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Judgment of the week ... Justice Ian Harrison in the NSW Supremes dismisses apprehended bias application ... Facebook posts by judge's tipstaff ... Finding that cases are decided by judges, not their staff ... Read more ... 

"Parsnips, Buttered" ... relief at a time of despair

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The Obstructionist-in-Chief ... Three Pinocchios for Billy Barr ... Mueller's 11 obstruction findings ... Charging and indicting Trump ... SCOTUS takes on cultural issues with new term cases ... Noam Chomsky on how the US political system works ... From Our Man in Washington ... Read more ... 



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Laboratory for apparatchiks ... Law school during the election campaign ... Lots of students in suits as careers in Parliament House beckon ... Party hacks starting young ... Barely Legal reports from campus ... Read more ... 

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    "It is my vision for this country as your prime minister to keep the promise of Australia to all Australians. 

    I believe that Australia is a promise to everyone who has the great privilege to call themselves Australian. It's the promise that allows Australians quietly going about their lives to realise their simple, honest aspirations." 

    Vision statement from prime minister Scott Morrison, launching the Liberal Party campaign, May 12, 2019 ... Read more flatulence ... 

    Justinian Featurettes

    Muddied oafs ... It was 1956 - Sir William Slim was Governor General, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean surfaced in Moscow and My Fair Lady opened on Broadway ... It was also the year that two teams of NSW solicitors and barristers squeezed into their footy gear and scrummed down ... Read more ... 

    Justinian's archive

    When only the victim speaks the truth ... Author Bri Lee's book Eggshell Skull scoops up another prize - this time at the Australian Book Industry Awards ... A story of childhood sexual assault ... While the book continues to collect awards, the author's view about how natural justice ought to work should be read with caution ... In 2018 we published lawyer Joanna Jenkins's review ... It's timely to reprise her concerns about the book ... Read more ... 



    « Sandalising the court | Main | Top news of the week »

    Death and taxation

    May 29 - June 5, 2017 ... Call for independent investigation of ATO deputy commissioner over tax case influence ... Jakarta class action ... Brisbane murder sentences ... Crook NSW politicians back in court ... St Paul's College begging to be forgiven ... Week@TheKnees 

    Fairfax Media reported that Michael Crowley, a deputy commissioner of taxation, had been investigated by the ATO's anti-fraud unit over claims he tried to influence a court case against a "high wealth individual".  

    The deputy commissioner was cleared, but one officer from the team who claims to have been ordered by to drop the case wants a "proper and independent investigation". 

    The approach to Crowley about the case was made by a partner of KPMG. 

    Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan told a session of budget estimates that approaches are made to the ATO "everyday" by accounting firms. 

    *   *   *  

    Alleged tax fraudster Philip Egglishaw, whose activities sparked Operation Wickenby, the long-running ATO investigation, has been arrested in Italy after trying to cross-back to the safety of his home in Switzerland. 

    Australian authorities hope to extradite him to face charges of conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth. 

    *   *   *

    A $103 million class action brought by 115 alleged child people smugglers is before a Jakarta court. 

    The plaintiffs are young Indonesians, aged between 13 and 17, who were held in Australian jails after the Australian Federal Police used a controversial and unreliable method of wrist ex-rays to determine the age of the detained youths. 

    Australia has requested the court dismiss the proceedings but will not be represented in the case. 

    The plaintiffs are suing the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the AFP, the Commonwealth DPP and the Attorney General's Department. 

    The Indonesian lawyer for the juveniles said that his clients were minors who were put into adult gaols with hardened criminals.   

    *   *   *

    Applegarth: justice at lastA couple of Brisbane killers were given life in gaol after being found guilty of the deaths in 1974 of Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters, Vicki and Leanne. 

    Vincent O'Dempsey, 78, was found guilty of murder, while Garry Dubois was guilty of Barbara's manslaughter and the rape of murder of her two daughters. 

    Justice Peter Applegarth told the prisoners: 

    "At least three things have ensured justice at last. First, the dedication of police. Second, the testimony of dozens of witnesses. Third, the conscience and courage of some key witnesses at each of your trials. 

