It seems like only yesterday that we were subjected to one of the most ignominious days in the history of our State Parliament. When led by SA-BEST, our politicians, to the utter disbelief and dismay of the SA public, decided that they would no longer be answerable to the ICAC for mismanagement or maladministration.
Asking the politicians to vote on whether they should be relieved of that scrutiny by an independent officer is like asking an accused whether he would like to have a trial or would he prefer that we just forget all about it.
It’s like asking those in a prison cell whether they would like to serve out the remaining period of their sentence or would they rather go home or spend some time on the beach. The general public was rightly outraged at this, the clearest of all conflicts of interest.
But rather than learn from this transparent selfishness, SA-Best is now digging the hole even deeper. While they have successfully manipulated the position so that they can’t be investigated, it now is calling for the ICAC to be investigated! You have to give them credit for the outright hutzpah for this brilliant inversion.
This latest departure from the interests of the majority to the interests of the select few has been brought about by the suggsted mishandling of the case relating to John Hanlon. I make no comment as to the validity of the criticisms made by SA-BEST of both the ICAC Commissioner and the Director of Public Prosecutions. Clearly, if they have any force, any injustices should be rectified and remedied as far as possible.
But it is not the only answer to call for the sacking of the Commissioner and her head of investigations Mr Andrew Baker. You don’t make the ICAC stronger or better by cutting back on the very powers it was created to employ – even if it was set up in the context of politicians kicking and screaming that we didn’t need one at all.
The ICAC in South Australia was always set up to fail by a government that had no desire to see it succeed. The fact is that our politicians, especially SA-BEST, are terrified of a workable ICAC and would rather have none at all. You have to ask yourself – why?
Yet the overall impression that is created by SA-BEST’s latest stupidity is one of total hypocrisy. Our community can well we do without it.
Stephen is a King’s Counsel (KC), and has worked as Defence Counsel, Prosecutor and a Supreme Court Judge. He’s practised internationally in Hong Kong and the Solomon Islands with appearances before the courts in the United States and Asia. Heading up the Extraditions Unit in Hong Kong, he was involved in bringing some of the biggest international Drug King Pins to trial. In one year alone, he successfully prosecuted 11 murder cases and with a solid record of not having lost a major case, he won against the famous F Lee Bailey in the US.
In Australia, he has practised in Victoria and Western Australia as well as South Australia.
In short, Stephen is one of the most experienced criminal lawyers in Australia. He has a rich collection of stories to share from his “Life of Crime” as well as insights into the criminal justice system.