Where is the case that screams the need for a federal ICAC, asks MARGARET CUNNEEN SC *?
In Local Government there are ordinances and developers and approvals and fees. Corruption – the misuse of government funds or the corrupt use of government influence – is an ever-present risk.
Politicians and public officials in State Governments have less scope for corruption because nothing comes down to the decision of a single person. However there are major projects and tenders and the prospect of corrupt practice is feasible, although less so now with so many layers of approval required for any expenditure.
The Federal sphere is even less susceptible to the abuse of government resources or information. There are numerous bodies already in existence to whom complaints may be made of any suspected misfeasance. There is the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority, the Australian Public Service Commission, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity and others. We don’t hear many famous cases from these bodies, and we would if they had them.
Even the proponents of a Federal ICAC acknowledge that Australia is one of the least corrupt, if not the least corrupt, country in the world. The United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada all manage without corruption commissions. The NSW ICAC, now forever tainted by its many demonstrable failures, was modelled from its inception on the Hong Kong ICAC, although the Hong Kong ICAC never had public hearings. Presumably it is no longer extant. So why does Australia burden itself with a parallel system of justice?
The latest call for a Federal ICAC with “teeth” is simply a demand for an organisation which conducts public hearings. Public hearings are said to be necessary for “transparency”. Investigations into alleged wrong conduct can still be transparent without public hearings. What is often misunderstood about bodies such as ICAC is that they are not courts. They are investigators analogous to police forces. Police certainly don’t let the public into their investigations while they are on foot. It is not conducive to obtaining a witness’s best evidence if the witness knows what other witnesses have said. Such knowledge is liable to influence a witness, whether consciously or subconsciously.
The police investigation becomes transparent during the court case, and not before. Police do not seek the adulation that ICAC appears to seek by cherry-picking the most sensational parts of private hearings to run in a public forum so best to shame and humiliate targets it chooses itself. An integrity commission is like a permanent, or standing, royal commission. A royal commission, however, is given its subject, and scope, by government. It does not simply choose its own targets.
Commissions of inquiry that have unearthed conduct which may be criminal have traditionally been careful not to allow the detail into the public domain lest it prejudice the fair trial of the person it may propose to refer to prosecuting authorities. Commissioners in those situations are not driven by self-aggrandisement or malice. They have the patience to await the proper processes before claiming success.
As I often say of juries, every one of us harbours our own prejudices against certain people or types of people. The presence of 12 demographically diverse people on juries leavens out any prejudices and provides for eminently fair verdicts. Corruption commissions, being an arm of the executive government, are staffed by government lawyers and investigators with political biases. It is no mere coincidence that three Liberal Premiers have been targeted by ICAC while in office. 11 Liberal members of Parliament, including a successful Police Minister, Mike Gallacher, were “cancelled” while in office, with nary a criminal charge laid against any of them. The only “success” stories that anyone person on the street could name from the NSW ICAC are Mr Obeid and Mr Macdonald. But they weren’t sidelined while they were in office. Their trial, in relation to allegations about things which occurred in 2009, has only been held this year.
Endowing corruption agencies with the power to institute public hearings is said to be justified on the basis that it “educates” the public about corruption. This is specious. Corruption agencies, being investigative agencies analogous to police forces (but without the fine and decent aspect of helping people) have no power to make a finding of guilt, but only a recommendation to the prosecuting agencies because the vast majority of people who have been alleged to be corrupt during public hearings that have been reported in the media have either not been found guilty in real courts or have not been charged at all by the DPP due to a lack of evidence of any wrongdoing. Yet the tattoo of corruption is indelible.
The call for a Federal ICAC with public hearings is being made by those who have not considered how easily, by even a tangential connection with some government official or decision, it could their child, or spouse or friend who is publicly accused of some presumed misconduct at the start, and all through, a public airing of unproven allegations.
The enthusiasm for public hearings for ICACs is no more than an invitation to the public and the media to join the baying mob. If there must be public hearings, fairness dictates that there must be public apology, exoneration and compensation for people who are found not to have been corrupt after all. An ICAC can only ever expose an allegation of wrongdoing, because only courts can find that an offence has been proven.
