Letter from the Map
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Justinian in Adrian Hall, City Desk, Legalwise, Map of Tasmania, Tim Ellis

Ellis hanging on for pre-Christmas appeal decision ... Law Society misses out on seminar bonanza ... Solicitor involved in toilet scuffle now on trial for tickling the till ... The Map of Tasmania 

Bearing-up in the Apple Isle

Regency period

Things are bubbling along beautifully in The Map. Chinese president Xi Jinping was greeted by a Tassie Devil and Madam Peng Liyuan was presented with a purple lavender-scented toy bear at Hobart airport. 

Taswegians couldn't have been more proud as local law shops leaped aboard the China Free Trade Express, rushing to open branches in Zhengzhou, Changchun and Qingdao. 

Legal academics have been dancing in the street following Prof. Kate Warner's appointment to Government House. The new governor is keen on Tasmania's national parks and bushwalking, which makes us wonder how her elevation slipped past kingmaker Erich Abetzz, who would like to do away with as much bush as possible. 

Naturally, there is a lot of grieving that CJ Alan Blow wasn't sent to the pile on Lower Domain Road because if that had happened there would have been an opportunity for food blogger Stephen Estcourt to seize the judicial crown. 

Meanwhile, Timsy Ellis is hanging on for word from acting justice David Harper who was brought in from Victoria to hear the appeal against the DPP's conviction for negligent driving causing death. 

Viceroy-in-Waiting with Willy Hodgman

Ellis hired Yarra barrister Paul Holdenson as his brief, while NSW deputy DPP John Pickering put the crown's case. 

Pickering, in August, drew a pointed comment from the High Court for his submission in Honeysett v The Queen 

The High Court quashed Honeysett's conviction for armed robbery and said, start again.

The problem was prosecution evidence from a professor of anthropological and comparative anatomy, Maciej Hennenberg, who examined the characteristics of "Offender One" - picked up on CCTV. 

During the robbery Offender One was covered, save for a small gap between sleeve and glove. 

The prof told the trial that there were anatomical characteristics of the offender that matched Honeysett's wrist area. The CCA said that the prof's evidence was admissible because it was based on his "specialised knowledge", within s.79(1) of the Evidence Act 

The High Court said that the expert's opinion was based on his subjective impression, which gave an unwarranted appearance of science to the prosecution case. The evidence did not fall within the "opinion exception" under the Act and it was an error to admit it. 

Pickering told French CJ, Kiefel, Bell, Gagler and Keane that specialist evidence given at the trial had only been adduced to prove the appellant was not excluded as Offender One. 

However, that was not the basis on which it was submitted at the trial. 

The High Court said: 

"In this court the respondent submitted the fact that Professor Henneberg's evidence had been adduced to prove that the appellant was not excluded as Offender One. The submission should not go unremarked. The contention that Professor Henneberg's evidence was adduced to prove no more than that the appellant could not be excluded as the offender was not the basis on which it was tendered. As earlier noted, the evidence was admitted as an item of circumstantial evidence to support a conclusion of identity. This was the use made of the evidence by the prosecutor at the trial. In her closing address, the prosecutor took the jury through each of the physical characteristics of Offender One identified by Professor Henneberg ..." 

Unfortunately, none of this information about the respondent's counsel in his appeal is much direct help to Timsey. 

Cash moves across Bass Strait 

The massive Legalwise 10-pint all-day seminar last week in Hobart left many locals seething.  

Why isn't the local Law and Order Society running these seminars rather than a private enterprise outfit that sees profits leave the island kingdom and head back to Sydney (apart from a "percentage of each registration" going to the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience)? 

Hords of Tassie bigwigs were roped in to vent their expertise: David Gunson on ethics, Justice Helen Wood on drafting affidavits, Ass J Steve Holt on interlocutory applications, etc. 

A gift of a flash bottle of wine would have got the presenters to the podium, while the punters had to stump up $595 for the 10 points. 

Knocking off an entire year's worth of CLE in one day for under $600 rather makes a joke of the concept ongoing professional education. 

But the real angst is that the money doesn't stay in cash-strapped Taswegia. 

Allegation that solicitor tickled the till 

Hall: on his way to court

Why don't they leave Adrian Hall alone? 

Last time we reported on poor Adrian he was pitted against the cruel machinery of the Legal Aid Commission, so much so that he promised to act pro bono for a Devonport man accused of murdering someone on Christmas Day. 

Justice Stephen Estcourt later slotted the accused for 21 years, with 12 on the bottom. 

The same report mentioned that Hall has also been involved in a domestic dispute and pleaded not guilty to three counts of common assault and 24 charges of breaching police family violence orders.

It related to an alleged Christmas Eve domestic rumble in 2012 as a result of which he was accused, among other things, of grabbing his ex-partner by the ankles and pulling her off the toilet.

Now there's a fresh dispatch from northern Tassie that Hall is on trial accused of nicking $18,000 from Grant Tucker's Launceston law shop

Who said things were quiet in The Map? 

Article originally appeared on Justinian: Australian legal magazine. News on lawyers and the law (http://justinian.com.au/).
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