Sunday, 18 June 2017

Considering a matter for prosecution

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) prosecutes counter-terrorism matters through the Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Practice Group.

The CDPP appeared for The Queen as head of the Commonwealth of Australia in the matter of an Australian-born 18 year-old charged with plotting a terrorist act in 2015.

The young man plead guilty, was convicted of the offence in September 2016 and sentenced to ten years imprisonment with a non-parole period of seven and a half years.

In October 2016 the Commonwealth of Australia appealed the length of his sentence.

So by June 2017 the CDPP representing the Commonwealth of Australia was again in court presenting the argument for a longer sentence.

Enter two Commonwealth ministers, the Minister for Health Greg Hunt and Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge who, along with Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, proceeded to criticize the judge/s hearing this appeal in an article published in The Australian on 13 June 2017.

Mr Hunt said "the state courts should not be places for ideological experiments in the face of global and local threats from Islamic extremism….".
Mr Tudge was quoted as saying “Some of these judges are ­divorced from reality….We have a crisis on our hands with people who want to kill ­indiscriminately and yet some judges seem more concerned about the terrorists than the safety of the community.
Mr Sukkar opined It’s the attitude of judges like these which has eroded any trust that remained in our legal system…Labor’s continued appointment of hard-left activist judges has come back to bite Victorians. Our judiciary should focus more on victims and the safety of our society, and less on the rights of terrorists who don’t respect our society, its laws or our people.”

All these statements were made while the Commonwealth’s appeal was still before the Court.

Hunt, Tudge and Sukkar very belatedly withdrew their remarks but arrogantly refused to apologise for these comments when lawyers for the three appeared in the Court of Appeal in the Supreme Court in Melbourne on 16 June, to explain why they shouldn't be referred for prosecution for contempt.

In my humble opinion Messrs. Hunt, Tudge and Sukkar deserve to be referred and have the matter heard summarily by a judge as the alleged contempt was of a serious nature, freely made and offered to a national newpaper for publication by unsolicited email, committed in the course of an appeal of a judgment in a trial for serious criminal offences and, to date there has been no apology or public expression of contrition and full acceptance of the Court's authority.

UPDATE 2:06AM 18 JUNE 2017

Supreme Court of Victoria live stream of the matter of explanations as to why Hunt, Tudge and Sukkar should not be referred for prosecution for contempt:

Many thanks to Josh Bornstein for posting this link on social media.

UPDATE 4:10PM 22 June 2017

Since their original defiance Messrs. Hunt, Tudge and Sukkar have had second thoughts.

First the Prime Minister had committed the uncomfortable error of publicly defending their attack.

INTERVIEW WITH TOM ELLIOTT, Radio 3AW, transcript, 15 June 2017:

Is this unusual for three of your ministers to be hauled into court to explain themselves?

Well it certainly is unusual but it is not unusual for Victorians to express real concern about public safety in their state.
Those three ministers, yes they are ministers in my government, they are Members of Parliament but they are also citizens of Victoria and residents of Victoria and you know, as your listeners do, that there is real concern about law and order and the failure of the state government and the system in Victoria to protect people.
Look, I think it is a matter of the justice system, the legal system in Victoria, the criminal justice system is a matter of real public interest and my ministers are focused on public safety, they are working with me and the rest of our team and our agencies to do everything we can to keep Australians safe and defeat Islamist terrorism.

Will the three ministers appear in court on Friday?

I can’t answer that. I am sure they would be represented but whether they appear in person, that is a matter for them. I am not sure what arrangements they’ve made.

Then Senator Derryn Hinch added his inflammatory mite and debate on social media widened..

Finally, in the early hours of 22 June BuzzFeed posted images the three amigos had hoped would fade into oblivion when, along with offending tweets, they deleted these Facebook posts:

By late afternoon on 22 June 2017 The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

A trio of Turnbull government ministers will make an abject apology to Victoria's highest court on Friday, a week after they refused to apologise for comments critical of the judiciary.

Fairfax Media has learned that Health Minister Greg Hunt, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar have now decided to reverse course and make the special apology.

The hearing on Friday is going ahead at the request of the ministers and is designed to bring the matter to an end.

I suggest we all rememebr these faces at the next federal election....
Left to Right: Human Services Minister Alan Tudge MP for Aston, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar MP for Deakin & 
Health Minister Greg Hunt MP for Flinders

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