Ferguson prosecutor is utilising the grand jury system to determine what, if any, prosecution should be bought against those involved in the recent Ferguson shooting.
Calls are being made for the prosecutor to recuse himself, in circumstances where there is such strong and persistent community disquiet over the actions of law enforcement in Ferguson.
An ideal way forward could be to appoint independent prosecutor to make reviewable decisions, and not leave the pressure and responsibility for objective and dispassionate decision making to an understandably distressed public.
It seems that the Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey can’t win a trick. From a celebratory cigar outside of parliament house to bring in the leanest budget in a generation to suggesting that Australia’s poorest people will not be affected by the increase on petrol excise as they “don’t have cars, [and if they do] don’t drive very far in many cases”; Jovial Joe is quickly gaining a reputation as The Grinch.
It’s easy to feel a bit sorry for Mr Hockey. I mean really who would blame someone for having a cigar after putting together something as complex and overwhelming as a federal budget and his comments about Australia’s poorest people was factually correct according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
However perception is the key in politics and it seems that the public has had enough. It is probably best to celebrate that kind of budget in private and to refrain from generalising and marginalising Australia’s poorest people with badly phrased words. Social media is awash with the phrase “other things poor people won’t do” and it seems like the once Jovial Joe is now less popular than the Christmas Grinch.
Still a day is a long time in Politics and Mr Hockey might once again rise to the lofty status of Jovial Joe, remember that only a year ago our current Prime Minister said that “no one, however smart, however well-educated, however experienced … is the suppository of all wisdom”. Indeed.
Terrible news that one of the world’s greatest actors and comedians has died today. Robin Williams died at age 63 in what news reports are saying was an ‘apparent suicide’.
In the coming days and months the tragic circumstances of his death will be revealed before the world. His publicist released a statement saying “[h]e has been battling severe depression of late. This is a sad and tragic loss.”
It is truly a sad and tragic loss and a reminder of how fragile life can be and the depth that mental illness can delve into the lives of the planets seemingly happiest people. Depression, anxiety and mental health illness traverses the lives of the rich, poor, famous and ordinary.
For now rather than dwelling on the tragedy it might be best to remember all of the happiness that Robin Williams gave to our lives in his funniest and greatest movies. For mine, Mrs Doubtfire must be one of the all time favourite for adults and children alike.
Rest In Peace Robin Williams.
Well it is almost that time folks….much like your most loved television drama the finale to the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius is back. It seems morbid to use such language to describe the murder trial of Ms Pistorious whereby Ms Steenkamp suffered such a horrible and unnecessary death and in many ways it is.
However, much like a television drama there seems no end to the speculation, innuendo and rumour. As two of South Africa’s most senior legal practitioners battle it out of the next few days to try and convince the Judge of their respective cases during the closing arguments.
It seems like an eternity since this case first started. Indeed the trial has now been going over five months and the latest delay was due to the psychological assessment of Mr Pistorious. The assessment confirmed Pistorious was now suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but said that he was not suffering a mental illness at the time of the alleged offence and therefore that cannot be used to prevent him from being held criminally responsible for his actions.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel called Mr Pistorious ‘deceitful’ and said that his evidence had been ‘on call’ and manufactured to suit his defence. It will be interesting to see what Mr Pistorious’ lawyer, Mr Barry Roux, submits during his closing address tonight (AEST) as many legal analysts fear the defence case was split into two separate (and mutually exclusive) positions during Pistorious’ time in the witness box and that the prosecution case is almost unassailable.
Time will only tell but in the meantime it is time to sit back and watch the biggest trial since OJ Simpson. Whatever the outcome of the case, it will be interesting to see what South Africa and the World make of the legal process at the end of it all. After all this was supposed to be South Africa’s demonstration to it’s people of justice system.
For related news article click here.
Senior Associate, James F. Howell today won a photography competition for a photo taken on him Snowboarding this season in Australia. (Photo Below)
When out of the Court room and the office James is a avid snowboarder and surfer.
Congratulations again to James and we hope you enjoy your new prize of a new board, boots and the works.
Beyond Blue have recently released a great campaign to highlight the ‘Invisible Discriminator’ that many Indigenous Australian’s face on a day to day basis.
The advertisement shows a number of everyday scenarios whereby Indigenous Australian’s are discriminated against. There is a person who prefers to stand up on a bus even when a person moves his bag over so there is a free seat, there is a shopkeeper who keeps his eye on a lady doing her groceries and there is a man drinking a beer at a pub whilst a group of non-Indigenous people make racist jokes across the bar.
The advertisement is a great reminder to all people that discrimination is not all about the overtly obscene racism that occurred recently on a Sydney Bus or to Swan’s great and 2014 Australian of the year Adam Goodes at a football match. The kind of discrimination portrayed in the advertisement is just as offence and more importantly just as hurtful.
Jetstar crew member warns passengers to dispose of drugs before landing in Sydney
Jetstar has confirmed a crew member warned passengers returning from the Splendour In The Grass music festival about drug-detection dogs waiting at Sydney airport.
FULL STORY HERE.
Star Trek 11: The Wrath of Judge
In an order littered with Star Trek references, a litigation strategy involving obtaining the copyright to pornographic movies and then suing people for illegally downloading them irked U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright (C.D. Cal.) to the extent that he levied hefty sanctions against those involved in various misdeeds.
According to Judge Wright, the plaintiffs had outmaneuvered the legal system:
They’ve discovered the nexus of antiquated copyright laws, paralyzing social stigma, and unaffordable defense costs. And they exploit this anomaly by accusing individuals of illegally downloading a single pornographic video. Then they offer to settle—for a sum calculated to be just below the cost of a bare-bones defense. For these individuals, resistance is futile; most reluctantly pay rather than have their names associated with illegally downloading porn. So now, copyright laws originally designed to compensate starving artists allow, starving attorneys in this electronic-media era to plunder the citizenry.
The following findings of fact flesh out the situation a bit more:
2. AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 have no assets other than several copyrights to pornographic movies. There are no official owners or officers for these two offshore entities, but the Principals are the de facto owners and officers.
3. The Principals started their copyright-enforcement crusade in about 2010, through Prenda Law, which was also owned and controlled by the Principals. Their litigation strategy consisted of monitoring BitTorrent download activity of their copyrighted pornographic movies, recording IP addresses of the computers downloading the movies, filing suit in federal court to subpoena Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) for the identity of the subscribers to these IP addresses, and sending cease-and-desist letters to the subscribers, offering to settle each copyright infringement claim for about $4,000.
4. This nationwide strategy was highly successful because of statutory copyright damages, the pornographic subject matter, and the high cost of litigation. Most defendants settled with the Principals, resulting in proceeds of millions of dollars due to the numerosity of defendants.
An apparent Star Trek fan, Judge Wright began his order imposing sanctions by quoting Spock from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
Not sure of the exact relevance of this quotation. Was he referring to the needs of the many for illegally downloaded porn?
He continued mining the Star Trek vein at various parts of the order, stating, for example, that “though Plaintiffs boldly probe the outskirts of law, the only enterprise they resemble is RICO. The federal agency eleven decks up is familiar with their prime directive and will gladly refit them for their next voyage” and “[i]t was when the Court realized Plaintiffs engaged their cloak of shell companies and fraud that the Court went to battlestations.”
Order Issuing Sanctions, Ingenuity 13 LLC v. John Doe, Case No. 2:12-cv-8333-ODW(JCx), May 6, 2013, U.S. District Ct., Central District of California. Thanks to Michael Kong.