Law & Order

Our democracy is more important than Facebook’s profits

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No one realised it at the time, but in 2004 a poison was created that is now spreading through and threatening the stability of democratic countries around the world. Lucy Battersby Brisbane Times The poison isn’t attacking government’s directly. Instead it infects the information flowing through society to the point that citizens are confused and misled away from making proper decisions. At its worst, this poison, this disinformation, prompts people to hunt down and hurt perceived enemies. Disinformation is spread ... Read More »

Sex offender registers don’t reduce re-offending, study finds

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Online public sex offender registries do not stop those on the registry from reoffending, a new report has found. Andrew Brown The Canberra Times The Australian Institute of Criminology report found that while a public registry that lists details such as the face, name and addresses of sex offenders have a small effect on deterring first-time offenders, it does not have any impact on decreasing recidivism. “Despite having strong public support, they appear to have little effect on levels of ... Read More »

Drones, donations and court drama in Chau Chak Wing defamation battle

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It is, perhaps, a fitting symbol of the level of interest in the dispute: as a high-stakes Federal Court defamation battle played out between Chinese-Australian billionaire Chau Chak Wing and Fairfax Media, a drone was spotted hovering outside the court… Michaela Whitbourn The Sydney Morning Herald Justice Michael Wigney wasn’t pointing any fingers in his 19th-floor courtroom in Sydney’s Law Courts building. It might have been a “complete and utter coincidence”, he said genially, and there was no basis for ... Read More »

Nicaragua crisis: Truce agreed after weeks of deadly violence

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Nicaragua’s government and opposition groups have agreed a ceasefire after weeks of violence that has left about 170 people dead. BBC A truth commission will also be established and international investigators allowed into the country. Friday’s peace talks in Managua were brokered by the Roman Catholic Church. The protests began on 19 April after President Daniel Ortega’s government imposed cuts to pension and social security programmes. The cuts were… Nicaragua crisis: Truce… Read More »

British boy’s medical cannabis returned

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London: The UK Home Office is returning a severely epileptic boy’s medicinal cannabis oil after confiscating it from his mother at customs. WAtoday PA Charlotte Caldwell tried to bring the medication into Heathrow Airport in a last-ditch effort to treat her 12-year-old son Billy, but it was removed by border officials. After a week of pleading with the Home Office, during which she accused a minister of likely signing the boy’s “death warrant”, the government has relented. Home Secretary Sajid Javid ... Read More »

DR Congo: The Bemba Earthquake

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The ICC’s acquittal of Jean-Pierre Bemba comes at a critical point in DR Congo elections. President Kabila and his opponents will have to recalibrate strategies ahead of Bemba’s likely return. ICG Outside powers should keep pressing Kabila to stand down and allow opposition candidates to… What’s new? On 8 June Jean-Pierre Bemba, a charismatic Congolese leader and fierce rival of President Joseph Kabila, was acquitted by the International Criminal Court’s appeals chamber of a 2016 war crimes conviction. His likely ... Read More »

‘Not equal before the law’: Why regional drug addicts are often sent to jail, not rehab

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A retired judge has backed calls for more drug rehabilitation centres in the bush, warning addicts in regional areas are too often thrown behind bars. Background Briefing – By Bronwyn Adcock ABC John Nicholson SC served as a New South Wales District Court judge for more than a decade and regularly presided over sittings in Dubbo, where drug-related crime is high. When sentencing offenders, Mr Nicholson told Background Briefing there were times he had no choice but to impose a jail ... Read More »

UN rights chief calls for major probe into Kashmir abuses

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The U.N. human rights chief on June 14 called for a major investigation into abuses in Kashmir, as his office released its first-ever report on violations committed by both India and Pakistan in the… GENEVA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he would urge the Human Rights Council, which opens a new session next week, “to consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry [COI] to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into… A COI is one of the UN’s highest-level probes, generally reserved for ... Read More »

Crime stats: Victoria sees another big drop in crime

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Police say forensic targeting of known criminals is helping to make some of Melbourne’s offending hot spots safer, as official figures show the annual crime rate down 9.5 per cent across the state, and some of the… Noel Towell & Craig Butt The Age The Crime Statistics Agency says the number of criminal incidents recorded by police in the year to March 31 this year was 380,150, down nearly 9 per cent from 416,925 incidents recorded in the… There were ... Read More »

Can airport authorities search your phone or computer?

