find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
In-House Legal Counsel (Mid to Senior)| Regulated Markets (Energy and Gas)
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Full PD on Request · Exciting High Impact Role
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Justice delayed is justice denied

Justice delayed is justice denied

Editor,The legal profession should continue to be dismayed at Australia’s inaction over the plight of Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks.For more than four-and-a-half years, the now 31-year-old…


The legal profession should continue to be dismayed at Australia’s inaction over the plight of Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks.

For more than four-and-a-half years, the now 31-year-old has languished in detention, in what his lawyers and family have described as harsh and often inhumane conditions.

Despite pleas from organisations such as the Law Council of Australia for Mr Hicks’ case to be resolved expeditiously and fairly, the Federal Government has continued to bury its head in the sand over the issue.

So ineffective has his own Government been, Mr Hicks has in recent months been forced to turn to Britain for assistance in resolving his lawful status.

In May, the British Court of Appeal ruled that Mr Hicks was entitled to have British citizenship. Once citizenship formalities have been resolved the way should be paved for him to invite the British Government to follow its own precedent and make representations to the US for his release.

It’s an absolute travesty that Mr Hicks has been forced to take this route simply because the Australian Government has seemingly washed its hands of his fate.

What is worse, though, is that fact that Australian authorities are doing nothing to step in and help facilitate the citizenship process. Given Mr Hicks has spent so long in detention, this seems the least that the Australian Government can do.

The Law Council recently met with UK Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith, urging the British Government to move swiftly to process Mr Hicks’ citizenship and possible shot at freedom.

This avenue out of Guantanamo Bay was also discussed when the Law Council recently met Mr Hicks’ military appointed lawyer, Major Michael Mori, at its Secretariat in Canberra.

The Law Council has no view of Mr Hicks’ innocence or guilt of any offence. That is not the issue.

The issue is the length of time he has been forced to spend in legal limbo. After spending so long behind the razor wire in Cuba, it is simply not possible for Mr Hicks to receive a fair trial, even in a properly constituted court, let alone a deeply flawed military commission

In November, it will be five years since this “misguided kid” from Adelaide was captured in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance. Five years is an awfully long time to sit behind bars not knowing your fate and without the protection of law.

The Law Council has said in the past that “justice delayed is justice denied”. No human being should be denied justice. The Australian Government needs to be reminded of that.

John North


Law Council of Australia

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Justice delayed is justice denied
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...