Penfold and Refshauge – Absurdism takes over the courtroom

Skidbladnir 19 June 2010 9

According to Wikipedia:
Absurdism is a philosophy stating that the efforts of humans to find inherent meaning in the universe will ultimately fail (and hence are absurd), because no such meaning exists, at least in relation to an individual.

And in dealing with that theme, the ACT Supreme Court has published Rebecca Massey’s Third Bail Judgement online, leaving us mere mortals to ponder the ongoing absurdist performance art that is the ACT Justice System, as seen through the lens of Elizabeth Booshand’s 2008 death by stabbing.
It has been almost two years since Rebecca Massey was arrested for the crime, and it is expected to be even longer before a final date is set for her trial.

Recently Rebecca Massey breached bail by continuing a contact relationship with one of the Crown witnesses against her, in violation of the already “very strict bail conditions” put forward in her Second Bail Judgement, when the Court originally granted bail as a human rights concern.

In order to prevent Rebecca Massey from having her human rights interfered with through a lengthy detention awaiting trial, due to an inefficient court system and tardy DPP, Ms Massey’s bail was granted by Justice Penfold.

Reading through the court records, this bail was granted despite Rebecca Massey having “a lengthy criminal record” and a “record for answering bail [conditions which] has not been good in the past” (as noted by Justice Richard Refshauge in Section 53 and 54 of her First Bail Judgement, when bail was originally denied), and Justice Hilary Penfold herself “not plac[ing] substantial reliance on Ms Massey” (Section 55, Second Bail Judgement), as she was being charged with “the most serious [crime] in the criminal calendar” (Section 31 of the First Bail Judgement), and Ms Massey “not giving [Justice Penfold] cause for particular optimism as to her ability to refrain from committing any offence at all” (Section 56 of the Second Bail Judgement), and investigating police officers raising “concerns that Ms Massey might try to interfere with witnesses” (Section 57 of Second Bail Judgement).

In fact, “despite severe reservations” from Justice Refshauge, and this most recent “breach substantially undermin[ing] her credibility as a candidate for bail, both because of the flagrant nature of it, but also because it clearly had, as she knew, a capacity to interfere with the integrity of the criminal justice system”, Justice Refshauge has granted Rebecca Massey bail once again, this time under even more lenient conditions.

Ms Massey is now free to interfere with at least one of the Crown’s witnesses against her, as much as she likes, up until the trial.

Luckily, there were only 165 other reported witnesses at the time.

A friendly word of advice if you run into Ms Massey now that she walks the streets amongst us:

In Justice Refshauge’s own words from the last time he presided over Rebecca Anne Massey in a bail hearing: “…she has a history of assaults, and worryingly these recently have appeared alongside offences involving knives.”

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9 Responses to Penfold and Refshauge – Absurdism takes over the courtroom
54-11 54-11 8:08 pm 21 Jun 10

I’ve got to admit I was wrong – back in 2007 (, I predicted that the micro-managing Hilary Penfold QC would be a tough judge. Privately, I reckoned she’d be a hanging judge.

Well, something funny happened on the way to the Supreme Court, and she’s turned into just another bleeding heart liberal on the bench.

What a shame, and what a wasted opportunity to toughen things up a bit.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 12:05 pm 21 Jun 10

My favourite part is where the Justice Refshauge says (loosely translated):

“Ms Massey is really not much of a candidate for bail, having (allegedly) killed a woman in public, shown total disregard for the Court’s authority by breaking the already incredibly lenient bail conditions given to her and furthermore, she’s ruining the integrity of my job!”, but then without any further delay gives Ms Massey yet another chance to prove she can live up to the Court’s unrealistic expectations.

Yes, it was Ms Massey who ruined your integrity, your honour.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 11:40 pm 19 Jun 10

These scumbags must absolutely laugh their heads off at the ACT Court system.

After all, aren’t people like Penfold and Refshauge basically saying to these thugs and criminals “You can do whatever you like, because us over-paid, over-educated, bleeding heart asses will harp on about your human rights and won’t have the balls to put you away – no matter what you do or how many times you do it.”

vg vg 10:49 pm 19 Jun 10

I have seen hundreds of occasions where bail was denied in this town for so much less.

bd84 bd84 8:12 pm 19 Jun 10

Sorry, but if you’ve been charged with murder and the case against you is open and shut, there is absolutely no reason for bail to be granted at all. It should not matter how long it takes the case to come to court, the courts should be taking into account the greater good of society and our human rights rather than a scumbag like her.

geoffrah geoffrah 7:06 pm 19 Jun 10

What about Ms Booshand’s human rights ??

Cannot believe that this pathetic excuse for a human being is still walking the streets of Canberra as a free woman ….

farq farq 5:03 pm 19 Jun 10

Seriously, why does it take 4 years?

I am assuming that the court does not apply something like triage to the cases and let serious crimes (with serious penalties) jump the queue a bit. Or does it?

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 2:53 pm 19 Jun 10

I’m sorry but this is clear insanity…

54-11 54-11 2:28 pm 19 Jun 10

Where’s Mully when you need him?

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