Allo, allo, allo …

Take a seat.

Now tell me what you were doing in 1963. In detail, please.

Is it possible that you committed an offence in 1963, a serious offence?

Tell me, sir, did you rape your wife, in 1963?

There is no statute of limitations applying to rape in Australia and that is probably a good thing. It is easy to imagine an instance where a rape occurs, is reported, investigated thoroughly (and fairly) but the assailant is unidentified. Years later, even many years later, DNA evidence emerges that identifies the culprit. Why should the criminal get away with it for no other reason than the elapse of time?

My imagination would have far greater difficulty coming up with a scenario in which a man is charged with rape, committed it is said in 1963, where the complaint is made 46 years later, and the complainant was the defendant’s wife at the time. They separated in 1969, six years after the alleged rape, and divorced in 1971. The defendant is now 81 years old, the case hinges, not on identity but on consent. How on earth can an 81 year old be fairly tried under these circumstances?

Notes.

I have relied on news articles concerning the recent High Court deliberations regarding rape in marriage, as it was understood in 1963, published by <SBS> and the <Australian>.

The SA Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935, in its current, amended form is easily found on the web. It would appear that the statute of limitations that applied after 1935 was abolished by a 1985 amendment. Could it be that a complaint in 1984 would have been out of time but a complaint in 2009 is not?

The Australian Government publishes a fact sheet on sexual assault, where we find this little gem “Gender neutral legal terminology is predominantly used to describe the victims (complainant) and perpetrators (defendant) of sexual assault.” So, to help us with the big words they make it clear that the defendant is the perpetrator – can anyone get a fair trial in Australia?

According to the fact sheet one of the reforms of the last 30 years has been the recognition that rape in marriage constitutes a criminal offence implying that in 1963 it was not.

Parliamentary pantomime …

Poor Tony. There is no mechanism for a party to “not accept” the vote of an elected member. Because he has insisted that Julia should somehow reject Mr. Thomson’s vote anyway, he now finds himself making an undignified rush to the exit.

The case is simple. If you start from a false premise, sound logic will lead you to the weirdest conclusions.

Guide to good parenting …

The Woollards are back in the news. You will recall young Luke crashed his father’s boat into a pylon whilst drunk injuring Kate Campbell. She sued, she won. Poor impoverished Luke maintains he is unable to pay. I discussed it <HERE>.

Luke has said that  he had made a stupid decision on the night of the boat crash, but had since been subjected to years of criminal and civil litigation, and suffered more adverse publicity than most murderers.

I hope that the community accepts that this is enough. I would like from now on to build a life and a career.”

There seems to be no thought of accepting the umpire’s decision, Luke dismisses it as a bad legal strategy because he will avoid paying anything, while his mother describes it as part of “a campaign to vilify her family”. Mother of course is the independent MP for Alfred Cove in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. She has taken the interesting course of writing to every member of her electorate portraying the victim of her son’s drunken folly in a bad light and arguing that the court got it all wrong.

PerthNow has the story and a copy of the letter, and carries this reaction …

Labor legal affairs spokesman John Quigley described Mrs Woollard’s letter as a “low, low act”, saying that it was unacceptable that an MP would use their office to “attack a victim of crime”.

“Her letter, from a member of Parliament, is outrageous,” he said.

“I was shocked by it, because it is an attack on a victim of crime, and there is an expectation that members of Parliament will protect victims of crime – not go around kicking them in the teeth.”

Luke’s esteemed father is the cardiologist Dr. Keith Woollard.

If Luke were seriously ill, I doubt very much if his wealthy parents would say “Shame you’ve got no money, son. You’ll have to die”.

I doubt if anyone could do more to vilify the Woollard family name than the Woollards themselves. One can only hope that the electorate remembers …

Bear with me while I go to the loo …

On my travels, I have often found the back of telephone directories to be very helpful.

In San Francisco, for example I learnt what to do in an earthquake. Very helpful stuff. In British Columbia I learnt how to avoid becoming bear food. And in Tasmania there was detailed instruction on how to use a telephone …

IT’S the last thing you expect on a quiet visit to the restroom – but a Winnipeg man was rudely interrupted when he was dragged from an outhouse by a ferocious bear.

The victim, 65-year-old Gord Shurvell, only survived thanks to a quick-thinking friend who shot the animal, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Shurvell was camping and fishing with his friend, Daniel Alexander, at a cabin by Dunbar Lake in eastern Ontario when the black bear went for him.

Shurvell told the CBC he was “sitting on the throne” in the outhouse with the door wide open so he could enjoy the view when the bear attacked, grabbing his pants.

And then it proceeded to drag him off to the woods. If you’re heading for the woods you should make noise, small bells on your belt will suffice, and carry pepper spray. The hero of this story was a black bear, generally considered to be less of a threat than the grizzly. In fact it behoves anyone heading for the woods to be well versed in the difference.

It helps to know which species is around. You should be able to recognise the scats. Brown Bears mainly eat berries and so their scats are usually full of the husks and seeds of berries. By comparison grizzly bear scats often contain small bells and smell of pepper.

Mr. Shurvell was asked if the encounter had scared the shit out of him. “No, that had already gone,” he replied.

A transparent robot …

Nicholas Stuart is a Canberra writer who, I suspect has a low opinion of our Julia …

People have made up their mind exactly who the ”real Julia” is, but instead of seeing a cuddly doll with flaming red hair they find they’re looking at a transparent robot.

Gillard’s obstinate, small-minded inability to recognise she’s not up to the job, together with her determination to cling on, ignoring the opportunity to hand over to someone actually capable of doing the job, is crippling Labor’s alternative candidates.
It seems unlikely she was being kept in the dark until the light was switched on and Chris Bowen could shout, ”Surprise!” But there is no doubt that this is the end of the road for Gillard. She is no longer part of the future story. Anything she says or does can safely be ignored as irrelevant, because instead of months we can now number her time remaining in the Lodge as a matter of weeks. The longer the transition period drags on, the worse it will be for Labor.
The article is well worth a read but, I suspect, a tad optimistic.

Vic couches best in world …

Mining jobs paying more than $4000 a week, with all onsite accommodation and meals provided, cannot lure unemployed Victorians from their couches …

Almost half of job seekers at Centrelink in Preston yesterday told the Herald Sun they would rather stay on the dole at $244 a week than take mining jobs in Western Australia.