Viewing entries posted in October 2013
A question that came up at the forum in Melbourne on Monday night, 28 October 2013, was why was it that Sue Neill-Fraser received 26 years imprisonment. I thought it would be useful to go over the sentencing comments and the appeal judgement which saw the sentence reduced to 23 years in order to properly understand the reasons for this.
Great national coverage of Chester Porter QC's concern about the Sue Neill-Fraser case here in Tasmania - http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2013/10/30/17/37/chamberlain-qc-quizzes-neill-fraser-guilt. It will be interesting to see what Chester has to say about the case when he speaks next Tuesday night at the screening of Shadow of Doubt at the Palace Chauvel in Sydney.
The next Coroners Conference with the theme of "Asking the Right Questions" will be held at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne from 11-15 November 2014. The conference will be hosted by State Coroner, the Hon. Ian Gray. The conference will seek to examine the many pathways to fact, reality, accuracy and precision in the world of a modern day Coroner. You are invited by the organisers to visit the website to express your interest or to suggest a program topic. See www.dcconferences.com.au/apcsc2014. I am intending to suggest something on Coroners and their role in addressing possible miscarriages of justice.
Just back from Melbourne after the showing of Shadow of Doubt (the Eve Ash documentary about the Sue Neill-Fraser murder conviction) last night to a great audience which included Telstra Business Women Alumni, lawyers, police officers, forensic scientists, psychologists and concerned citizens. We also managed to get some great media which appeared in The Age yesterday and The Sydney Morning Herald. See http://www.smh.com.au/national/film-pair-seek-shakeup-on-boat-murder-verdict-20131027-2w9q0.html. There were lots of questions and comments after the screening, in fact people didn't want to leave! Thank you so much to Telstra for supporting this important event.
I am very honoured to have had my membership of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences Inc. recently confirmed. In late August 2013, I attended the two day expert evidence workshop that the Academy organised in Sydney. I look forward to making a real contribution to this important group and in assisting to build bridges and enhance communication between the legal and forensic communities. Founded in 1967 by the late Oscar Schmalzback the Academy is unique in bringing together persons of professional standing from the legal, medical and scientific professions whom have contributed to the advancement or practice of forensic science. Membership is by invitation. The Academy currently holds four meetings a year in Sydney and meetings are also held in Melbourne and Canberra. The Academy also promotes research and publishes the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences. Its current President is Professor James Robertson AM PSM BSc PhD FAIM.
Just back from the Coroners Conference in Darwin and heading off shortly to Melbourne. We have the Telstra Business Women's Awards Alumni event on Monday night 28 October 2013 from 5.30 to 7.30 pm at the Theatrette, Telstra Conference Centre, 242 Exhibition Street, Melbourne. Telstra are supporting this very important event as Eve Ash and I are both previous Telstra Business Women winners. We have a significant number of people attending, both men and women. There will also be police, lawyers and media present on the night. This is a great opportunity to inform the broader Australian community about the Sue Neill-Fraser case here in Tasmania and garner broad support for an independent review of the case and a referral back to the courts.
Thanks to Andrew Urban in Sydney for drawing this one to my attention. A high profile murder case involving one of America's most well-known political families (the Kennedy's) took a dramatic turn this week when a judge ordered a new trial for Michael Skakel, the nephew of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. See http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/23/justice/michael-skakel-retrial/index.html. The judge held that the defense attorney during his 2002 trial had been inadequate or "constitutionally deficient". The judge held that the defence of a serious felony prosecution required "attention to detail, an energetic investigation and a coherent plan of defense (capably) executed". The judge also commented that a defendant's constitutional right to adequate representation could not be overshadowed by the inconvenience and financial and emotional cost of a new trial.
Currently attending the annual Asia Pacific Coroners Society conference in sunny, hot and humid Darwin. The conference has attracted around 80 delegates from all over Australia and New Zealand. The delegates are made up of lawyers, Coroners, police officers, forensic pathologists, counsellors etc. There have been some very high quality papers from a range of presenters. There was a presentation yesterday morning by Dr Peggy Dwyer, counsel assisting in the inquest into the police death in custody of Kumanjayi Briscoe in the Alice Springs watch house in January 2012. The NT Police Commissioner, John McRoberts APM (a fellow Assistant Commissioner colleague from WA), gave a very comprehensive presentation on the range of steps that have been taken since this tragic death to prevent future deaths in custody. Dr Ian Freckelton SC gave a very insightful paper on the increasing importance of human rights issues to Coroners. He suggested a range of emerging arguments that would assist in submissions to Coroners on a wide variety of issues.
Special Guest Chester Porter QC to speak on Miscarriage of Justice Issues at Sydney Screening of Shadow of Doubt on 5 November 2013
I am very pleased and honoured to announce that Chester Porter QC has agreed to be our special guest speaker at the Sydney screening of Shadow of Doubt in Sydney on 5 November 2013 at the Palace Chauvel cinema in Paddington. See http://www.palacecinemas.com.au/events/shadowofdoubtqa/
Another very interesting case involving blood evidence, as well as possible non-disclosure and "tunnel vision". Thanks to Civil Liberties Australia for drawing this article from the UK The Guardian to my attention (Eric Allison Sunday 13 October 2013 - http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/13/forensic-evidence-convicted-murder-susan-may).