The Fragility Of Liberty In Australia

January 21, 2014

By PATRICK KEYZER, Professor of Constitutional Law.

Last week the Queensland Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie MP, decided not to appeal two decisions of the Queensland Court of Appeal, handed down on 6 December last year, striking down the Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Act.

The Public Interest Declarations Act, enacted on 17 October 2013, was the latest in a decade of reforms to the law governing the preventive detention of serious sex offenders.

The Act authorized the Attorney-General to “request” the Governor of Queensland “in Council” to make a “public interest declaration” that a sex offender released from detention by the Queensland Supreme Court or the Queensland Court of Appeal should be returned to prison if it was in the public interest to do so.

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The Attorney-General Learns About The Separation Of Powers

January 16, 2014

By PATRICK KEYZER, Professor of Constitutional Law.

On 18 October last year I tweeted that the Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Act was unconstitutional.

For those of you who haven’t been following this debate, or haven’t been following it closely, on 17 October 2013 the Newman Government enacted legislation that authorised the Queensland Attorney-General (at present, Jarrod Bleijie), to ask the Governor to make a “public interest declaration” that a sex offender released from detention by the Queensland Supreme Court or the Queensland Court of Appeal should be returned to prison if it was in the public interest to do so.

Just repeating that for emphasis: a politician could have the Governor (who in our tradition of responsible government must act on the advice of that politician) to send a person back to prison when they have been released by a court.

In short: this law would allow a politician to send a person to prison.

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The Man Without A Name To Get One – A Small Victory For Open Justice

December 12, 2013

By MARK PEARSON, Professor of Journalism and Social Media and member of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy.

We have won a small victory for open justice by persuading the NSW Mental Health Tribunal to allow the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to use the name of a forensic patient in a Background Briefing program on Radio National next year.

Colleague Associate Professor Tom Morton from the University of Technology Sydney and I have been conducting an applied research project about publicity of mental health proceedings – centred upon the case of a Sydney patient who wishes to be identified in reportage on his situation.

We are presenting a progress report on our study at the Journalism Education Association of Australia annual conference in Mooloolaba, Queensland today (December 4, 2013).

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Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Act Deemed Unconstitutional

October 18, 2013

By PATRICK KEYZER, Professor of Constitutional Law.

The Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Act is almost certainly unconstitutional.  The High Court has said previously that the imprisonment of a person who is judged to be dangerous can only be ordered by a court reviewing the evidence.  This unprecedented law usurps the role of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the Queensland Court of Appeal, giving the Attorney-General the judicial power to order that a person should be imprisoned.

This legislation will certainly be subjected to a constitutional challenge.

The Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Bill 2013 can be accessed here: Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Amendment Bill

 


Jury Research Paper Into Witness Credibility Available Now

August 5, 2013

Professor Ian Coyle has produced a witness credibility report for the jury research project. His report was submitted to The Criminal Lawyers Association of Australia and New Zealand.

Based on the notion that witness credibility is integral for a fair trial, the report extrapolates on juror assessment of reliability and witness behaviours to deliver recommendations for the Association. In the first research of its type into determining a juror’s assessment of witness credibility, participants completed a questionnaire on behavioural indicia of deception, before being divided into further experimental conditions.

Interestingly, the results showed support for the proposition that information provided to jurors produced either by judicial directions or by way of expert evidence can correct juror misconceptions of behaviour indicative of deception. This was unexpected and allowed for an in-depth discussion of the results.

To learn more, click the link to the full report below:

Coyle, I – Witness Credibility Report 2013

© Institute for Law, Government and Policy


DisabilityCare Australia ‘Discover’ Guide Now Available

August 1, 2013

Earlier this year, the Institute’s ‘Discover’ Guide was singled out and praised for its utility and value within the framework of the Practical Design Fund. Produced in conjunction with the Endeavour Foundation, the Guide is the primary resource for people with disability, their families and carers, and the disability sector in preparing for the transition to DisabilityCare Australia, the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Extensive information is provided in the resource, as well as Easy-Read sections to facilitate support through all stages of planning.

Copies can be downloaded through the links below, or ordered through the Endeavour Foundation: http://endeavour.com.au/Our-Endeavour-Foundation/news/Discover-guide

Discover Book

Fact Sheets Easy Read

Fact Sheets Parents

© Institute for Law, Government and Policy.


Submission In Response To The Safer Streets Crime Action Plan – Youth Justice

July 3, 2013

By JODIE O’LEARY, BRUCE WATT, SUZIE O’TOOLE and PATRICK KEYZER on behalf of the Youth Justice Research Division.

By responding to the release of the Queensland Government’s ‘Safer Streets Crime Action Plan – Youth Justice,’ our Institute is able to provide assistance for the development of a youth justice system in Australia. Spearheaded by Institute member Jodie O’Leary, submissions were written in response to the proposed action plan. These detailed improvements and review of relevant legal processes, and addressed issues of bail, sentencing and reintegration of young offenders.

An extract of the submission and a link to full submission is provided below.

……………………………………………………

The Youth Justice Research Division (‘YJRD’) thanks the Queensland Government for this opportunity to contribute in response to its ‘Safer Streets Crime Action Plan – Youth Justice’ (‘the Action Plan’). The YJRD would welcome the opportunity to provide more detailed submissions on specific proposals arising from this process. The YJRD acknowledge and applaud the Government’s proposal to provide a Blueprint to ‘further assist young people and their families to demonstrate their full potential.’ The YJRD urges the Government, in developing an innovative ‘youth justice system that leads the nation’, to:

  • take an evidence-based approach. The implementation of any legislation, program or service should be informed by evidence as to what works and what does not work in youth justice;
  • ensure that any program or service implemented by any stakeholder is comprehensively evaluated; and
  • recognise that developmental characteristics of young offenders impact on their involvement in criminal activity and the justice system (Scott & Steinberg 2008). These characteristics differentiate young offenders from adults and justify a separate system of youth justice.

To view the full submission, click this link:

YJRD Submission

©  Institute for Law, Government and Policy 2013