Australia: This is why we don't leave justice in the hands of victims - PressFrom - Australia
  •   
  •   

AustraliaThis is why we don't leave justice in the hands of victims

06:36  15 march  2019
06:36  15 march  2019 Source:   theage.com.au

Bill passes giving police power to take DNA without court order

Bill passes giving police power to take DNA without court order Victoria Police now has the power to take DNA samples from people as young as 15 if they are suspected of serious crimes. Officers can collect samples from anyone believed to have committed a serious offence without the need for a court order, after a bill passed the upper house yesterday. The state government says the laws are vital to crack more than 55,000 unsolved crimes with unmatched DNA. Samples collected would be subject to the same privacy and security requirements mandated when a court order is issued.

That ’s why the phenomenon of outrage culture is so runaway: we find precious few alternatives for expressing our moral agency, so we get angry at the minor and the momentous But as a broader social response, it is dangerous. There’s a reason we do not leave justice in the hands of victims .

Leslie Morgan Steiner was in "crazy love" — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

This is why we don't leave justice in the hands of victims© Provided by Fairfax Media Pty. Ltd. Illustration: Andrew Dyson

As County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd methodically went about sentencing George Pell this week, it occurred to me that he took a position very few have taken, at least in public.

In this most polarised of public dramas, Chief Judge Kidd was a meticulously moderate character: a mix of just rage and compassion – not just for Pell’s victims, but for the convicted cardinal himself.

It’s this last point I want to consider, not because it is necessarily the most important, but because it distilled for me what makes the law so magnificent, but so destined to disappoint.

Victims of sexual assault sent for rape tests at hospital an hour away — in a taxi

Victims of sexual assault sent for rape tests at hospital an hour away — in a taxi Rape victims seeking tests that could help put their attackers behind bars are being turned away from a NSW hospital and made to travel an hour, sometimes by taxi, to be examined.

Leslie Morgan Steiner was in "crazy love" — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

This is why . 1. Assault victims make terrible witnesses. Almost everyone would agree that PTSD is a common “side effect” that comes in the aftermath So when a victim comes forward with a story that contains sketchy details and missing chunks, there’s a good chance that they don ’ t remember what

Speaking with friends afterwards, it was notable how many were struck by how Chief Judge Kidd’s judgment seemed to shift constantly between condemnation and sympathy. How he’d describe Pell as “breathtakingly arrogant” and having acted with “callous indifference”, abusing the considerable power disparity between him and his victims, then pivot to considering just how stressful the trial process must have been on Pell, and how he stood to suffer additionally from his unique public profile.

This is why we don't leave justice in the hands of victims© AAP An artist's sketch of George Pell at the County Court on Wednesday.

Part of these friends' reaction is no doubt an understandable unfamiliarity with the law. A judgment is not an act of advocacy. It is not an essay arguing a single point relentlessly until its inevitable conclusion, but the balancing of competing interests and principles. That’s a kind of deliberation we rarely see in public because our media is so allergic to it. But that rareness only makes it more valuable.

George Pell's sentence divides Catholics at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral

George Pell's sentence divides Catholics at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral Abuse survivors and the Catholic community converge at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne, where Cardinal George Pell abused two choirboys, to digest news of his six-year prison term.

The hand -wringers are wrong—an evenly split Supreme Court would end a narrow majority imposing its out-of-step will and would be good for the country. Scalia’s vacancy leaves the court with four justices nominated by Republican presidents and four by Democratic presidents, and the most liberal

Department of Justice , Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Rape and Sexual Victimization Among College-Aged Females, 1995-2013 (2014). Department of Defense, Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military (2015).

We’re in an era where anger dominates our sense of morality. To be angry is to be righteous, while to temper that anger is to be somehow morally complacent, apologetic, complicit even. Of course, there’s nothing new – or wrong – in anger as a moral response. It’s a crucial part of our moral vocabulary, particularly in the face of something heinous.

But there is something new – and wrong – in it being our only moral resource, our only way of demonstrating moral seriousness. That’s why the phenomenon of outrage culture is so runaway: we find precious few alternatives for expressing our moral agency, so we get angry at the minor and the momentous alike. The result is that we’re forgetting how to hold our anger in tension with anything else, especially in serious cases.

This is why we don't leave justice in the hands of victims© Jason South People listen to the Pell verdict outside the court on Wednesday.

Chief Judge Kidd’s judgment, though, was full of tensions. For him, Pell is emphatically guilty of a terrible crime, but that guilt does not license absolutely any response. So, Chief Judge Kidd would "utterly condemn" the "witch hunt" that followed Pell’s conviction. He would express sympathy for Pell’s position as a "publicly vilified figure". And he would regard all this as a source of punishment in itself. Then he would acknowledge Pell’s lifetime of service to the church and even find he was of good character in the years since the attack.

