World Class Justice System

Jazz 23 June 2005 5

I read this media release from our acting Attorney General Katy Gallagher with a sense of impending dread.

She’s taken it upon herself to make ammendments to our legal system with nice broad sweeping statments like “We need to be confident that the systems we have for dispensing justice do so justly” as if the crimes act 1900 and common law haven’t been doing their job for the last 105 years. Heaven forbid that common law become an “unnecessary fiddle” as she describes it

Here’s another gem.
“We have a world-class justice system in the ACT,” Ms Gallagher said. “And this Government is committed to protecting it.”

Feel free to substiture “protecting it” with “doing all that we can to stuff it up” at your leisure.

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5 Responses to World Class Justice System
bonfire bonfire 10:49 am 27 Jun 05

i wonder if it will be made legal for political staffers of the softheaded persuausion to spraypaint their views on private property ?

Special G Special G 6:26 am 25 Jun 05

When you get down to it most of what common law is has been legislated or codified. The only remaining piece of common law is breach of the peace.
I can’t see how referring to a 1912 court matter should bind a magistrates decision now, I think we can be a bit more up to date than that and refer to each case on its own merits.

Stozza Stozza 9:37 am 24 Jun 05

“This would by no means get rid of common law as precedence would still apply” – Special G

Sorry, im being a touch pedantic, but this is not nescessarily the case (or at least this is not how i understand the way codes work… Im baseing this on the foggy memories of my criminal law exam of last week). By specifying the elements of an offence in the criminal code, the courts are constrained in their use of the common law.

When interpreting codes the court will give the words their plain meaning. They will only be able to turn to the common law where the wording of the code is ambiguious or where the words used have a technical meaning. In practice the codification of a crime can and often will elminate the relevance common law.

johnboy johnboy 6:05 pm 23 Jun 05

Hmm, with the attention to detail Katy Gallagher has demonstrated in her past roles what could possibly go wrong…


Special G Special G 2:18 pm 23 Jun 05

The Crimes Act 1900 has recently been superceded in many areas by the ACT Criminal Code 2002. As law is an ever changing beastie that must keep up to date with society.

I believe what she means by refering to common law as an uneccessary fiddle is that for an offence there are certain proofs – for example – the common proofs being time, date, place, identity, jurisdiction they must be proven for an offence. In the case of perjury there are no set out proofs and it would be easier to have them set out in the Criminal code as opposed to having to search through common law to find them. This would by no means get rid of common law as precedence would still apply. Its just in one easy to find package.

There are many laws that come into purpose and others that no longer apply. You used to be able to get a ticket for leaving your car unlocked.

As for getting the justice system right, I don’t think anywhere is going to get a system that works all the time. Where is the justice in a burglar getting a good behaviour bond when the max penalty for buglary is 14 years. If someone already convicted several times previously did another burglary and then got 14 years in the box I would have faith in the system to deal out justice. As it is Canberra attracts these people because of easy welfare and housing and a lenient justice system.


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