In a recent Whitlam Oration, Bret Walker SC encapsulated the idea. “A critical safeguard on the kind of information that an ICAC should be able to give us”, he said “is that we should no longer be told that an individual has engaged in corrupt conduct…No other agency briefing a prosecutor… thereby informs the community that the person in question is a criminal. That would be a very serious kind of misinformation, in a society still attached, I think, to the notion of a fair trial before conviction”.
For many decades in this country, in law schools and in public discourse, we have taken pride that our common law system with its appeals, checks and balances, and hard-won evidentiary rules developed for the protection of individual liberty, and “the golden thread” of the presumption of innocence, would never be eroded. Are we now prepared to abandon these human rights for another sector of Australian citizens?
* Margaret Cunneen SC is the former NSW Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor and current defence barrister (State Chambers), and Member of the Attorney-General’s Advisory Panel on the proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission 2019. In 2015 she was famously the subject of a NSW ICAC investigation that was denounced by ICAC Inspector David Levine as well as the High Court. Levine writes in his report of the affair as follows: What I would regard as the stark unfairness of nine years of the private affairs of Ms Cunneen and those of her friends (whether journalists or not) being placed before the DPP to fish for what turns out to be apparently six minnows in circumstances where the ICAC itself was not interested enough to even contemplate an investigation, virtually beggars belief. This aspect of the conduct of the ICAC I describe, and I believe any ordinary reasonable person would describe, as unreasonable, unjust and oppressive.
Does this article demonstrate a necessity for a Federal ICAC?
Can someone or several have an opinion please?
That link doesn’t work, Owen. But irrespective, Margaret Cunneen SC has answered your question at
The point she makes is that there is far less scope for corruption at the Federal level than at local or state levels – and there are agencies already capable of investigating any that does occur.
Thanks Andrew but what I read from this latest issue, I maybe misconceived in interpretation, but it reads a Federal ICAC is necessary in this instance.
Thanks for your reply.
It is the latest release on the Federal scoundrel.
I don’t know the issue, don’t know the name; just picked up ICAC.
My focus is Chief Injustice Blow.
And Michael Phelan doing a good job busting drugs.
I refound the article of ICAC.
To me as a legal pleb, I see the need for a Federal ICAC in this instance.
Perhaps it will be taken further by others, but not apparently with the blessing of the Prime Minister.
‘A disgraceful, shameful moment.’ Yesterday, we witnessed exactly why we need a Federal ICAC.
Gemma Bath 22 hrs ago
‘A disgraceful, shameful moment.’ Yesterday, we witnessed exactly why we need a Federal ICAC.
© Getty Images ‘A disgraceful, shameful moment.’ Yesterday, we witnessed exactly why we need a Federal ICAC.
On Wednesday, in the House of Representatives, something dangerous happened.
We got an insight into just how far our leaders will go to protect one of their own.
In case you missed it, the Coalition government voted down Labor’s motion to refer former attorney-general Christian Porter to the parliament’s privileges committee.
It should have been a done deal.
The Speaker of the House, Tony Smith, granted precedence to Labor to move a referral motion to investigate whether the WA MPs anonymous donations – which he used to fund his defamation case against the ABC – was in contempt of parliament.
Given it is the very reason Christian Porter stepped back from the frontbench, one would assume this is the logical next step – it gets investigated.
It’s what we’re seeing play out right now in NSW politics. Gladys Berejiklian was accused of breaching public trust. She stepped aside as state premier and now she’s being investigated on those allegations by The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
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Berejiklian’s resignation came as a direct result of ICAC announcing an investigation into her. Image: Getty.
But there is no Federal ICAC. And there are no plans for one.
The Prime Minister said just this month, it’s “not a model that we’d ever consider at a federal level”.
And so, deciding whether to investigate Porter was not done independently. Instead, the power remains in the hands of the politicians themselves.
On Wednesday, they decided no. They didn’t deem the truth on this particular matter necessary in an unprecedented dismissal of the speaker’s intentions.