Newcastle and Sharks players honour Christchurch shooting victims with minute's silence

Newcastle and Sharks players honour Christchurch shooting victims with minute's silence Brilliant stuff.

But these images don ’ t provide a clear understanding of who is actually falling prey to human traffickers. Victims are often in plain view and go unidentified because they don ’ t This is an effort by law enforcement to minimize re-traumatization as they move through the criminal justice system.

“ Why didn’ t you run, why didn’ t you say something, why didn’ t you speak out sooner?” These are some of the questions Elizabeth Smart and many other This is what kept Elizabeth Smart under the hands of her captors for nine months. With threats of family members or friends being harmed, enduring the

Very few people convinced of Pell’s guilt would acknowledge such things. Indeed, many will have positively resented Chief Judge Kidd for doing this.

The viscerally emotive nature of Pell’s crimes, especially in the broader context of the Catholic Church’s crimes of sexual abuse, tempt many of us into regarding him as some incarnation of evil. From that position, he deserves whatever comes his way. The abuse, the vilification, the inhuman stress of this process – it’s not mitigation, it’s comeuppance. Any expression of sympathy or understanding is then experienced as an insulting indulgence.

In the case of survivors of sexual abuse and their families, I wouldn’t begrudge them that response because I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that drives it. But as a broader social response, it is dangerous.

There’s a reason we do not leave justice in the hands of victims. And there’s a reason we give it over to the formal, rule-laden, stuffy theatre of the courtroom. Justice often requires passions to be controlled because it is not simply about punishment. It is also about dignity.

Melbourne vigil to honour Christchurch terror attack victims

Melbourne vigil to honour Christchurch terror attack victims Members of the Victorian Muslim community will converge in Melbourne tonight to remember the victims of terrorist attacks at two mosques in New Zealand. The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) will host the vigil at the Victorian State Library on Swanston Street from 6.30pm. "We are shocked and greatly saddened by the murderous attack on Muslim worshippers in New Zealand," ICV spokesperson Adel Salman said. "It is clear is that this cowardly massacre was motivated by hatred for Muslims, by an extremist Islamophobic ideology.

The Leave vote has mobilized an aging army, populated by those who grew up in the post war era Despondency is growing as Britain is staring Brexit in the face. This is a prime example of why we have representative democracies and we do not leave decisions like this in the hands of the people.

Victims deserve to be taken seriously, and the criminal justice system needs to do far more to protect victims . In an ideal world there would be no need for charities such as Paladin or lawyers like myself trying to plug the gaps in the criminal justice system, but we are a very long way from this .

That’s very easy to understand when it comes to the dignity of victims. In some sense, the entire process of prosecution is meant to serve that ideal, even if the law sometimes fails in that task. What’s much harder to grasp is the importance of the dignity of the criminal.

When they punish, courts do something seriously grave. They enact state violence upon someone. They might even end up destroying them. That is not to say they do something wrong; indeed, the idea is that such punishment is right in the circumstances. But we cannot be just if we fail to recognise this gravity. And we can only do this if we recognise that whatever horrors a person has committed, they remain a human being.

This is why we don't leave justice in the hands of victims© Supplied Chief Judge Peter Kidd at Melbourne County Court for the sentencing of George Pell.

I suspect Chief Judge Kidd was reckoning with precisely that when he referred to Pell’s predicament as "an awful state of affairs". At no point did the judge shirk the seriousness of the crime, and he highlighted at length the account of Pell’s surviving victim. And yet he still addressed Pell in his full humanity: complex, flawed, contradictory, guilty, but entitled to an inalienable dignity even in the process that was about to incarcerate him.

If we still believe in some concept of inherent human dignity, it’s precisely at moments like this that it matters. In the same way that human rights matter most when we’re sorely tempted to dispense with them, human dignity becomes most meaningful when we’re tempted to strip it; when we’re confronted with those we think least deserve it; when we’re asked to give it to those who have done something terrible or even denied that dignity to others. That may not satisfy our anger. It might even leave us disappointed. But it’s in that very tension that we discover the difference between vengeance and justice.

Waleed Aly is a regular columnist and a presenter on The Project.

Bowraville murder case set back as NSW Government loses bid to have man face trial.
The NSW Government has lost its last-ditch effort to have a man face one trial over the murders of three Aboriginal children in the early 1990s, near Bowraville on the mid-north coast. The NSW Attorney-General asked the High Court for leave to appeal against a 2018 ruling, that a man can't face a single trial over the deaths of four-year-old Evelyn Greenup and 16-year-olds Clinton Speedy-Duroux and Colleen Walker. How To Get A Home Loan With 5% Deposit Find out more on Finder Ad Finder.com.au At previous trials, the man — who can't be named — was acquitted of murdering Clinton Speedy-Duroux and Evelyn Greenup.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

usr: 1
This is interesting!