    You can have no expectation of early parole. If you maintain your silence over where the bodies are buried you could not reasonably expect to ever be granted parole." 

    Dubois attempted to talk while he was being sentenced and the judge responded by saying: "You had your chance at trial, now shut up". 

    O'Dempsey's trial heard that the motive for killing Mrs McCulkin was that he was concerned she might implicate him over the firebombing of the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub in 1973, causing the deaths of 15 people. 

    Queensland attorney general, Yvette D'Arth, has ordered a new inquest into the nightclub fire.  

    *   *   * 

    Justice Christine Adamson sentenced Ian Macdonald, 68, former NSW Labor minister and crony of Eddie Obeid, to 10 years in prison for corrupt conduct in public office. He is to serve at least seven years. 

    An appeal has already been flagged. 

    Macdonald had granted a multi-million coal exploration licence to a company chaired by CFMEU boss John Maitland. 

    The deal was clinched at a long dinner at the Catalina restaurant and announced on Christmas Eve 2008. 

    Macdonald's own department had recommended against the "invitation-only" selection process for the Doyles Creek mine. 

    The arrangement was dressed up as a "training mine" for union members, but once he had secured the licence Mainland sold the rights over the coal deposits and promptly became a multi-millionaire. 

    There was no evidence that Macdonald had benefited from the arrangement, with Justice Adamson saying in her three hour sentencing judgment that it was an "arbitrary exercise of power". 

    *   *   * 

    On Monday (June 5), Eddie Obeid's lawyers were in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal arguing that their man should not have been found guilty of misconduct in public office as a result of secretly importuning bureaucrats about his cafes and take-away food shops at Circular Quay.  

    Guy Reynolds led the submissions for the appellant, saying the jury was misdirected that the former Labor MP owed a "legal duty" to act in the public interest. 

    Reynolds said there was no such "duty of law", only a "mere matter of conscience ... a duty of imperfect obligations". 

    The other line of argument is that the courts do not have the jurisdiction to hear allegations of MPs' misconduct in public office as this is the "exclusive cognisance" of parliament. 

    The five member bench includes chief justice Tom Bathurst. 

    *   *   * 

    St Paul's: harpoonedThe NSW government has flagged the prospect of legislation to end the self-governing status of colleges at the University of Sydney. 

    This follows the latest drama at St Paul's College, in which there was a post on the college's Facebook page comparing women to "harpooned whales" who should be slayed. 

    This is just one of a number of denigrating remarks coming from the college. To make matters worse the warden of St Paul's, Ivan Head, responded by saying that college men had to be careful because, "some things may resurface just when you need your best CV to work for you". 

    He then added: "But the primary message driving this has to be 'respect for women: now-always'." 

    This has not impressed the vice chancellor Michael Spence, or the minister for education Rod Stokes, who wants to know what options the government has in relation to colleges. 

    St Paul's under the previous council chairman, Bruce McWilliam, refused to cooperate with Elizabeth Broderick's review of college culture and the treatment of women. 

    Following the latest outrage and threats from the government, the college council is on its knees begging to be allowed to participate in the Broderick review, which by now has nearly completed all its consultations.  

    *   *   * 

    Pauline's plane: a gift or a purchase?James Ashby, the One Nation Svengali, has asked lawyers to seek a court order to prevent the ABC from broadcasting covert recordings of incriminating conversations between the party's senior brass. 

    Much of the embarrassment concerns the light plane that ferried Pauline Hanson around at the last federal election and which was piloted by Ashby. 

    The suggestion from the party's former national treasurer, Ian Nelson, is that the plane was purchased with money from a property developer, Bill McNee, and his gift has not been declared. 

    In any event, the provenance of the aircraft is mired in conflicting explanations. Hanson said it had been lent to the party, while Ashby insists he bought the plane for recreation and his printing business - a business that is at the heart of other allegations about gouging One Nation candidates for printing costs. 

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