As manager of opposition business Tony Burke pointed out, it’s the first time a government has voted against a privileges referral to which a speaker had given precedence in our history. By opposing the motion, the government abandoned a key principle that has been put in place as a protection against corruption in federal parliament.
“If this is allowed to stand, the register of members’ interests is obliterated in terms of being a disclosure document,” Burke told parliament.
“We need to oppose a system where members of parliament can keep secret who is giving them money for personal bills.
“This is a disgraceful, shameful moment in Australian political history.”
Burke accused the government of running a “protection racket” for Porter. Although Porter has asked those managing the blind trust to confirm no “lobbyists or prohibited foreign entities” were among the donors, he refused to demand their identities be revealed.
Instead of further scrutiny for Porter alone, Leader of the House Peter Dutton proposed a broader inquiry into anonymous donations, including those from online donor platforms.
He used Sarah Hanson Young as an example. She crowdfunded her own legal action against former senator David Leyonhjelm, and Dutton pointed out a “number of the names were made up”. But the donations in question were all under the mandatory disclosable $300 threshold that is required of MPs.
Quite frankly, this is not a comparable case.
This isn’t a few hundred bucks we’re talking about. It’s alleged to be a million dollars of anonymous money.
And what that money went towards matters too. It was used to pay for Porter to accuse the ABC of defamation because they ran a story alleging he raped a now-deceased woman in 1988.
It doesn’t get much bigger than this.
And yet the Morrison government doesn’t think there’s anything to see here as a standalone investigation.
This is the same government that didn’t see the need for an independent inquiry into the rape allegation itself, either.
“Yesterday in the parliament we saw an extraordinary event – 120 years of precedent were thrown out,” Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said in Canberra on Thursday.
Australian of the Year and sexual assault survivor, Grace Tame, tweeted: “They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to enable corruption.
“If refusing an independent inquiry into Porter’s ‘blind’ trust—not to mention deliberately concealing its contributors—isn’t abuse of power, I don’t know what is.”
But despite the shock and complaints reverberating around political and public circles on Thursday, the Prime Minister is standing behind his government’s decision.
“That’s not just one member. There are other members and we’ve got to get the rules clear,” he said.
But that’s not the point.
Sure, a broader inquiry sounds fantastic. Go right ahead.
But Australia’s former attorney general is now sitting on the backbench over this very issue. In announcing his departure in September, Morrison said Porter was unable to “conclusively rule out a perceived conflict of interest,” and as a result had chosen to resign.
“There are grey areas in these issues, complex arrangements when applied to particular circumstances can be inconclusive,” he said.
“But the Minister has taken the decision which errs on the side of upholding the highest standards.”
He said it himself. Our government should be upholding the highest of standards. And this decision sets a very dangerous precedent. It gives politicians the green light to conceal the source of donations and gifts.
It’s also dangerous because it shows us just how powerful the ‘boy’s club’ can be.
If we can’t trust them to make the decision among themselves to do the right thing by Australian people, then we must install a Federal ICAC that forces them to.
The problem? Scott Morrison has the power to reject such a proposal. He already has.
But what we’re seeing unfold in Australian politics this week has shown exactly why it’s necessary.
We deserve an independent eye over allegations of corruption, misuse of power and the failure to uphold integrity amongst the most powerful people in this country.
You can keep up to date with Gemma Bath’s articles here, or follow her on Instagram, @gembath.
Feature image: Getty/Mamamia
We are only interested in truth and justice, so I submit this which came after Margaret’s article. Perhaps the goal posts have changed.
Andrew, I came to read this post days later, and simply say, it’s a wonderful piece to read as are all the contributions I have read here from everyone, and particularly those from Margaret and Geraldine.
Often we ponder, ‘should I, shouldn’t I’, so again I say, thanks to both of you women.
We live cautiously in a world where the expectation often is, will I be judged for what I have to say.
You have both stated much of what needs to be said by way of ‘this was my experience’ and ‘like it or lump it’, I’m putting it out there.
