Improper practices in youth detention: a national crisis?

In the wake of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, we have been heartened to see other State and Territory governments conduct reports into the conditions of their own juvenile detention centres. However, what has emerged from these reports are chilling stories of abuse, self-harm & the …

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Why Access to Justice is Access to a Lawyer

When you think of what ‘justice’ means, your mind may turn to a familiar image of a blindfolded lady holding scales. We trust that, like those scales suggest, a good criminal justice system will afford fairness to those accused of breaking the law, ‘blind’ to a defendant’s wealth, power or status. We know better than …

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Victoria passes new legislation reversing onus of proof for child abuse matters

In recent days the Victorian government passed an Australian-first piece of legislation that signals a huge reform in how child abuse cases are to be prosecuted. Entitled the Wrongs Amendment (Organisational Child Abuse) Act 2017, it has the effect of reversing the onus of proof onto organisations accused of failing to prevent child abuse. Child …

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The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission: The Good & The Bad

Earlier this year, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (‘LECC’) replaced a number of other institutions. This includes the previous Police Integrity Commission (‘PIC’) as the central committee for oversight of police in NSW. However, the benefits for accountability and efficiency are weakened by the government’s lacklustre implementation and its failure to reform a key area …

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Peter O’Brien interviewed about Dylan Voller on 60 Minutes

Dylan Voller on 60 Minutes Last night, Dylan Voller was interviewed on Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes program. He spoke bravely about his past, the psychological impact of his detention and his hopes for the future. Peter O’Brien, Dylan Voller’s lawyer, also appeared on the program. He spoke about Dylan and the toxic environment of the youth …

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Asylum seekers on Manus Island: the new High Court case & why it’s important

In a case that could change immigration policy as we know it and provide fresh hope to refugees trapped in uncertainty, the High Court of Australia is hearing a new challenge to the Australian government’s detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. O’Brien Solicitors‘ client, the plaintiff, is a detainee who …

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Inside the Numbers: the Child Abuse Royal Commission

Catholic Church members abuse 4,444 children The mind has difficulty processing numbers that are too large. Earlier this week the Royal Commission heard that members of the Catholic Church allegedly abused 4,444 children between 1980 and 2015. The abuse of so many children is, as Dan Box of The Australian said, “criminality on a scale …

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Dylan Voller gives evidence before the NT Royal Commission

As a firm, we are extremely proud of Dylan Voller for his appearance before the Northern Territory Royal Commission. Dylan gave evidence about truly inhumane treatment he has suffered, yet remained articulate and courageous throughout. We hope that Dylan’s bravery in telling his story will lead to real change in the NT criminal justice system. …

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Indigenous crime is down, imprisonment up. Wait, what?

Indigenous crime rates are down, and down by a lot. BOCSAR has recently released statistics on the period from 2001 to 2015, which show that arrests of Indigenous people for violent offences have dropped by 37 per cent, and for property crime by 33 per cent. Amongst young Indigenous males, arrests for violent crimes have …

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