The appalling state of affairs concerning Roberto Laudisio Curti is currently the subject of an inquest. Of worthwhile consideration for every citizen, is the conduct of NSW Police, who are being cross examined by the incredibly capable Peter Hamil SC.

Police use what tools they are given, and perhaps they discard those they already have. One rarely hears of the use of the extendable baton these day (as one example).

Full coverage here.

But Officer, I was using my IPAD to direct me…

So we know you can’t have a mobile telephone up to your ear while driving. The law says so and most importantly, talk back radio tells you so.

But what about an iPad? Probably you shouldn’t have an iPad anywhere near your ear at any time really, especially not in a motor vehicle and particularly not when driving. But is there any circumstances where you can be using an iPad while driving?

Perhaps there is: Although “mobile phone” is not defined in the Road Rules, from a reading of Road Rule 300, which defines “use” to include holding the phone near the ear, or writing or sending text messages, it is unlikely that an iPad would fall under the definition of “mobile phone”.

Road Rule 299 also says you can’t have a TV or something similar while driving. The rules use the words “visual display unit”. What those terms actually mean is left unsaid. 

Pragmatically, an iPad is a visual display unit – it visually displays things.

However, Rule 299 says that the rule against visual display units doesn’t apply if that unit is, or is part of, a “drivers aid” (which includes navigational aids like satnav or GPS). Seems this could extend to Google Maps, WhereIs and any other navigation app able to be utilised on the iPad.

For the prosecution, proving the iPad was not being used for one of these purposes could be a challenge.

However, you should never use an iPad while driving. If a driver is distracted using their iPad and then swerves or drives in a negligent or dangerous manner charges can flow – and those charges can involve significantly more trouble than the fines and demerits points loss on a using mobile phone penalty notice. 

James Howell

This is not legal advice and should not be relied on as legal advice. The information provided is the opinion of the author. You should seek individual legal advice about your particular matter and this information is not to be relied on. 

Review Time for AG

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon says the Government will reassess the case of the Sri Lankan man who won a High Court victory after being given a negative security assessment by ASIO.

The 36-year-old Sri Lankan man had been found to be a refugee, but was refused a protection visa after the ASIO assessment.

He has been detained for the past three years and is one of 55 other refugees in a similar situation.

He took the matter to the High Court, which on Friday ruled that the public interest test, which is used to reject visa applications on security grounds, is invalid because it is inconsistent with Australia’s Migration Act.

The refugee’s lawyers say he should be released as soon as possible, along with all other refugees who are being detained indefinitely.

But Ms Roxon says the man will remain in detention while Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and the Department of Immigration make a new decision on his application for a protection visa.

“The case has upheld the process that ASIO has undertaken for its adverse security assessment, but it found one of the migration regulations to be invalid. That means that the particular plaintiff has to have his case reassessed,” she told 7.30.

“The consequences for others will depend on circumstances for each of those, and of course the Government is carefully considering and will quickly consider implications for the 50 or so people who are in similar circumstances.”

She says the man can still have the ASIO assessment used against him as he applies for a protection visa.

“What the decision has declared invalid is a migration regulation that says you are not allowed under any circumstances to give a visa to someone who has an adverse security assessment,” she said.

“The judges say the decision now has to be remade with respect to this one individual and they explicitly say by a majority that he is to remain in detention while that is done.”

The Federal Opposition says it believes new immigration laws are needed to combat the High Court’s decision.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says the ruling could allow people who are a security risk to get visas.

He says he will support any new laws to protect national security.

More, plus video of the high court here.


Radical Muslim preacher Abu Hamza and four other men have exhausted their attempts to block their extradition from Britain to the US to face terrorism charges.

Last month, the European Court of Human Rights ruled the five terror suspects could be extradited, but the High Court ordered the British government to halt their removal while it heard their final appeals.

The High Court has now rejected their requests, saying Hamza and the four other suspects failed to show “new and compelling reasons” as to why they should not be sent to the US.

The men are now on a flight to the US where they will be incarcerated in a high security jail in Colorado, known as the Alcatraz of the Rockies.

Hamza, 54, who turned London’s Finsbury Park Mosque into a training ground for jihad, is charged with setting up a terrorist camp in Oregon.

He has also been accused of aiding in the abduction of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998.

One demonstrator outside court held up a sign, “Honk if you want Hamza out”.

The High Court judges rejected an eleventh-hour plea by Hamza to delay the process further on health grounds.

They said the sooner the Islamist preacher is put on trial, the better.

Judge John Thomas said: “The applications by all five claimants must be dismissed. It follows that their extradition to the United States of America may proceed immediately.”

Fellow terror suspects Khaled Al-Fawwaz, Syed Tahla Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Babar Ahmad were also denied an injunction.

Ahmad and Ahsan, both British nationals, are accused of operating websites supporting Chechen and Afghan insurgents.

The case has outlasted six British home secretaries and has seen UK prime ministers and US presidents come and go.

Hamza, who wears a hook where his right hand once was, has been in prison for eight years after being convicted in Britain of inciting hatred.

Fawwaz and Bary have been in prison without trial since 1999, while Ahmad has been behind bars since 2004 and Ahsan since 2006.

More here.


Man to face court over stolen pythons

A man has been charged over the alleged theft of snakes from a zoo in the New South Wales Hunter Valley. Police say they searched the man’s home on Elizabeth Street, Abermain, on Thursday and found four pythons.

It is alleged three of the snakes were among those stolen from the zoo in September.

Yesterday afternoon police arrested the 19-year-old at his home.

He was taken to Cessnock Police station and charged with a string of offences, including stealing protected fauna and possessing an unauthorised firearm.
He has been refused bail and is due to appear at Maitland Local Court later today.

From ABC News Website.

Push for regulator splits Law Council

THE push to create a national system of regulating the nation’s lawyers has split the legal profession’s peak national body, the Law Council of Australia.

One of the Law Council’s key constituent bodies — the Law Society of Tasmania — has rejected the official Law Council stance and praised the government of Queensland for withdrawing from a national regulatory system that it says would have imposed extra costs on lawyers.

Chris Merritt, Legal Affairs Editor 
From: The Australian October 05, 2012