It has been widely reported that Schapelle Corby will be paid between two and three million dollars for an exclusive interview with Channel Seven. This has outraged many in the community who hold the view that she should not be entitled to profit from her illegal activities. Similar complaints were made when David Hicks and Chopper Read published books. See this link for my public contribution to this debate.
“In the little world in which children have their existence… there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt as injustice.” (Charles Dickens)
Today, the LNP government introduced into parliament the “Youth Justice and other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014”. The Bill proposes significant changes to the way in which the courts and our community treat children. Among the proposed law reforms include the removal of imprisonment as a last resort and secondly, the removal of prohibitions on the publication of child offenders (a green light for “naming and shaming” kids). The Bill has been referred to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee for consideration.
Yesterday’s comments by Premier Campbell Newman represent a dangerous and unprecedented attack upon hard working members of the legal profession. Newman suggests that lawyers are part of the bikies “criminal gang machine”. In saying this, he suggests that solicitors facilitate the commission of criminal offences.
As a solicitor of this State, I find these comments deeply disturbing. They strike at the very heart of the profession’s reputation and trust among the community. Both the President of the Queensland Law Socety and the Queensland Bar Association responded publicly and quickly. This was very good to see given that a failure to publicly respond to such serious allegations would potentially, leave those in the community believing that there is some truth to these ridiculous claims. The reality is that lawyers are subject to onerous ethical obligations owed to the court. Lawyers are officers of the court.