This group focuses on the laws, policies and practices relating to the criminal justice system, police powers, and the legal rights of persons with mental illness. In broad terms the group advocates for the protection of the fundamental rights and liberties of citizens (including the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial) in the justice system. These liberties and rights are currently under pressure from governments.
Last year David Heilpern a senior NSW Magistrate inferred that there were possible collateral (political) reasons for a police prosecution against two coal seam gas protestors on the North Coast.
In November the Council wrote to both the Ombudsman and the Minister for Police calling for an investigation into the issues involved which go to the very heart of the administration of criminal justice in NSW. Copies of the correspondence are attached. No response has been received from the Police Minister. Council members met with the deputy Ombudsman and a principal investigator from that office in December last year. No information has yet been forth coming.
The Council will not let this rest and will be seeking a further meeting with the Ombudsman upon the return of the principal investigator at the end of April.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties expresses its disappointment with the report on Oversight of Police Critical Incidents by the former Commonwealth Attorney-General Robert McClelland, which was released on 22 January.
That report not only rejected the calls for reform of the current investigative process, which involves police investigating police, but makes recommendations which have the potential to undermine the two regulatory bodies set up following the Wood Royal Commission to protect the public-- the Police Integrity Commission and the NSW Ombudsman.
Submission: NSW Ombudsman's review of the use of the consorting provisions by the NSW Police Force - Division 7 Part 3A of the Crimes Act 1900
NSWCCL has made a submission to the NSW Ombudsman's review of the use of the consorting provisions by the NSW Police Force - Division 7 Part 3A of the Crimes Act 1900 - November 2013.
The current NSW consorting laws impinge on human rights to a degree that far exceeds any benefit that may be obtained from them. The NSW Ombudsman is currently reviewing the police use of these laws, these laws should be repealed and/or radically amended.
Read our full submission
NSWCCL has made as submission to the Senate Inquiry on the Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013.
We make the same comments on proposed section 474.40(2) as we did on the corresponding section in the previous version of the Bill. As argued previously, intending to commit a crime is not itself a crime, and should not be made a crime. If crimes have occurred, they are what a person should be charged with. If they haven't, a person should not be charged for what he or she merely has in mind as a plan.
NSWCCL recommends that this Bill should be rejected.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties opposes the NSW Government’s proposal for mandatory sentencing for “one-punch” assault causing death with drug and alcohol related factors.
The proposed new laws will mean that persons found guilty of drug and alcohol fuelled “one-punch” assaults causing death will be subjected to a mandatory minimum sentence of 8 years in jail with a maximum of 25 years. Mandatory sentences for “one-punch” assaults have already been enacted in West Australia and the Northern Territory.Read more
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties today labelled the State Government response to the Law Reform Commission report on bail a “major disappointment”.Read more
NSWCCL has made a submission to the Select Committee on the Partial Defence of Provocation.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties reiterates its opposition to any significant changes to the existing partial defence in the absence of a compelling case to the contrary.
NSWCCL has made a submission to the Criminal Law Review at the Department of Attorney General and Justice regarding the Inquiry into the right to silence of an accused person
The proposed bill will abolish the right of an accused person to decline to answer questions by police without any adverse inferences being drawn in a subsequent trial by the prosecution or the court. To propose that silence implies guilt or prevarications is irrational and contrary to the fundamental principle of the presumption of innocence.
NSWCCL has made a Submission to the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety regarding the Inquiry into Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011
The submission raises a number of concerns, particularly the sharing of Australian information with foreign law enforcement agencies who may support torture/death penalty or may otherwise not employ appropriate protection and security measures concerning the highly sensitive and private nature of prospective data.
NSWCCL has made a submission to the Acting Director General at the Department of Attorney General and Justice regarding the statutory review of the Graffiti Control Act 2008 (NSW).
The submission questions the impact of harsh penalties such as imprisonment for a relatively minor offence, particularly on predominantly young perpetrators. It also addresses the Act's allowal of the removal 'graffiti' from private property provided that it is visible from a public place - this is an intrusion upon the owners right to property, owners should be free to paint their property or have it painted as desired without third party interference based on a subjective evaluation of the artwork/decoration.