Destroying evidence 1990 – Former High Court Chief Justice says:

Politicians’ excuse ‘erroneous’

EMINENT Australian legal authority and former Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Harry Gibbs, has said a long-defended interpretation of the law by successive Queensland governments to excuse a number of politicians and bureaucrats who shredded evidence was “erroneous” – and any resolution of the matter now lay in the hands of the Governor. The former Chief Justice’s view was expressed in a letter obtained by The Independent Monthly. It follows the revelation in the last edition of The Independent Monthly that 18 months ago the Governor sought information from the government on an apparent breach of the Rule of Law in which politicians and bureaucrats were treated differently from a citizen in similar cases.

Read the complete article from the Independent Monthly May 2005.

Don't shred a thing

BUNDABERG hospital deaths Royal Commissioner Tony Morris QC has warned anyone destroying material likely to be of interest to his inquiry could face the full force of the law – a jail term. Mr Morris said he would have no hesitation recommending the prosecution of anyone who destroyed material relevant to his inquiry. He also said he was not unaware of the connection between his warning and the outcome of an investigation he conducted in the mid-90s in which he had recommended a full inquiry be held into the destruction of evidence by a group of politicians and bureaucrats.

Read the complete article from the Independent Monthly May 2005.

Child safety Minister silent on rape in state care

EFFORTS by The Independent Monthly to obtain information from the Child Safety Minister about the rape of a girl being held in the John Oxley Youth Centre in the late 1980s have so far been unsuccessful. As reported in recent editions of the paper, former Minister Craig Sherrin told the press in 1989 that a 17-year-old girl had been raped on an outing from the centre. Over the last two months The Independent Monthly has asked current Child Safety Minister Mike Reynolds whether the girl was in fact 17, whether she was Caucasian or Aboriginal and where the rape had taken place.

Read the complete article from The Independent Monthly May 2005

Children’s Commission accepts treatment of pack rape victim

QUEENSLAND’S Children’s Commissioner has assured a Brisbane man that authorities acted appropriately when they determined it was acceptable for public officials cials to wait three days before advising police of the alleged pack rape of a child in care. The man had recently contacted the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian (CCYPCG) expressing concern about the alleged rape of a 14- year-old female resident of the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre in 1988.

Read the complete article from The Independent Monthly May 2005

The Rule of Law – reality or humbug

AUSTRALIA’S senior judges have repeatedly stressed the fundamental importance of the rule of law, and observing it, to our society. The essence of the rule of law, according to High Court Chief Justice Murray Gleeson in his Rule of Law series of addresses for the University of Melbourne, requires that all authority be “subject to, and constrained by, law”. Justice Gleeson said one of the features of the rule of law was that it applied to “the governors” as well as “the governed”. He said: “…

Read the complete article from The Independent Monthly August 2005

Police say they may ‘revisit’ the shredding case

THE POLICE service has accepted it may be necessary to “revisit” the matter of public offi cials shredding material gathered by an inquiry into a youth detention centre in 1989, documents seen by The Independent Monthly have revealed. In reply to a letter from Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg, Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) Chair Bob Needham said the Police Commisioner “has accepted that legal advice previously provided in Queensland” which claimed evidence needed for a court action could be destroyed if no such action had actually commended “... may have to be revisited”. For over a decade

Read the complete article from The Independent Monthly August 2005

Destroying evidence: what the law says was never in doubt

A FORMER Queensland Appeal Court Judge is just one of a number of prominent legal authorities who for years have rejected the claim made by the Criminal Justice Commission in 1994 (and until now subsequently maintained by successors) that evidence could be destroyed if no legal action related to that evidence was actually underway. In 2003 retired Supreme and Appeal Court Judge James Thomas QC said s129 of the Criminal Code was never open to such an interpretation. “I can’t see how it is even arguable that a legal proceeding be on foot,” Mr Thomas said. “The section itself contemplates that legal proceedings might not be on foot,” he said. Mr Thomas said

Read the complete article from The Independent Monthly August 2005


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