Friday, 14 August 2009

Waiting for a judge

Initial reaction to proposed changes to security laws announced this week by Attorney General Robert McClelland has split very nicely between those who think the government is going soft on would be terrorists and those who think it is toughening things up. Those commentators in the going soft camp point to the reduction in the number of days a suspected terrorist can be held without being charged with an offence or let go. The getting tough school point to the suggestions that the federal police be allowed to enter a property without a search warrant if they believe something untoward is under way.

Personally I’m with those who see the balance being shifted against the police a little rather than in their favour with the reduction in the number of days available for investigation and interrogation being of more significance than doing away with judicial approval for the issuing of a search warrant but that view is no doubt coloured by my own past personal experience. The last time my house was raided by the federal thumpers searching for evidence (some 40 years ago now) the police had no trouble finding a Justice of the Peace to sign their bit of paper.

Without a doubt they have their own little list of those who are most likely to co-operate in matters like that and I doubt that there are m,any requests that are ever refused. In the case of my house the warrant was later found by a proper judge to have been illegal for not specifying exactly what was being searched for and what evidence had been found had to be handed back making a prosecution impossible.

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