NSWCCL in the media

Sydney siege interviews 'could prejudice'

A number of Sydney siege survivors have reportedly signed six-figure deals to tell their stories to television networks, however legal experts have raised concerns about impacting the inquests into the deaths which are currently underway.

Former Director of Public Prosecutions and NSWCCL committee member Nicholas Cowdery AM QC raised concerns saying it could lead to the victims exaggerating their accounts to make good TV.

"There are a lot of areas of concern - moral, ethical, freedom of the press, and so on," he told AAP on Thursday.

"The part of it I'm particularly interested in is the integrity of the formal legal processes to run their course without being hampered by the sale of stories beforehand."

Article: Sydney siege interviews 'could prejudice'

Source: SBS, 22/01/2015

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'Outrage' if Bali Nine executions proceed

Bali Nine death row inmates Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are on a list of 26 prisoners Indonesia says will be executed this year, including six who will be killed this Sunday.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Stephen Blanks said the Australian government should be making it clear to Indonesia that the Australian public "regards these executions as unacceptable and unjustifiable".

Mr Blanks said it was "reprehensible" that Indonesia was resuming executions.

"The death penalty is wrong in all countries and in all circumstances," Mr Blanks said.

Article: 'Outrage' if Bali Nine executions proceed

Source: Yahoo 7, 16/11/2014

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Giving Bigots More Rights Is The Wrong Response To Charlie Hebdo Massacre

In response to the rekindled debate around section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, NSW Council for Civil Liberties Committee Member Lydia Shelley writes about Islamophobia and freedom of speech. She argues that the greater threat to Australians’ civil liberties comes from the lack of legal protections in the form of a Bill of Rights:

"Not all those who pose a threat to civil liberties and freedoms stand behind a foreign flag and hold Kalashnikovs. Some stand behind the Australian flag and promote the myth that civil liberties and freedoms need to be sacrificed in order to obtain security.

They can be persons in positions of power who seek to use freedoms and civil liberties as tools to maintain their power. They draft, and then pass, draconian legislation that strikes at the heart of democracy and the very same freedoms they are purporting to protect."

Article: Giving Bigots More Rights Is The Wrong Response To Charlie Hebdo Massacre

Source: New Matilda, 14/01/2015

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Proposed laws could ban smoking on private balconies

Proposed laws could ban Queenslanders from smoking on their balconies in apartment buildings, following on from similar tightened laws in NSW. President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Stephen Blanks, spoke to The Project:

"An owners corporation for a block of flats can regulate smoking on balconies, and perhaps should where it’s detrimentally affecting other residents who don’t want it."

Watch video: The Project, Tuesday 13 January (story from minute 3:40)

Source: The Project, Channel 10, 13/01/15

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Taser death in Bowral highlights need for independent police investigations

A man died in police custody in Bowral after a taser was used to subdue him. An investigation into his death will be overseen by the Police Professional Standards Command. President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Stephen Blanks, discussed the incident on Sunrise.

Blanks emphasised the need for police investigations to be overseen by an independent authority, and highlighted problems with the use of tasers by