What a difference it would make should someone with bottle, integrity and the POWER to intervene, who believes, even knows as we all do, that Sue Neill-Fraser did not get a fair and proper trial, that that someone would come forward and demonstrate a similar courage/integrity to speak up as both these women have done.
Thank you for these contributions in support of those who are wrongfully robbed of their freedom. I feel privileged to share this post with you.
Thx for your kind observation, Jerry.
Further to your, “… ‘should I, shouldn’t I’…”, I assure you that generally I comment as per my gut-feeling.
What’s more, my personal experiences and intuition guide me. Since I endeavour to never publish anything that I am unable to support with direct evidence, readers’ judgement isn’t a concern. In staying with the facts as known to me, it feels safe. Mature debate is healthy, thus challenges are welcome, provided propriety prevails. It’s important to me to state the facts; if in so doing that causes discomfort to the wrongdoers, so be it.
My experiences with the (in)justice system can still shock me, especially the more blatant deceptive ones, that it doesn’t take one to hold a doctorate to smell a rat. In decades past I was a naïve trusting citizen insofar as what was systemically published was reliable.
Ouch! I had no idea that those appointed to top positions had reached their status by negative evolution. I know it now though. I’ve learned that the ‘bullshit baffles brains’ syndrome is very much a systemic modus-operandi. Gradually over the years the truth emerged. I recognised the rubbish-rhetoric and even published rules and guidelines, are on occasions nought but misinformation and worse still, disinformation.
There’s a reversal of your, “… ‘like it or lump it’…”, as propaganda is publicly disseminated to hoodwink we ‘wet-behind-the ears-peasants’ into a false sense of security.
Consequently, numerous alleged offenders, know they are innocent enter the system with an over trusting belief that they’ll receive fairness. That is rubbish. Unfairness, non-disclosure and impropriety happens repeatedly. I can cite cases after case where systemic misconduct has happened and certainly evidence that goes towards the accused’s innocence is not disclosed or manipulated to advantage a guilty finding. The sycophants support each other’s ‘end justifies the means’ mentality. How wicked and evil is that?
Until such time as elected representatives decide that their lack of enthusiasm to alter this wrongful course of events — that is, initiate a broad-based inquiry into how it is that far too many citizens are not afforded a “fair and proper trial”, injustices will continue to receive the authoritative imprimatur. Remedial steps have not happened because of ignorance of the facts; rather my sense is that it’s a ‘hot potato’; it’s a controversial issue and awkward to deal with. Yet, I ask why? That is, why do elected representatives shy away from such serious deficiencies, when there’s an abundance of evidence/witnesses available that indicate an inquiry is warranted?
To me, it is a dereliction of public duty to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to those who are screaming “…in support of those who are wrongfully robbed of their freedom.”
I appreciate NSWICAC streamed it’s hearings into ex NSW MP, Daryl Maguire & ex Premier. More was made known than what Sydney Morning Herald write.
Yes, since the NSW Premier’s resignation it has crossed my mind that of all the three premiers investigated by NSWICAC & subsequently left office, all were of the LNP.
The first two were found not to be corrupt, the third is still ‘under investigation’…
Guys, I want you to listen carefully.
I can simplify things. I am a simple man.
My manager, kept telling me measure twice cut once.
I never asked why. He must have been prophetic.
Because I have lived through 2 case studies of bureaucratic corruption in Tasmania.
Both life and mind destroying
Would one not think once was enough, get out.
Where to to, to what, with what.
A time came when my life I gave to Tasmania. Fight at all costs for how ever long it takes. It has taken its toll, but I am better now than I when I stepped on the island.
I thank you all for helping me heal.
I will be very brief. The first experience lead to an office of Very Senior Tasmanian Politician, who told me Tasmania Police Force was too corrupt to do anything about.
A few years later I was driving cabs night shift to survive and I was strangled by a known Stock Broker from Sandy Bay. He had a personal problem and was protected by the police. Later detectives visited me and threatened to arrest me for stalking the stock broker, they denied he attacked me in the cab.
HOW THE FUCK WOULD THEY KNOW, THEY WERENT THERE.
But 2 witnesses were, but stupid me chased the stock broker.
