|Aaron Kernaghan- Principal Lawyer
Kernaghan & Associates Lawyers
Every December I’m asked questions along the lines of, “what sort of crimes come up over the holiday period?” Surprisingly the answer seems less to do with the season and more to do with the weather.
Ask any lawyer, they tend to give the same observations about Christmas. There is often an increase in domestic abuse, alcohol fuelled public disorder, burglary and sexual assault. But there were also more incidents of harassment and stalking, due to people trying to rekindle old relationships. Advertising tells us there is a lot of drink driving and drink-fuelled assaults. But not far underneath the surface is a lot of theft.
There is always the tales of Christmas trees being well-lit beacons for easy pickings for thieves and burglars (something that has been increasingly met by security cameras, devices and increase Police presence in the streets).
But the true tale of the season lies in the message that whenever a lot of humans come together for a large amount of celebration and feasting, there is going to be an increase in some of the dramas that have the time to unfold when people aren’t hemmed in by work and other commitments on their time. Dramas lead to confusion and people can end up misinterpreting the best of intentions.
Whatever the fun and games of Christmas, one thing is true – hot weather equals increased thirst. In many parts of the world, that means increased alcohol consumption. As countless studies tell us, that’s a recipe for increased crime, particularly among family.
But the real story this Christmas will lie in the efforts of NSW Police as they patrol the roads and highways, making it a little easier for Santa’s sleigh to navigate the holiday traffic.
When I first started practicing law, a very wise senior lawyer gave me a tip about Christmas, Santa obeys all the road rules but even he carries his lawyers business card with him. “Why is that?” I asked and the response was sage advice –
“Because at this time of the year, no matter how hard you might try to do the right thing by everyone, other people can still get the wrong end of the stick. In which case a law-abiding Santa becomes a bearded suspected Motorcycle Gang member wearing loud club colour, cruelly tethering a bunch of Arctic-habitat, non-domesticated animals to an unregistered and uninsured, highly-modified vehicle while attempting to burgle houses by entering them through unsecured chimneys in a brazen act of wilful home-invasion.”
Even Santa has his lawyer on stand-by.