Articles on Justice

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Kicking foreign prisoners out isn’t – and shouldn’t be – easy. Yorkshire Police

Why it’s difficult to deport foreign offenders

Once upon a time, you could tell an election was just around the corner when politicians of all kinds started talking relentlessly about crime. “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” was Tony Blair’s…
A Welcome to Country ceremony opens Darwin’s new $500 million facility last month to house rising numbers of prisoners, 85% of whom are Indigenous, a grossly overrepresented group. AAP/Neda Vanovac

Justice reinvestment saves huge costs of law-and-order auctions

A number of reports, most recently Victorian and NSW crime statistics, show crime rates are falling. But as election time looms in these states, their governments’ focus on tough law-and-order policies…
Police and Muslim leaders have joined forces to call for harmony, but just and fair treatment in counter-terrorism operations is needed to reassure the Islamic community. AAP/Mal Fairclough

Fairness and trust make all the difference in countering terrorism

Muslim communities in Australia feel under siege. It is evident from media reports that they feel unfairly targeted by counter-terrorism policing. They also feel vilified by much of the reporting of these…
Cases involving mental health are mostly heard in Victoria’s Supreme Court. They are complex, costly - and rare. Smith, Johnson/ Wikimedia Commons

‘Crazed killer’ headlines defy facts of crime and mental impairment

Few things cause more public alarm than the notion of the “crazed killer” walking our streets. A common figure in newspaper headlines and current affairs shows, he (occasionally she) is often accompanied…
Justice and forgiveness can co-exist so that one may encourage the other. Steve Calcott/Flickr

Eye for an eye? Why punishing the wrongdoer helps us forgive

One of the inevitable things in life is that someone will do or say something to upset and hurt us. While forgiveness is a good way to overcome such hurts, we also don’t want people to get away with what…
Debate surrounding the law’s response to lethal domestic violence has led to significant law reform activity over the last 20 years. AAP/Dave Hunt

Laws on lethal domestic violence should be reviewed – nationally

The law’s response to lethal domestic violence in Australia raises complex issues. It requires a delicate balance to be struck between ensuring a just response to those who kill in response to prolonged…
Lawyers like George Newhouse deserve praise, not abuse, when they go to court to ensure people are protected by the rule of law. AAP/Paul Miller

Lawyers who help people protect their rights aren’t the problem here

Australia’s courts serve us well, acting independently in their application of the law. However, that doesn’t protect them from attacks for performing their legal and constitutional duties. Similarly…
Being arrested does not make a person guilty and deserving of punishment; that’s what a trial determines. AAP/NSW Police

Not for punishment: we need to understand bail, not review it

Courts make hundreds of bail decisions every week but we rarely hear about them. In the past month in New South Wales, however, we have heard much about three high-profile decisions granting bail to: Steven…
A recent Ombudsman’s report is damning of the Victorian criminal justice sector, particularly around issues of accountability and transparency. shutterstock

Lifting the veil on the crisis in Victoria’s prisons

Victorian Ombudsman George Brouwer’s report on deaths and harm in Victorian prisons may have largely sailed under the public radar, but it shines a rare spotlight on the levels of systemic harm in custody…
We should continue to agitate for fairer, cheaper and more just legal systems, after a Productivity Commission draft report noted the difficulties for many in accessing justice. AAP/Dave Hunt

‘Slow, expensive, complicated’ legal system must be improved

Half of all Australians will experience a legal problem this year. Most won’t get legal assistance or come into contact with our courts or other legal institutions. In part, this is because Australia’s…
There hasn’t been a radical increase in violent acts on public transport, despite growing public concern. AAP/Dan Peled

Tranquil travel: violence on our public transport networks

Last month, a video of an elderly man’s alleged assault on a Gold Coast bus went viral on social media after a passenger filmed the confrontation. The incident put the sometimes-ignored issue of violence…
Why isn’t it the norm for trials in Australia of immense public interest to be broadcast, as the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius in South Africa has? EPA/Kevin Sutherland

Morcombe, Pistorius and the public interest in court broadcasts

The one thing missing from the saturation coverage of the Daniel Morcombe murder trial in Brisbane late last week was courtroom vision. Media coverage of Brett Cowan’s conviction and sentencing involved…
The Mr Big technique that caught Daniel Morcombe’s killer, and ultimately led to his conviction, deserves credit for solving the long-running investigation. AAP/Supplied

Mr Big: the covert technique that solved the Morcombe case

The 2003 disappearance of 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe in Queensland highlighted the difficulties police face when investigating a potential murder with no body and no crime scene. Ultimately, it was the…
The future of Scottish criminal law is in justice secretary Kenny MacAskill’s hands. Danny Lawson/PA Archive

Scrapping corroboration rule will undermine Scottish justice

A woman alleges she was raped by a man she met at a party. She says he forced his way into her flat after walking her home. He claims she invited him in and that the sex was consensual. There are no witnesses…
When we imprison adults, we are more often than not imprisoning parents. So what happens to their children? shutterstock

As we imprison more adults, what’s happening to the children?

Over the past six months, Victoria’s prison system has been widely acknowledged as overcrowded and at “breaking point”. Police cells are full of those awaiting a court hearing. The County Court is being…
The ‘lock 'em up’ approach largely ignores the victim. Image from shutterstock.com

Justice reform: a better way to deal with sexual assault

All too often, governments take the lazy option when faced with public outcry about sexual offences. Their automatic, knee-jerk, politically charged response is to “get tough on crime” by imposing mandatory…

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