Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sad, sad, sad.

"Say goodbye to your children... you will never see them again", Arthur Freeman's words before he threw his daughter Darcy from the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne.



kc said...

Hang 'im. Hang him HIGH.

Oh, wait, Australia doesn't have the death penalty. Crap.

Ok, maybe send him to France.

I sound smartass, but this story just made me sick. My Pixie turned 2 yesterday and is a real joy to all who know her.

Maybe they could let ME take care of him for awhile...

kae said...

Hi kc
I don't think you can say that while the trial is on.

Kaboom said...

Kae, it's not a trial, it's a Committal Hearing.

This is where a Magistrate assesses whether there is a case that can reasonably be put to a jury.

However, it is still "sub judice", and a person could be found in contempt of Court by commenting (or publishing comments) on a case. The "sub judice" period basically starts at arrest, and continues until final determination of guilt or innocence.

However, I am a mere unemployed basket-weaver, and I defer to the much more robust opinions of Jeremy Sears and others on this issue.

kc said...

Kaboom, would that include my 'opinion' posted here? Even though I'm not in Australia, not voting citizen, and not - yet - subject to Australia's law?

Basket-weaver, eh? Love it!

Kaboom said...

kc, it doesn't really matter if someone is overseas, what the Courts look at primarily is the likely effect on a jury.

If Mr Freeman's attempt at reducing the carbon footprint of his progeny was at the charged-with-murder-and trial-by-jury sttage, then any outside "publishing" of information (rather than mere "reporting" of facts) could be seen as an attempt to usurp the deliberations of the jury.

For instance, a defendant's prior criminal history is not allowed to be brought up in a criminal trial, unless the defendant himself gives evidence, in which case it is open to the Prosecution to cross-examine the defendant as to his previous offences.

This is why in most criminal trials, the defendant doesn't give evidence, and the Judge has to solemnly warn the jury that it is the defendant's right not to give evidence, that the defendant can rely upon the case against him, and that the jury must not take an adverse inference from the fact that the defendant declines to give evidence on his own behalf. Blah, blah, blah.

So well and good, but because most if not all jurors are chronically stupid, they fail to connect the dots......

"Chronically stupid?" you ask? Well, yes, I'm afraid so - you as a defendant are seriously putting your future liberty at stake on a decision by twelve people who are so fucking stupid that they can't get out of jury duty?

The Courts, therefore, take a dim view of something that may influence a jury.

Such as someone on a blog suggesting that Mr Freeman was charge in identical circumstances in 1995 throwing his then 5 year old son off a bridge to his death, but got off on a technicality.

A jury which acquits a defendant cannot be challenged - however, a jury which CONVICTS a defendant can be challenged on appeal, if it can be proven that information (true or false - doesn't matter) was published and available to the jury, which may have influenced the decision - such as prior convictions (or even prior acquittals as in my example above).

The net result is that the jury's verdict can be overturned by this availability of information.

Naturally, this really pisses off the Prosecutors, and they will move heaven and earth to charge the person or persons who disseminated the information.

Hence, even though you are not in Australia, you could well be charged if there is likelihood that a jury full of imbeciles could be swayed by whatever information you publish.

However, you should really ask a robust profesional lawyer like Jeremy Sears about these things, because I am merely an unemployed basket-weaver, and have no idea about which I speak.