, who was shot by Victoria Police in 2008, is taking her action to the United Nations. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/29/mother-shot-boy-un-police. Tyler was only 15 at the time of the shooting which made him the youngest person in Australia to be shot dead by police. Ms Shani Cassidy has filed a  landmark action with the UN designed to overhaul Australia's procedure of investigating police actions in such matters.

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Victoria Considering the new Right to Appeal Legislation

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 30 May 2013 | 0 Comments

An article in The Age on 28 May 2013 indicates that Victoria is closely monitoring the new statutory right of appeal recently commenced in SA.  See http://www.theage.com.au/national/murder-law-reform-considered-20130527-2n7ie.html. It is thought that the Victorian Attorney-General may wait to see how many applications for appeal are made before considering the legislation. It is thought that the first two applications in SA will be from Henry Keogh and Edward Splatt (who has been pardoned  but whose actual conviction unfortunately still stands). The article also quotes from an opinion piece written by Justice Michael Kirby in the Australian Financial Review earlier this month where he stated that this innovative law should be welcomed by all. His comments included:

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The Role of the Expert Witness - Ethical Dimensions

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 28 May 2013 | 0 Comments

Currently looking at the ethical obligations of expert witnesses, particularly in the criminal law environment. I actually gave a presentation to the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) International Symposium in Hobart in September 2012 entitled "Just How Ethical Are You?". I took the opportunity to remind relevant delegates that they had signed up to the ANZFSS Code of Ethics when they became members of the ANZFSS. It was disappointing, when challenged, to see the level of knowledge in the room about the actual contents of the Code. The powerpoint presentation can be found on the Presentations page of this website. For a copy of the ANZFSS Code of Ethics, see http://anzfss.org.au/code-of-ethics/. The Code covers such issues as: Scientific Method; Reporting; Pre-Trial Conduct; Conduct in Court; and General Matters. The aim of my September 2012 presentation was to highlight the importance of ethics and integrity for those working in the forensic science area. I also wanted to make some suggestions on how the current situation might be improved.

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Coronial Observation

Posted by Barbara Etter on 27 May 2013 | 0 Comments

Today I am going to observe the start of a 5 day Coronial into the drowning death of an elderly woman, Ms Higgins, here in Hobart. The Coroner inquiring into the matter is Mr Glenn Hay. I understand that Mr Stuart Tipple, of Chamberlain fame, is representing the family of Ms Higgins. I met Stuart very briefly at a lunch at the International INJustice conference held in Perth in March 2012. I have the utmost admiration for what Stuart did in achieving justice for Lindy and Michael Chamberlain. I particularly admire his determination and persistence against considerable odds. Looking forward to seeing this great man in action.

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Cops' Bid to Stall Video Release

Posted by Barbara Etter on 24 May 2013 | 0 Comments

The Australian today, 24 May 2013, also reports thatVictoria Police are trying to prevent the publication of a video that shows a man crawling out of a cell and collapsing outside a police station after officers allegedly ignored his cries for help. Chinese national Gong Ling Tang, 53, died in hospital from a gastro-intestinal haemorrhage in May 2010, hours after being released from custody at the Dandenong police station in Melbourne's southeast. Victorian Deputy State Coroner Iain West will conduct an inquest into his death in November.

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Delay in Coronial Hearing in Melbourne re Fatal Wall Collapse

Posted by Barbara Etter on 24 May 2013 | 0 Comments

As you would imagine, members of the public would be keen to knowwhat led to the fatal wall collapse in Melbourne that killed several people, including a brother and a sister, in Swanston Street on 28 March 2013. Unfortunately, The Australian reports today, 24 May 2013, that the coronial inquest into the deaths may be delayed for years. A Victorian Coroner's Court preliminary hearing on the collapse at the Grocon building site has been told the possibility of criminal or civil prosecution is still being explored by WorkSafe, the City of Melbourne, the Building Commission and Victoria Police. Judge Ian Gray said he was aware that a prosecution could delay the coronial inquest for two years or more, which could frustrate the grieving families. The next hearing was adjourned for a date to be fixed.

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My Stars Today - 24 May 2013

Posted by Barbara Etter on 24 May 2013 | 0 Comments

I was heartened to read my stars today for Sagittarians in the Tasmanian The Mercury:

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The Importance of Networking

Posted by Barbara Etter on 24 May 2013 | 0 Comments

Last night I attended the annual cocktail party of the Women Chiefs of Enterprises International (WCEI) of which I am a member. The event held on the waterfront at Blue Skies was well attended by businesswomen, politicians, academics and community members. Our guest speaker was Dr Alison Alexander, one of Tasmania's best-known historians and author of the recently published "The Ambitions of Jane Franklin - Victorian Lady Adventurer".

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Another Yacht, No Body Case - Some Interesting Parallels

Posted by Barbara Etter on 23 May 2013 | 1 Comments

There is an interesting case in NZ involving the conviction of Scott Watson for the murder of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope on his boat Blade on 1 January 1998. The bodies of Smart and Hope have never been found. Watson is currently serving a life sentence with a non-parole period of 17 years and is expected to be released on 8 July 2016. The NZ Court of Appeal rejected his appeal and the Privy Council found no grounds for further appeal. Watson is reportedly applying for a royal pardon.

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