14 November 2008

Court systems 'hampering right to know'

The public's fundamental right to know is being threatened by inconsistent and unnecessary procedures in many of Australia's courts, a new report has found.

A coalition of major media organisations has repeatedly voiced frustration at being denied court documents or blocked from reporting on court cases by vague and indefinite suppression orders.

The organisation, Australia's Right to Know (ARK), released its most recent publication: The Review of Suppression Orders and Access to Court Documents in Australia.

ARK, representing 12 media organisations, canvassed the views of court reporters, media lawyers, court registrars and public information officers in its 121-page report.

News Ltd chairman John Hartigan accused the legal system as being part of the problem.

"The judiciary is often critical of media reports of court proceedings," he said.

"But the issue is that reporters are being hampered in getting quick and accurate information from some courts."

Journalists are routinely denied evidence tendered in court even though state and federal laws deem the information to be in the public domain, the report's author Prue Innes said.

"There are huge interstate variations. We might only guess why this might be but we're unable to say."

Various laws already exist to protect the identity of witnesses, including sex-abuse victims, children and undercover police officers.

But legal teams on both sides apply for suppression orders for many other reasons so as not to prejudice current or future trials.

The number of suppression orders made in Australia grew from 607 in 2006 to 678 in 2007.

However, the lack of a formal register of the orders suggests the actual figures could be much higher, Ms Innes said.

ARK said according to the NSW judicial system, only nine orders were made in the first half of 2008, and all of them came out of the Supreme Court.

"There were doubtless others made but as statistics are not kept the picture is incomplete," the report said.

The majority of orders had no sunset clause and many were so vague that media organisations were limited in what they could write, it said.

The ARK report recommends suppression orders be clear, specific and with no wider scope than necessary.

Whenever possible orders should include a sunset clause so they expire automatically or should otherwise state why the order should be indefinite.

Courts that do not have a public notification system for suppression orders should establish one.

On the issue of media obtaining court exhibits, the report recommends "courts adopt a procedure based on a presumption of access" so journalists receive the requested documents promptly.

"It's not a lot of use getting stuff days or weeks out from the event," Ms Innes said.

The report also recommends trialling the use of television cameras in court cases and the use voice recorders by journalists to assist with accurate reporting.

No laws exist to prohibit such devices leaving the decision to the judge.

The ABC's managing director Mark Scott said it was time to step out of the dark ages.

"It's absurdly old-fashioned that we still have to rely on artists' sketches of defendants, and scrum for images outside court," he said.

14 Nov 2008

13 November 2008

Aussie retail staff among top thieves

Australian retail staff have the world's greatest propensity for theft from their employer, costing the industry almost $3 billion, a survey finds.

The second annual Global Retail Theft Barometer found Australian retailers experienced the world's highest rate of employee theft and fraud and that the illegal activity cost the sector almost $3 billion over the past 12 months.

The cost of employee theft - or "shrinkage loss" - as it is termed in the industry, is usually passed on to consumers.

The survey estimated that the shortfall cost each Australian household almost $426, the equivalent of two weeks of grocery shopping for the average household.

The study was prepared by the Centre for Retail Research, England and was published on Tuesday by Checkpoint Systems Inc, a supplier of radio-frequency electronic article surveillance systems to prevent stock loss.

Checkpoint managing director Mark Gentle said Australian retailers rarely addressed internal theft despite investing heavily in different security systems to prevent stock loss from external sources.

"Australia is sophisticated in its approach to shrinkage and a lot of work has gone on aimed at external theft," Mr Gentle said.

"This has reduced customer shop lifting by 2.05 per cent compared to last year, now the challenge is what do we do with internal theft."

Mr Gentle said the cost of retail shrinkage was borne by consumers.

"Whilst shrink is a serious threat to retailers' bottom lines, the hidden tax on consumers is an additional unfair hit, especially as they are already dealing with the strain of tightening household budgets during the economic downturn."

The study found that employee were surprisingly consistent in their choice of goods to thieve, regardless of geographic region.

They favoured razor blades, shaving products, cosmetics, face creams, perfumes, alcohol, fresh meat/expensive foodstuffs, infant formula, CDs and DVDs, fashion, electronic games, cellular phones and watches.

Retailers estimated that, on average, they lost between two and five per cent of the value of new product lines to theft.

Popular products such as Harry Potter books, electronic games and recent DVDs experienced loss levels of up to eight per cent, causing supply shortages.