But people know the truth in Tasmania; just like they know the truth about Sue Neill-Fraser, and other victims.
In simple terms. THE SHIT IS GOING TO HIT THE FAN IN TASMANIA, SOON.
That someone so eminent in the law should write this tendentious whitewash is deeply depressing. Three Liberal Premiers weighed in the balance and found wanting. Greiner and O’Farrell behaved inappropriately for premiers, Obeid and Macdonald are about to get theirs so let’s not hammer the party politics bias) and it seems (but yet to be proven) that what Berejiklian did for lover Maguire should be investigated, no matter how popular she was. And she still has a presumption of innocence: it was she who decided to leave — and Parliament too boot — so all that was up to her not ICAC. The HK ICAC, on which the NSW is based, cleaned up that once ever so corrupt place, miraculously: it was started because of the standover tactics by British cop Peter Godber. You couldn’t even give staff lai-see money on Chinese New Year lest it be construed as bribery. Something like that federally is just what we need with the pork barrelling and corruption currently going in the Government — oh sorry, I forgot: Politicians are to be exempt!! Sorry Margaret I fear you are bringing party politics into this. .
Missing the point a bit, John…It’s not that Berejiklian should not be investigated, the issue is how. I think the Hong Kong ICAC differed in that it didn’t use public hearings…and another point: Cunneen acted for Macdonald in the early days I think.
Cunneen makes the point that at the Federal level there are less opportunities for corruption – and there are several bodies in existence that act as guards already…
Nice to hear the views of the Marvellous Margaret Cunneen! What a travesty the way she was targeted by ICAC! Could it have been because her views sometimes collided with some people in power? I have a friend, a former good and diligent cop, who was targeted by a similar star chamber in Victoria—IBAC. They do everything in secret, which in a way is even scarier. His was ruined, nearly ruined his life too. Luckily, he was strong, like Margaret, and went on, as she has, to make a newer, better life. But not everyone does! Openness and transparency are good, but not when the person being ‘accused’ has no standing. To paraphrase an old catch-cry —‘No accusation without representation!’
Politics with Michelle Grattan: ‘Former judge Stephen Charles slams government’s integrity commission model” — https://theconversation.com/politics-with-michelle-grattan-former-judge-stephen-charles-slams-governments-integrity-commission-model-169460
Good story, sounds similar to civvy street where an organised team can falsely character assissinate an individual.
Sentiment’s shared by Sky news Alan Jones in the Gladys Berejiklian case. I couldn’t believe the breaches to natural justice. Cancel culture flourishes in America but I thought Australasia had safeguards in place!
Tasmania exposed has too many oppressive unjust matters in need of serious investigation? Conduct of malice has occurred! Critically wrong doing appears within our ‘supposed’ prosecuting agencies eroding innocent persons rights! Right over wrong of those held to they’re oath within Tasmanians Justice Department is not as it should be! When officialdom casts a person down administering conduct to get a guilty verdict at any cost. Such destructive actions become ruinous to all concerned! As does happen it takes layers of corruption set to by those we the public hold in trust. Those purporting justice easily able to be unsuspected of malfeacence to hurt or harm us. All as officers of the Crown sworn under oath? However it now seeps out manipulation and deceit of some Crown Officer for no good reason misuse the law in lawlessness to sway to bend the rule of law – persecute – prosecute – take down and send an innocent to be falsely imprisoned on false charges..Evidence has to be is concocted and is? Witnesses are discovered that are ably manipulated as they themselves have the need to cover themselves of they’re own misdemeanours? Big or small – just straight out dodgy these person now perverting justice are layered in as tampered witnesses to assist to bind the criminality of the layers together? False evidence is used to convict whilst any and all evidence of manipulation is covered up by high ranking officialdom. Just imagine in officialdom today there are archives of truckloads – roomfuls – shelves/cupboard loads of proof hidden that prove absolute lawlessness was corruptly placed by corrupt law officers? Shamefully to prevent discovery of right over wrong? Presently it is known too many ordinary guiltless citizens have been caught up and ruined by treachery in the name of the law? Right to act to overturn such criminality must be bought out in a full investigation of a Royal Commission to restore justice to Tasmania..Appallingly crooks – they’re cohorts and sycophants do not belong wronging us?
