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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dont it always seem to go...

...that you don't know what you've got til it's gone

Big Yellow Taxi

This blog has opined and warned against the erosion of one of the world's greatest traditions and civic structures - Trial by Jury. Now Queensland is leading the Australian charge. This from the state who imprisoned, just a few short years ago, its own Chief Magistrate when its own legislation prohibited such a thing. Seems to me that the Chief Justice of Queensland, the Hon Paul de Jersey AC, may have been asleep at the wheel on that one. One hopes that he - and a few others on the Queensland Bench and at the Queensland Bar - were appropriately embarrassed when the High Court of Australia quashed Queensland's verdict.

Now Queensland has taken the plunge to erode its citizen's rights to Trial by Jury - and it may have given opportunity for Jayant Patel, the defendant in one of the most serious matters to come before the Queensland Supreme Court, to opt for a trial by a judge alone.

One day, when there are no juries, when parliaments have accrued to themselves every bit of power over our lives that they desire, when there are no trade unions at all, and banks and other forms of usury take all our money and we all have casual-no-penalty-rates jobs, I hope someone can still find an old Joni Mitchell song to provide an anthem for our memories.

When you can do nothing else: bear witness.