Rule of law

Proably the most reviled people in Australia at this time must be the arsonists who contributed to this years bush fires in Victoria.

The first person accussed is now going to front court

http://www.smh.com.au/national/churchill-arson-accused-to-face-melbourne-court-20090216-88ct.html?page=-1

Now the police are obviously worried about demonstrations against this person. There are obviously other issues.

The most important one is can this person get a fair trial? Miscarriages of justice occur here as in any country. however in a trail by jury how can any victorian remain detached in this matter. Also comments have been made by the PM in particular which could be seen as prejudicial in the prosecution of any of the arsonists.

This is a very important issue as if the person is guility as charged an appeal is almost certain to occur unless he ‘feses up.

At the moment this mans name is being witheld but in such small communities you’ll probably find that many people already know who it is and the word will be out. That means that jail is not going to be  pleasant experience, again a factor that could be used by the defence.

so all in all not a good thing. If this man andthe others when they are arrested are guilty they need to be fully held accountable for their crimes. The question is will they and also will the taxpayers be footing a large bill ifand when they get out of jail to relocate them…

*EDIT* well they’ve released the name of the accused arsonist.. this is not going to be pretty.

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10 Responses to “Rule of law”

  1. Moko Says:

    I pretend to have more faith in my fellow residents. Shit happens in the media but when you’re sitting in that court listening to all the evidence she’s a different thing. It’s all very solemn and stuff is taken how it should be, usually. The worst ones to get caught on a jury with dosey dickheads who couldn’t tell their arse from elbow but STILL have to decide the fate of someone.

  2. Therbs Says:

    I’ve been on a jury and even though I may have thought the guy was guilty the defence can produce evidence which makes you think twice. We have to have faith in this system to get it right.

  3. chazfh Says:

    Moko and Therbs, I suppose having lived in the Uk during some of the worst miscarriages of justice (Birmingham 6 and the Bridgewater 4), i have little faith in the ability of juries and the police not to screw up.

    The trail has to be fair and if this guy is guilty i don’t want him getting of for having a mistrial because of some nob in Canberra or from ACA/Today tonight prejudicing the trail.

  4. Nautilus Says:

    I reckon we for high profile cases we forget the jury and just have a panel of judges. Is that how the Supreme Court works???

  5. chazfh Says:

    I agree but then whilst we ‘know’ that judges are independent are they not still prone to politcal pressure?

    It’s just a real can of worms. Also it’s the negative side of telling the prviy council to fark off. We’ve got no where else to turn to now if anyhting gets too nasty.

  6. Damian Says:

    I don’t know how it works in Victoria, but in Queensland the defense can forgo a jury trial where the possibility of getting an impartial jury is low. There’s also the possibility of moving it to a court outside the community directly effected, but that obviously isn’t possible in this case.

    After the criminal court, there’s the Victorian Supreme Court and the Australian High Court, and the latter would not require a jury, again I don’t know about the former.

    If the evidence is sufficiently concrete, there’s no reason that either of the two higher courts would even consent to hear an appeal unless something quite untoward happens in the criminal court trial, or significant new evidence becomes available.

    I don’t see that political influence would be a factor in this case, certainly not with the High Court at any rate. We got rid of appeals to old blightly partly because we want the motivation to make our highest court a bloody good one.

  7. chazfh Says:

    Damian, I think it’s the same in all the states (just not certain about the terr.’s).

    In the end Vic has very successfully prosecuted some complex cases, but this is different. I just want to make sure that if he is guilty then he gets sent away for a long time…or at least before he has an accident.

    There is alot of grief out there so the want of revenge (not justice) is going to be very high

  8. LERMONTOV Says:

    Perhaps if the defendant feels they won’t get an impartial jury they could elect to undergo trial by ordeal. Some of the ordeals could be particularly spectacular in this instance!

  9. chazfh Says:

    Hot coal walking anyone?

  10. LERMONTOV Says:

    Trial by fire sprung to mind!

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