Noeline, a Federal ICAC will not investigate state matters — is my understanding.
Having read much about the proposed: –
1) national ICAC over the past 3 years, and
2) watered down powers,
I’m unsure of the who, what & why as the debate and draft legislation stands today.
Tasmanian has an Integrity Commission (TIC) albeit toothless; that’s my primary focus. Make it accountable, then cast our hopes towards a federal one to oversight the commonwealth matters as will come within its role and function.
The matters you raise rightly belong with the TIC. Complaints have been made intermittently relevant to SN-F matters and they’ve been dismissed. If we Tasmanians are being ignored by our own TIC, I hold little hope for a federal ICAC, most especially when one reads the draft proposal.
Hi Geraldine I guess when I made reference to the investigatory powers of a “Royal Commission” I was thinking of The Governor of Tasmania ‘ Her Excellency’ sign off on an order we wish for a Commission of Enquiry = Tasmanian Commissions of Inquiry Act 1995 Couched in similar powers of investigative investigation pursued as to the “NSW Woods Royal Commission”
(Version current from the 1st of March 2021 to date – ‘accessed 10 October 2021 15:20) As the Act makes leave to Commissioner(s) Assistances – to be engaged from the mainland of Australia. assisted in investigative powers of Australian Federal Police.. You cannot have “Any of the Foxes assisting how mayhem occurred in the Hen House” In full agreement a Government ignoring its citizens (and there are 27,000 of us named so far plus global unrest) is in utter misstep to be irrelevant to SN- F matters..The layers of corruption within some of those established to act in proprietary of oaths sworn exposed as wrong doers flouting Justice in Tasmania gives cause for too many lives damaged? Such form flouts the law and must not be enabled to occur – should it?
As Iread through this it soon became obvious to me that Ms.Cuneen is sycophant to what I have witnessed and can therefore assert to be to be what I can only describe as a lynch mob culture within Australian Police & its (IN)-Justice system. When it comes to sex crimes particularly child historical sexual abuse allegations, that both my interpersonal and international online contacts confirm that the same kind of culture is endemic in every major country wherein The English Adversarial System of Justice is relied upon to prosecute its citizens. I am gradually acquiring the data as to the number of cases and Victims Of False Allegations both of lay public persons and those in Government positions. That their lives and the lives of their families are annihilated by Police & The Legal Fraternity is extreme understatement. IMHO the overall so-called Justice System as it stands,, encourages corruption and abuse of power by permitting operatives within Police,and all agencies affiliated with The Justice System to act in corruptly criminal ways to incite prejudice against falsely or rightfully accused sex offenders from the instant an allegation is made against someone. That they pre-trial judge,deprecate,mentally torture,imprison,fit location monitoring anklets to and drive into a state of utter mind confabulation, suspects against whom they have no valid as being actual proof of guilt is an anathema cleverly kept hidden by them from the uninvolved general public. Police actions are ckearly triggered/prompted by the tunnel vision mindset they were brainwashed into by the training they underwent which was then further amplified by entrenched Police culture and negative thinking practices. Guarantee you wont find many Police being either civil to or believing of, an accused person pleading that they have been falsely accused and can’t immediately give explanation as to why, or exactly by whom. It took me six years to put together every piece of the puzzle as to THE REAL CAUSE of my son having been Falsely Accused of sex crime. One of the FACTS being in the form of a digitally dated photo having come to light in the several months, six years after his arrest, imprisonment and final exonerating Judge Only Trial. That I found such a massive amount of exculpatory evidence by way of research & investigation of a kind that the female “Investigating Detective OIC” disnally failed to, not only gave me to presume ineptitude/corruption on her part, but also rampant misandry amongst Child Protection operatives, female Judges and even an ex-prisoner hostel accomodation manageress. ( I don’t support sexless titularisation. When in place and in use we don’t have to clarify as to the gender of the person we are referring to……(YET another freedom of speech denied us by the #metoo suffragettes ! )
