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
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
View details
MP defends legal system’s ‘innocence’

MP defends legal system’s ‘innocence’

THE LEGAL presumption of innocence is increasingly being challenged by those in public life, according to federal MP Duncan Kerr.Speaking in the House of Representatives last week, Kerr said he…

THE LEGAL presumption of innocence is increasingly being challenged by those in public life, according to federal MP Duncan Kerr.

Speaking in the House of Representatives last week, Kerr said he was prompted to voice his concerns following a proposal by a government MP from NSW for legislation that would remove the right to bail for people who might be charged with “particular” offences.

The proposal raised important concerns “for all of us”, he said, and was a “grave situation”.

The reason we have bail provisions, he explained, was to ensure that those charged with serious offences met their obligation to attend court.

Bail was not refused as a form of punishment and was not granted in instances where there was a legitimate fear that someone will not meet their court obligations.

Kerr acknowledged he was speaking to a community that felt “under siege” to a degree, but he said they would betray principles they claimed to be defending if they endorsed a legal system that did not continue to act upon the presumption of innocence.

These principles included civil liberty, the rule of law and all the underlying democratic principles.

Kerr told parliament he had made his “strong remarks” because the community would be guilty of subverting its own principles if it allowed the executive or the police, by executive charge, to hold a person without review by the courts.

There is a great risk of political intervention with regard to offences which give rise to community concern, Kerr said. This is why Australia has the separation of powers — to ensure the responsibility and duty of determining a fair and just outcome rests with the judiciary, and 12 citizens selected randomly, to make judgements on guilt and innocence.

It was not for the executive or the police to make determinations that undermine the fundamental presumption of innocence, Kerr said. “We are dangerously teetering on a course close to that point at the moment.”

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

MP defends legal system’s ‘innocence’
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Violence
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...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...