Tag Archives: Legal process

Courts may lose committal hearings

Courier Mail Renee Viellaris 8 October 2013

QUEENSLAND’S legal system faces its biggest reform in history after a State Government review urged the abolition of committal hearings.  A taskforce has also been set up within the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to help determine how it can get offenders to plead guilty earlier, so time and money can be saved.

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Supreme Court Justice Paul de Jersey backs state-run injecting rooms, expressing sympathy for addicts

The Courier Mail Renee Viellaris 18 September 2013

STATE-run drug injecting rooms could be what addicts need to finally kick the habit, Queensland’s top judge says.

In a frank admission, Supreme Court Justice Paul de Jersey has revealed his compassion for drug addicts and his condemnation of traffickers.

Doctors have welcomed his statements, believing drug addicts are being punished rather than treated in Queensland.

Qld Chief Justice speaks of heroin use and parole abuse

ABC News 7:30 Qld 13 September 2013

Queensland’s Chief Justice Paul de Jersey says he believes some prisoners are abusing the parole system, and voiced support for drug injecting rooms.

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Body in barrel trial aborted

Courier Mail Tony Keim 17 June 2013

A BRISBANE judge has aborted the trial of a man accused of murdering his best mate, cementing the corpse in a barrel and dumping it in a river. Brisbane Supreme Court judge Margaret Wilson on Monday dismissed the jury of trial empanelled to decide the fate the fate of Anthony Charles Oliver.   Justice Wilson said it would not be appropriate to reveal hers reasons until the conclusion of any future trial.

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Forensic sciences are ‘fraught with error’

(Elsevier 22 April 2013) A target article recently published in Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition reviews various high-profile false convictions. It provides an overview of classic psychological research on expectancy and observer effects and indicates in which ways forensic science examiners may be influenced by information such as confessions, eyewitness identification, and graphical evidence.

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Justice on slow roll for parents of Daniel Morcombe

The Courier Mail Kristin Shorten June 15, 2012

IT TOOK almost eight years to find Daniel Morcombe and it could take another three before his family get answers.
The teenager’s parents, Bruce and Denise, said they were “frustrated” the wheels of justice had turned so slowly since the arrest of Brett Peter Cowan over their son’s disappearance and murder.
“We always knew it took a long time for everything (to move through the court system) so we know we will have to wait years for any finality,” Mrs Morcombe said…
The matter is due for mention in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on August 6.

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Accused killer Gerard Baden-Clay faces years in custody before trial

The Courier Mail Alison Sandy and Jason Tin June 15, 2012

GERARD Baden-Clay faces the prospect of more than two years in custody before a trial as Queensland’s justice system buckles under the strain of mounting homicide cases and a lack of resources…
The case is one of hundreds of criminal matters before the Supreme Court, prompting Queensland Chief Justice Paul de Jersey to call on the State Government to urgently appoint a new judge to help clear the backlog.
Justice de Jersey said recent reforms to reduce delays within the legal system had minimal impact on the Supreme Court and there were 470 active criminal matters on the list with another 83 going to trial last financial year.
“If a criminal case were to become ready to proceed to trial in the Supreme Court today, the earliest available trial dates would be in the first half of next year,” he said.
“A number of factors explain that delay. Most seriously, substantially more alleged homicides are going to trial.
“Also, there have in recent years been a number of very long trials, beginning with Dr (Jayant) Patel’s trial which lasted 12 weeks.
“Another factor not infrequently raised is delay in forensic testing, which delays readiness for trial.”

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BP Wins Right to Scientists’ Oil Spill E-mails

ScienceInsider Eli Kinisch 4 June 2012

After a legal battle that they ultimately lost, scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts have handed over some 3000 internal documents to oil giant BP. The release, which involves documents and e-mails focused on estimating the size of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, occurred on 1 June as part of a massive federal government lawsuit against BP. The scientists are not party to that negligence suit, which seeks to determine how much in water pollution fines BP will pay for the spill, but they have become caught in the crossfire.

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Forensic techniques are subject to human bias, lack standards, panel found

The Washington Post Spencer S. Hsu April 18 2012

Far from infallible, expert comparisons of hair, handwriting, marks made by firearms on bullets, and patterns such as bite marks and shoe and tire prints are in some ways unscientific and subject to human bias, a National Academy of Sciences panel chartered by Congress found. Other techniques, such as in bullet-lead analysis and arson investigation, survived for decades despite poorly regulated practices and a lack of scientific method. Even fingerprint identification is partly a subjective exercise that lacks research into the role of unconscious bias or even its error rate, the panel’s 328-page report said.

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Link to access full Report

Reflections of a (re)tired DPP

Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences Ahead of Print 20 March 2012

The position of Director of Public Prosecutions is a pivotal one in criminal justice in NSW, as it is in other Australian jurisdictions. The daily prosecutorial work must be supervised and carried out across the State to the highest standards attainable. Opportunities for improvement in the criminal justice system must constantly be scouted out and promoted. And any DPP will have his or her own hobby horses to ride using criminal justice as a means of social improvement. A DPP can go to work each day, roll the arm over and go home to the family at night without more (and quite properly). He or she can add the other activities quietly, behind the scenes, or in the glare of the public spotlight. From a DPP not unaccustomed to that glare, here is an account of important changes to criminal justice in NSW over the last two decades and of things yet to be done. They may be relevant elsewhere.

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