By relying upon allegation, hearsay, innuendo, rumour and “veracity untested/unchallenged witness collaboration ” the Police create a cycle of human rights abuse of all kinds that ends up being inflicted on both the Falsely and Factually Accused, their relatives, friends and work associates. The English Adversarial Justice System has extracted what were once the teeth and bite of The U.N.Charter of Human Rights. Until everlasting dental implants to ensure those rights have been restored to us all at law, the ride shall continue into making prison populations outstrip that of society at large. The POLITICALLY ENDORSED corruption, ineptitude and unaccountability of Politicians, Police and those in the Legal Fraternity and allied Agencies, shall continue, thanks in no small way to the protectionism of the likes of Margaret Cuneen
The only person I protect in the course of my work is my individual client. I am acutely aware of how devastating it is to be falsely accused, by icac or the police. More often than not, my client is a young man with no record accused of “rape” in situations in which the client has willingly joined him in his home during the night and makes an allegation days, weeks or years later. The acquittal of so many of my clients supports the view that they were the victims of false, or at least mistaken, complaints. Over the last year three of my clients were separately found not guilty of murder, showing the police got it wrong. The acquittal of so many of my clients supports the view that they were the victims of false, or at least mistaken, complaints. As you are unable even to spell my name, you are unlikely to be aware of the many I have represented so as to spare them wrongful conviction. Margaret Cunneen SC
Bravo Margaret Cunneen SC
As you write, “I am acutely aware of how devastating it is to be falsely accused…”.
Having witnessed a wicked Tasmanian prosecution of a false allegation of abduction and rape, and … worse still a “guilty” conviction, I applaud your protection of the wrongly accused.
In the instance to which I refer, regrettably the accused (3) persons had no idea of the deviousness by which TASPOL & ODPP operate, and naively went to court trusting their belief in
1) competent barristers, and
2) knowledge of their own innocence.
Not enough; shock & horror followed as the passing years and digging and delving exposed the misconduct in order to gain a conviction by ‘whatever it takes’. The Crown as a Model Litigant is rhetoric here, and probably other states too.
Once convicted the onus to prove innocence is a much more difficult task, as those who have walked this trek, will attest. Very difficult to have a CCA overturn a conviction, especially within the time limits set for an appeal. Most of the uncovering of non-disclosed and fabricated evidence cannot happen within the short time frame. It takes years, and is evidenced by those with wrongful convictions overturned.
It is shocking to comprehend the lengths of misconduct to which TASPOL & ODPP will go, to avoid exposure of wrongdoing. How many wrongful convictions have happened is frightening. Worse still, on the watch of seemingly competent barrister. In the instance to which I reliably refer and comment, 2/3 then barristers representing the accused are now Supreme Court judges.
Futher to my earlier comment, and Margaret Cunneen SC to your “…They are investigators analogous to police forces. Police certainly don’t let the public into their investigations while they are on foot. It is not conducive to obtaining a witness’s best evidence if the witness knows what other witnesses have said. Such knowledge is liable to influence a witness, whether consciously or subconsciously.
The police investigation becomes transparent during the court case, and not before. Police do not seek the adulation that ICAC appears to seek by cherry-picking the most sensational parts of private hearings to run in a public forum so best to shame and humiliate targets it chooses itself. …”, I somewhat disagree, insofar as this is not how TASPOL operate.
Alarming policing practices relating to witness statements were exposed in Operation Gloucester July 2020 Special Report, https://www.ibac.vic.gov.au/publications-and-resources/article/operation-gloucester-special-report-july-2020
Media release https://www.ibac.vic.gov.au/media-releases/article/ibac-finds-improper-evidentiary-and-disclosure-practices
I ommitted to include in my above comment re “The police investigation becomes transparent during the court case, and not before.”, that my experience indicates that only carefully selected parts of “The police investigation becomes transparent during the court case”, i.e., as per IBAC report above-mentioned, the parts that suit a successful conviction.
Similar practices are also evidenced/exposed in the SN-F investigation and prosecution.