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At no other time in history has airport security been so rigorous: travellers have come to expect pat downs, bag screenings and random drug detection tests. RN – By Alexandra Fisher and Damien Carrick for Law Report ABC But you might be caught by surprise if you’re asked to surrender your phone or laptop for Australian Border Force (ABF) authorities to search. Zaahir Edries, the president of the Muslim Legal Network of NSW, says the ABF’s powers are “relatively broad”. How ... Read More »

EU parliament urges Commission to act against Poland

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Five of the main political groups in the European Parliament urged the European Commission on June 14 to open infringement proceedings against Poland and to take it to the European Court of Justice to stop planned judicial reforms. STRASBOURG – Reuters Hurriyet The call by the leaders of the center-right European People’s Party, the centrist Liberals, the Socialists and Democrats, the Greens and the Unified European Left follows criticism from Commission Vice-president Frans Timmermans, who has accused Warsaw of breaking EU obligations. Frustration with Poland is focused on ... Read More »

Catholics defend the secrecy of confession amid pressure over child abuse royal commission

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Catholic Church is holding firm against calls to lift the veil of secrecy on confession amid calls from victims and advocates to force priests to report alleged abusers. By political reporter Matthew Doran ABC Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivered the Federal Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Canberra on Wednesday. Last year 122 recommendations were delivered to the government, including calls to throw out the sanctity of the confessional. In a statement ... Read More »

Real Estate Shopping on Someone Else’s Land

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At an informational session in the Israeli settlement of Alfei Menashe in the West Bank, a real estate agent engages in sales patter with house hunters for a new development of penthouses and 3- and 4-bedroom apartments: “breathtaking views,” “the highest standards of construction,” and… Sari Bashi HRW Two potential home-buyers, Israeli men in their 30s, flip through brochures showing high-rise buildings built on open land that had formed part of the neighboring Palestinian… “The view is spectacular,” says the ... Read More »

Liberals call on police to reopen Labor red shirts investigation

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The Coalition wants Victoria Police to renew its investigation into Labor’s 2014 red shirts rort and potentially pursue criminal charges against MPs named in the misuse of about $388,000 of public money. Adam Carey The Age Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton was grilled by Liberal MPs on Wednesday about why the police abandoned an investigation into Labor’s misuse of parliamentary funds to campaign in marginal seats in 2014. Mr Ashton said in parliament that police dropped the investigation in ... Read More »

Asylum seekers are now political pawns in a disharmonious EU

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The fate of the Aquarius, a Doctors without Borders rescue ship left stranded for hours in the Mediterranean carrying 629 African migrants, is a stark reminder of the EU’s ongoing stalemate on asylum policy. Ruvi Ziegler The Conversation The new Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini, ordered ports to refuse docking to the ship, prompting a rhetorical revolt by several Italian mayors. Malta also refused docking, claiming that the rescue occurred in the Italian search and rescue zone. As the ship’s ... Read More »

Australia sexual abuse: PM accepts landmark inquiry proposals

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The Australian government has accepted almost all recommendations from a landmark inquiry into child sexual abuse as it prepares to deliver a national apology to victims. BBC The five-year inquiry found tens of thousands of children had suffered abuse in Australian institutions. PM Malcolm Turnbull said that his government would act on 104 of 122 official recommendations. The remaining 18 had not been ruled out, he… He will make the apology on 22 October. “The survivors have told their stories ... Read More »