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Folklaw 19 May

Folklaw 19 May

Offence all in the mind?Queensland’s public nuisance and offensive behaviour laws need to be dragged into the 21st century, according to a new report by the University of Queensland. The…

Offence all in the mind?

Queensland’s public nuisance and offensive behaviour laws need to be dragged into the 21st century, according to a new report by the University of Queensland. The report, on the enforcement of offensive language and behaviour in Queensland, advises police against charging people for public swearing, vomiting, drinking, urinating or defecating. Rather, offenders should be directed to health or welfare services instead of the criminal justice system. “Many homeless, Indigenous, impaired and young people in Queensland are prosecuted for being offensive when they are really just living out their lives,” said report author, UQ law lecturer Dr Tamara Walsh. Exactly. We’re not being offensive, we’re just being young.

Meanwhile, in other Queensland public nuisance news, a police officer has told the Maroochydore Magistrate's Court on the Sunshine Coast he considered the appearance of a naked man on an unofficial nudist beach “disgusting”. The 75-year-old man, originally charged in June last year with creating a public nuisance, has now been charged with wilful exposure. But what was more disgusting than mere nudity, according to the police constable, Chad McAlister, were the naked Kenneth Wenzel’s painted, multi-coloured toenails. Proving that innocently offending is not the exclusive domain of the young.

Long Serenade

Thought the Cowra Abbatoir workers were brave rebels against an authoritarian corporate giant? Imagine carrying on a crusade against your former employer for a quarter of a century. A former employee of the Japanese company Oki Electric has been staging a one-man protest against his dismissal for 25 years, according to The Japan Times. Tetsuo Tanaka was fired on 29 June 1981 and has sung protest songs in English outside the company’s factory every morning since, in a cowboy hat, what’s more. At 8am every day, Tanaka pulls up on a moped outside the factory gates in Western Tokyo, sets up a mike stand attached to a bullhorn, and begins strumming his guitar and singing at the top of his voice: “There is a wall between you and me which we can’t see. Wall of borders, wall of language, wall of history and life.”

Tanaka was fired the day after he refused a compulsory transfer order to the countryside — a common method of punishing troublesome employees in Japan.

He’s not demanding much — an admission that the company used bullying tactics, and the introduction of a proper, non-discriminatory management policy. And he wants Oki to employ him to oversee the policy. It seems unlikely, but according to Tanaka, since his firing, Oki has been unable to order a worker transferred to a far-away place. “They’re afraid they'll create another Tanaka,” he says. At least, presumably, his performance has improved after 25 years.

UK firm in unfortunate marketing balls-up

Rollonfriday reports that UK firm Barlow Lyde & Gilbert has egg on its face. Last week, the firm published a full-page advertisement in the Times of London, listing the names and companies of over 200 in-house lawyers. Readers would assume that these people were all already BLG’s clients, happy to be part of the firm’s ad campaign. But none was yet a client of the firm — though BLG apparently aspires to work for them — and no permission seems to have been sought to name them. Ironically, the ad points out that BLG could help its potential clients keep their names out of the press. Good one, fellas.

Lawyers hours impossible for football star

Frank Lampard, the English national football star, has said that he’s pleased he never became a lawyer because he wouldn’t have been able to handle the hours.

Quoted in the Saturday Times Magazine, Lampard said that his childhood dream had been to be a lawyer — “mainly because I watched LA Law on the telly”. But he’s relieved he didn’t, as all of his lawyer mates working in London have to work outrageous hours. “Some don’t get home until 7pm in the evening. I couldn’t do that,” he said. Faint solace for lawyers: next time you’re staggering in the door in the wee hours, just remember, Frank’s friends all slaved till seven.

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