Law & Order

When judges wear wigs and robes, what’s so offensive about a niqab?

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The statue representing justice is blindfolded for a reason – to symbolise that all people are treated equally in our courts no matter their wealth, position in society or religious beliefs. Duncan Fine The Age Sometimes the courts fail to live up to that ideal. This week Justice Christopher Beale in the Victorian Supreme Court banned a woman who was wearing a niqab from sitting in the public area of the court where her husband is facing a trial on ... Read More »

Julian Assange loses challenge to UK arrest warrant, court to rule on new bid next week

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost one legal bid to have a UK arrest warrant against him quashed but immediately launched another, to have the British authorities halt any action against him on public interest grounds. ABC Judge Emma Arbuthnot said she would give her decision on February 13. A ruling in Mr Assange’s favour could pave the way for him to leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been holed up for more than five years. Mr ... Read More »

Child abuse redress scheme would exclude offshore detention victims, lawyers say

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Exclusive: Turnbull government says compensation should not be available to those who are not citizens or permanent residents Christopher Knaus The Guardian The government’s model for a national redress scheme would exclude children who were abused in Australia’s offshore detention network, a lawyers’ association has warned. A national redress scheme was one of the key recommendations of the landmark child abuse royal commission, offering a way to compensate survivors without forcing them to resort to costly and prolonged civil action. ... Read More »

Israel says it will legalise West Bank settlement after rabbi shot dead in isolated outpost

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Israel says it plans to legalise an isolated West Bank outpost in response to the murder of one of its residents in a shooting last month. ABC Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his weekly Cabinet meeting his Government would legalise Havat Gilad to “allow the continuing of normal life there”. “Whoever thought that through the reprehensible murder of a resident of Havat Gilad, a father of six, that our spirit can be broken and we can be weakened, is making ... Read More »

Attacks on the judiciary by politicians weaken our democracy

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The separation of powers sounds like the stuffy, abstract domain of lawyers and academics. But it needn’t be and it shouldn’t be. Morry Bailes * Brisbane Times Because, the actual freedom of each and every one of us – in a very real and practical way – relies on the complete independence of the executive, the Parliament, and the judiciary. At its most basic level, the separation of powers simply means that if one of the powerful arms of our ... Read More »

Merkel suggests changes could be made to new online hate speech law

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BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled on Saturday that she was prepared to consider changes to a widely criticised new law that aims to rid social media of hate speech. By REUTERS euronews The legislation, which came into force on Jan. 1, can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60.1 million) on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly, sparking concerns that Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms could block more content than necessary. ... Read More »

Peter Dutton criticised for ‘subjecting judges to quasi-election’

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Law Council says publicly releasing potential court appointees’ names is fraught with risk Paul Karp The Guardian The Law Council has denounced Peter Dutton’s suggestion of seeking public feedback before appointing judges as a “quasi-election” model that would politicise the judiciary. It is the second time the body has criticised the home affairs minister for undermining the independence of the judiciary after it rebuked him for claims that Victorians were “scared to go out to restaurants” due to street violence and that “civil libertarian” ... Read More »

Can your brain testify against you?

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Defined set of guidelines required for neuroscientific techniques to be used correctly and effectively in law EurekAlert! Neuroscientific techniques continue to advance, but their applications in law raise concerns of a threat to individual rights. Previous applications of neuroscientific evidence include using brain scans to detect deception in an individual, and neurological responses to determine whether someone has intimate knowledge of a crime. However, just because we can use this technology, does it mean we should? A review published in ... Read More »

To protect or collect? Germany’s big data divide

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Both sides are miles apart on how millions of terabytes of data generated each day in a digitized economy should be regulated JANOSCH DELCKER Politico BERLIN — Big data is Germany’s future. Problem is, its leaders can’t agree on how to use it. Amid talks on forming a government, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Social Democrats are hammering out the country’s digital strategy for the next four years. Both sides agree that e-government, big data and expanded fast internet will ... Read More »

San Francisco offers marijuana conviction amnesty

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The city of San Francisco, one of the most liberal in the United States, is offering an amnesty for marijuana convictions dating back over 40 years, weeks after California legalized the drug. LOS ANGELES – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet California’s legalization of recreational marijuana took effect at the beginning of January, making the state the largest legal market for pot in the world. “While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead ... Read More »

Turkey’s propaganda war targets America’s state capitals

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Law firm hired by Turkey lobbies state officials about political foe, related charter schools By Liz Essley Whyte Center for Public Integrity A law firm hired by the government of Turkey is lobbying state officials across the U.S. about what it alleges is a suspicious network of American charter schools run by a dangerous Turkish opposition leader. Federal records show Turkey’s lawyers requested meetings in January 2018 with politicians in 26 states and the District of Columbia, including attorneys general, ... Read More »

Science behind bars: How a Turkish physicist wrote research papers in prison

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Ali Kaya says he used science to stay sane during his incarceration Thousands of academics in Turkish universities stand accused of either having supported terrorism or the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016. Alison Abbott nature Theoretical physicist Ali Kaya is one of them. He was arrested three months after the failed coup and held for more than a year before his trial took place. On 20 December, a court declared him guilty of being a member of a terrorist ... Read More »

ACT’s Chief Justice Helen Murrell talks soft sentences at the Supreme Court opening

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ACT’s top judge says courts need to better explain sentences to stop public outrage over “lenient” sentences Daniella White  The Canberra Times Addressing a ceremony for the opening of the legal year at the ACT Supreme Court, Chief Justice Helen Murrell said the courts also had to give victims a greater voice in the court process. Chief Justice Murrell said despite anger and outrage expressed through the press about sentencing, studies showed average members of the public given the same information as a sentencing judge tended to ... Read More »

Is it illegal to call someone a Nazi?

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An American dropped the word “Nazi” during a spat at Frankfurt Airport. Police say it was directed at them and are suing her for slander. But in a country with freedom of speech, how can this be legal? Kathleen Schuster DW An angry American traveler found herself plunged into German legal waters this month after allegedly calling federal police officers “Nazis” during a dispute at Frankfurt International Airport. Police say the woman, a 49-year-old professor, became “unreasonable and irritated” when they told ... Read More »

Most Mexico murders organized crime linked

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Organized crime accounted for nearly three-quarters of all murders in Mexico in 2017, the country’s deadliest year since record-keeping began, according to non-profit Semaforo Delictivo. MEXICO – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The group said that 18,989 of the year’s officially recorded 25,339 murders were carried out by criminal gangs. The figure represented a 55 percent increase on the year before. “The sort of numbers we used to see in a year, we now see in a month,” said Santiago Roel, the ... Read More »

Editor: Erdogan urged attack on Turkish Cypriot newspaper

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) – The editor of a left-wing Turkish Cypriot newspaper on Monday accused Turkey’s president of instructing supporters to launch a violent attack against his publication’s offices over criticism for Ankara’s military offensive into Syria. WPXInews Sener Levent said his newspaper Afrika won’t be silenced in calling out Turkey’s policies either in the breakaway north of ethnically-split Cyprus or elsewhere. Dozens of Turkish flag-waving protesters smashed windowpanes and hurled stones, eggs and other items at Afrika’s first floor offices in ... Read More »