Jump to content
The Talon House

Judge for yourself


Recommended Posts

Judge for yourself these fine flourishes of the law at work

By Richard Ackland

December 31, 2004

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Not for one moment in 2004 did the law cease to sparkle and beguile. There was such a litany of enlightening moments that a full compendium would consume forests of newsprint. So here is a culling of the finest flourishes.

It started with Israel's ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, admitting he vandalised an art exhibit in Stockholm depicting a Palestinian suicide bomber. Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, said of his diplomat: "The entire Government stands behind him."

In England there was much rejoicing as the Hutton report found the Blair Government had not "sexed-up" the dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The blame for the misadventure rested with defective editorial procedures at the BBC. Curiously, John Howard said the Hutton report also exonerated his Government.

Armin Meiwes, the so-called Cannibal of Rotenburg, who ate Bernd Brandes, said his willing victim had a "nice death ... I had my big kick and I don't need to do it again." Meiwes got 8 years.

Back home, the NSW Legal Services Commissioner confirmed that about 3000 people a year were complaining about solicitors who overcharged. This included an instance of a solicitor who charged for 27 hours work in one day.

The High Court found (unanimously) that a solicitor convicted of child molestation was still a fit and proper person to practise law.

Reassuringly, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 93 per cent of people who go to trial in higher criminal courts are ultimately found guilty.

The NSW Court of Appeal judge Roddy Meagher retired in style at a packed ceremony. A day after being "overwhelmed" by many kind words, he described former attorney-general Daryl Williams as "a log" and the Chief Judge of the District Court, Reg Blanch, as a "numbers man ... presiding over a sausage machine court".

The first national survey of its kind showed that more than 10 per cent of adults had been sexually harassed at work. "That's a lot of people having their buttocks grabbed or breasts rubbed," commented the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Pru Goward.

A Queensland Business Women's breakfast gave former chief magistrate Di Fingleton a standing ovation. "I don't feel people would spend good money to listen to someone who's disgraced," she said. Lleneen Forde, a former Queensland governor, thanked Fingleton for her speech, adding, "S**t happens."

An Aboriginal woman wearing a possum skin pointed the bone at the Prime Minister over his Government's decision to scrap ATSIC. Nothing happened.

Child molestation investigators seized Michael Jackson's underpants from a warehouse in New Jersey.

Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, personally approved a "handful of non-doctrinal" interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay.

Meanwhile, Private Lynndie England, 21, who was photographed smiling and holding an Iraqi prisoner on a leash in Abu Ghraib prison, explained to US military investigators she was just "having some fun during the night shift".

Al-Qaeda supporters detained in Saudi Arabia advised others to give themselves up. "I swear to God [the jailers] are nicer than our parents," said Othman al-Amri.

Samantha Kane, 44, a transsexual, sued her psychiatrist for £186,442 claiming her sex change surgery was a mistake. Kane, formerly Iraqi-born millionaire Sam Hashimi, said she missed her p****.

New Zealand's Prime Minister, Helen Clark, said it was important for judges to be well paid "so other means of earning remuneration never crosses their mind".

Christopher Lukawski, 19, whose father was a sadomasochist, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal sexual assault and murder of a 16-year-old girl. "It would appear the father had been an unhelpful and probably damaging role model," said Justice Sally Thomas, sitting in the Supreme Court in Alice Springs.

Britain's Children Bill was amended allowing parents to be prosecuted for hitting their children so as to leave red marks lasting some hours. "Mild" smacks are not criminalised.

In another decidedly caring development, the Blair Government said it would press for legislation enabling courts to fine gardeners up to £20,000 for cruelty to snails, worms and insects.

In NSW, the sheriff reported more than 2000 people failed to turn up for jury duty last year and they were fined a total of $3.3million. "I couldn't come in because I was pissed and stoned," was rejected as a reasonable excuse.

Abbott Tout Solicitors changed its name to Abbot Tout Lawyers. A board member explained this was "in some senses a rehydration of what we already had".

A Canadian man seen by neighbours masturbating in his living room was sentenced to four months jail for committing an indecent act in public.

And finally, Sydney's free homeless persons legal service was launched with a barbecue hosted by Minter Ellison. When asked what homeless people thought of lawyers, one replied: "Scum of the earth."

Have a fabulous new year.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...