Tuesday, December 8, 2009

~ justice

Australia is commonly thought of as a reasonably fair and equitable place to live, at least compared to the rest of the world. It’s considered a place where government is unlikely to commit atrocities or human rights outrages, where miscarriages of justice are inevitably righted in the face of our abiding sense of decency.

But I wonder if such attitudes are complacent, if not wildly erroneous. There has been the case of Andrew Moore, who, though apparently a rather dubious character, was separated from his family and deported to an unfamiliar land where he promptly died. Then there was Farah Jama, an immigrant, presumably from Somalia, who spent fifteen months in jail wrongly convicted of rape due to a contaminated DNA sample. And, of course, the outrageous behaviour of our state government in directing the police to make protestors’ personal files available to the company responsible for the construction of Victoria’s new desalinisation plant … and these three examples, with others, all appeared in one edition of the daily newspaper.

And of course there are the stories we never hear about.

I can imagine the plights of these victims, inured in the cold concrete labyrinth of officialdom and jurisprudence … evaluated by clerks and functionaries and faceless enablers performing their ordained duties regardless of the human cost, holding to temporal laws, guidelines and directives as if they were the underpinnings of the universe, unwilling to deviate from the code that permits them to go home at night to their secure and comfortable loungerooms to watch Packed to the Rafters in the company of their well-groomed children and their clean, functional wives and husbands … while those they have judged are marched through the cold night to meet their fates…

I guess I’m dwelling on this subject because of my own current entanglement with our legal system. In case you didn’t know, I have dropped myself into a pretty sticky situation due to a combination of ignorance and stupidity. And unfortunately the charges with which I am faced seem designed for wealthy Mafiosi from Griffith, rather than a poor sod from the suburbs who needed something in the evenings to help keep body and soul together.

I never dreamt I would find myself in jail as a result of my wrongdoings. I didn’t think anyone would be particularly fussed. But that’s where I found myself. For sixteen days. With the potential for more on the horizon. Not only that, but my family home – home to Polly for all of her seven years, home to my partner Jenny, home to my dear departed parents for most of their married lives – is at risk. Our justice apparatus, horribly, may be regarding it as equivalent to the cigarette boat of a Floridian cocaine importer …

I just hope that we don’t become one of those sad, terribly unfair stories you read in the paper and then, with time, forget.

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lily was here said...

Oh Sam. Im so so sorry to hear that.
Love and hugs xoxoxo

vitalingus said...

Hmm thinking of you and your family Sam not quite sure of the whole picture but may only the best for you and your family occur