The theft survey was based on data from a confidential surveys of 920 large retailers worldwide, with combined sales of $US814 billion ($A1.22 trillion).

money.ninemsn 11 Nov 2008

Technically, the statement above (Aussie retail staff among top thieves) by the mass media is deliberately misleading (false).

Corporate Crime is Australia's largest financial burden. The problem generally is that what makes light in the mass media, is only a fraction of what is going on behind closed doors.

Examples of this are as follows are only a small part of the bigger picture.

Christopher Skase (Quintex) > $1,000,000,000
Richard Pratt > $750,000,000
Alan Bond > $1,000,000,000
Telstra > $10,000,000 per annum
Rene Rivkin > $50,000,000
Henry Kaye (Eugene Kukuy) > $30,000,000
Steve Vizard $3,000,000

The LARGEST problem is that the court systems supports these types of crimes, and as put by the ABC's 7:30 Report : Alan Bond walks free. A quote taken from ketupa.net/bond.htm states it how it is : "Just one fraud committed by businessman Alan Bond was worth the same amount as every single household burglary committed in Australia over 18 months."

With ALL of the above mentioned individuals, they are SET FREE by the Australian court system.

They are only the people who take the wrap. Behind them there are others that help. If these matters were to be taken seriously, then the people behind them would be exposed, i.e. lawmakers, politicians, business executives.

Teen dead after wild Adelaide brawl

A teenage boy fatally stabbed in a wild brawl in central Adelaide was set upon by two gangs of youths, a witness says.

Another youth is in a critical condition after the brawl involving between 12 to 15 teenage boys, all of African appearance, erupted near the corner of Grenfell Street and St James Place about 3.30pm (CDT) yesterday.

"One of the teenagers has died and one is in a critical condition at the Royal Adelaide Hospital," South Australia Police spokesman Senior Constable Mick Turnbull said.

With many of the youths armed with knives the brawl spilled out across Grenfell Street.

"The fight has proceeded across the road, outside the Fleet Street newsagency (in Grenfell Street) and two teenage boys have been stabbed as a result of the fight involving a group of teenage boys," he told AAP.

A witness, who did not wish to be named, said two large groups of youths chased a boy across the road to the newsagency.

"Soon as they saw the single guy, out came knives, off came belts, and they went for him," one said.

Witnesses at the scene told reporters the fight involved a group of Sudanese youths.

An overseas student said she was inside the newsagency with her elderly parents on their first trip to Australia as the brawl erupted.

"It was terrible. This should not happen in Adelaide," the unnamed woman told News Limited.

"They (her parents) should not see this in Adelaide.

"It's very frightening. Thanks to God they (her parents) were not stabbed."

A man who administered CPR on a wounded boy, believed to be 14 years old, said the scene was chaotic.

"I came around the corner and saw a group of youths running," the unnamed man told News Ltd.

"I don't know where (on his body) he was stabbed, I was doing CPR while I was on the phone calling for help and other people were helping."

A bicycle courier said he used his shirt to stem the flow of blood from one of the wounded boys.

Blood stained the footpath and a window outside the shop, while magazine racks inside were upturned, witnesses said.

Major crimes Detective Inspector Doug Barr called for witnesses to contact police.

"One person has been arrested and is in custody, however, their connection with this incident is sketchy," he told reporters.

"The investigation is still in the very early stages and I'm unable to provide further details about that."

Traffic in central Adelaide was in gridlock for the afternoon peak as major crimes detectives closed the affected section of Grenfell Street to examine the scene.

Grenfell Street did not reopen until about 7pm.

13 Nov 2008

This is what happens when governments import trash from around the world. These people live in OUR community and trash our society, and not where the lawmakers live and work.

11 November 2008

Crimestoppers - Retail theft

The Police have recently aired a commercial on National Television about retail theft.

In the commercial they mention that people (singular or in gangs) steal from retailers to the tune of millions of dollars per year.

They also mention that as a result of the thefts, the retailers lost profit is paid for by higher prices of the products in the store, by the community.

Therefore the retailers are NOT inconvenienced in ANY way whatsoever.

Whilst there is no doubt that reducing this type of crime is of benefit to everyone, generally BIG BUSINESS DOES NOT PAY FOR IT. The large retailers, are owned by a few multinationals in Australia.

In a recent matter ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) was notified of a fraud that involved the theft of a large some of monies ($ MILLIONS per annum) by an Australian Telco from its workers, to which ASIC responded (to wipe away any involvement) that it is a contractual matter.

Generally, corporate fraud is supported in Australia, if you're part of the 'gang'.
This 'myth' that the workers have rights, is exactly that, a MYTH.