The problem with disclosure of material in the possession of the CDPP (including AFP and Customs) is that there is no statutory basis in the federal sphere requiring disclosure.The CDPP has a Statement of Prosecution Disclosure, but it is only a guideline. It has no teeth. A breach of the guidelines is met with the feeble excuse: "We didn't know, because we weren't told about it." That is just not good enough. So where to from here? In June 2000, the standing committee of attorneys-general published a report about criminal trial reform and one of its proposals was that there should be no statutory basis requiring disclosure. Wisely, neither Western Australia nor Victoria followed that proposal and introduced laws requiring such disclosure. NSW followed suit, but its legislation is lame compared with the other two states. The commonwealth must introduce a statutory basis requiring disclosure. There should be no more excuses. A statutory basis requiring disclosure will minimise the potential for current and future miscarriages of justice. The time for the commonwealth to act is now.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Kessing conviction shakier by the week
Chris Merritt in The Australian on Friday wrote these articles that will bring you up to speed on ongoing revelations that cast doubt on the soundness of the conviction of Allan Kessing: AFP under fire and Inquiry needed.
A week earlier Kessing's barrister Peter Lowe also wrote about the Prosecution's failure to bring relevant material to attention, identifying a broader issue: