‘mens rea’ and Breaching Triggered Fatalities – Australia’s largest potential tort.

The Latin term ‘mens rea’ refers to the malicious aforethought involved in Breaching legislation, i.e. the legal concept that legislators either were aware off, or should have ‘reasonably foreseen,  the potentially lethal consequences of this legislation and deliberately ignored these risks.

The issue of mens rea is a critical component, both in my complaint to the ACMA regarding the actions of 7 Network producers and/or administrators in concealing Breaching triggered fatalities and in the actions of politicians, public servants, federal police officers in also concealing these fatalities. Not only does the ACMA appears to have ignored the issue of mens rea; its failure to conduct a proper investigation that was consistent with the gravity of the allegations made effectively undermined the legitimate right of the ACMA to make and then issue valid findings. The issue of mens rea culpability itself becomes an issue in examining the actions and motives of the ACMA investigators as to why they failed to conduct an investigation in a manner that was consistent with the seriousness of the two allegations involved!

 Mens rea refers to the mental element of an offence that accompanies an actus reus, i.e. the unlawful killing of a human being. In Australia the elements of the federal offences involving an Unlawful Death are now designated as “fault elements” or “mental elements” (mens rea) and “physical elements” or “external elements”  (actus reus). My complaint to the ACMA involves mens rea, i.e. the unlawful killing of welfare recipients who died after being unlawfully and/or recklessly deprived of welfare entitlements that the Federal Government is required to provided un the provisions contained in Paragraph 51 (xxiii)(a) of the Australian Constitution.

 Under traditional common law that dates from feudal times, Murder has been regarded as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought, i.e. a person commits this offense if (s) he intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual.

Thanks to lawyers, nothing is ever simple and straight forward when it comes to matters of law, especially Common Law which is perhaps the area with the most “shades of grey”. As a consequence, traditional common law definitions and the modern definitions of murder, especially the mens rea component, can be viewed from different angles.

In the traditional common law approach, the definition includes:

  1. actus reus: unlawful killing of a human being; (Breaching triggered fatalities)
  2. mens rea: malice aforethought.                        (Breaching legislation.)

Although common law originated from England, the common law in jurisdictions with laws based upon English Crown Law, e.g. the United States and Australia, with regard to culpability varies as precedents and statutes vary.

  1. Direct intention: the actor has a clear foresight of the consequences of his actions, and desires those consequences to occur. It’s his aim or purpose to achieve this consequence (death).
  2. Oblique intention: the result is a virtually certain consequence or a ‘virtual certainty’ of the defendant’s actions, and that the defendant appreciates that such was the case.
  3. Knowingly: the actor knows, or should know, that the results of his conduct are reasonably certain to occur
  4. Recklessness: the actor foresees that particular consequences may occur and proceeds with the given conduct, not caring whether those consequences actually occur or not.

In the United States, the Model Penal Code has been highly influential in clarifying the discussion of the different modes of culpability. Whilst the US definition is not a ‘Binding Legal Precedent’ when considering my complaints against both SAS 7 and the ACMA, these points are presented here because decisions made in US courts are sometimes accepted or recognized in Australian courts as “Persuasive Legal Precedents”, i.e. legal decisions that Australians courts are prepared to give serious consideration to when making their determinations and handing down their findings in cases before the courts. It is my hope that in the same spirit, the officials from the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Office who are reading this document will also give the same sort of consideration to these points in determining the merits of my complaint against the ACMA.

  1. Purposefully: the actor has the “conscious object” of engaging in conduct and believes or hopes that the attendant circumstances exist.
  1. Knowingly: the actor is practically certain that his conduct will lead to the result.
  2. Recklessly: the actor is aware that the attendant circumstances exist, but nevertheless engages in the conduct that a “law-abiding person” would have refrained from.
  3. Negligently: the actor is unaware of the attendant circumstances and the consequences of his conduct, but a reasonable person would have been aware.
  4. Strict liability: the actor engaged in conduct and his mental state is irrelevant.

Ignorance of the law and mens rea

The general rule under common law is that “ignorance of the law or a mistake of law is no defense to criminal prosecution.” In some cases, courts have held if knowledge of a law, or the intent to break a law, is a material element of an offense a defendant may use ignorance as a defense to willfulness if his misunderstanding is in good faith.

However, the members of Australia’s Federal Parliament can hardly use “ignorance of the law” as an excuse for they are the nation’s law makers. More significantly they are also the people who either played a role in making or updating the Breaching laws that were extinguished on 30th June 2009 and superseded by the current ‘Serious Compliance Failure Penalties laws which now apply. . and the members of the cut displayed a reckless disregard for the potentially lethal consequences that would have been so clearly obvious to a “reasonable person”.

“Breaching is the targeted and therefore deliberate removal of the only means of support, from people who have no other means of support, so that for a period of 3 months they are unable to meet even the most basic costs of living.” (Derived from paragraph 47 of the 2002 Welfare reform Discussion Paper.)

On 1st April 2002, Tony Abbott and Senator Amanda Vanstone released the 2002 Welfare Reform Discussion Paper. Paragraph 47 of this document described a welfare allowance as a targeted payment to financially impoverished people for the purpose of assisting these people to meet their most basic living costs.

 Any ‘reasonable person’ who thoughtfully read that statement and then placed it in the context of Breaching activity and its ‘reasonably foreseeable outcomes’ would have perceived that the definition of a welfare allowance in paragraph 47 had effectively defined Breaching as A Criminal Act of Reckless Endangerment that displayed a cold-blooded, ruthless disregard for the safety of welfare recipients.

basic living costs and mens rea. (malice aforethought)

Any ‘reasonable person’ would realize that when you deliberate prevent impoverished people from meeting their basic living costs for a period of three months, then there is a reasonable probability that there will be non-survivors, especially some of those who may have serious mental health problems or potentially life threatening problems. For people with acute or chronic health problems, the welfare allowance includes a small payment to cover the ‘basic’ cost of having to purchase medication(s). However, until recently Breaching legislation and practice totally and recklessly, ignored all of the life threatening risks associated with Breaching activity and, without any form of risk assessment, deliberately left impoverished welfare recipients totally destitute! Was that malice aforethought? Most definately!

The problem of suicide amongst the unemployed had been documented by non-government agencies, e.g. the Uniting Church, as far back as the Depression in the 1930s and consequently the danger posed to people with mental health problems was a clear, manifestly evident risk.

  1. For people with acute hypertension, the emotional shock of having their only financial means of support arbitrarily turned off carried with the clear, manifestly evident risk of triggering a fatal heart attack or a fatal stroke.
  2. For people with acute or chronic health problems that required life sustaining medication, e.g. Diabetes, Pernicious Anaemia, Asthma and a host of other life threatening medical problems, the arbitrary removal of the welfare allowance for 13 weeks was a monumentally stupid criminal act of reckless endangerment.
  3. In FY 2000-01, Tony Abbott was the Employment Minister who was legally responsible for the issuing of a staggering 346,078 Breaching penalties being issued. This represented a Breaching activity rate of approximately 3 per minute for every minute of every hour of every working day during Australian Public Service office working hours for that financial year!

Is there any of the following evident in either Breaching legislation or Breaching activity?

 Direct intention: the actor has a clear foresight of the consequences of his actions, and desires those consequences to occur. It’s his aim or purpose to achieve this consequence (death).

  • Oblique intention: the result is a virtually certain consequence or a ‘virtual certainty’ of the defendant’s actions, and that the defendant appreciates that such was the case.
  • Knowingly: the actor knows, or should know, that the results of his conduct are reasonably certain to occur
  • Recklessness: the actor foresees that particular consequences may occur and proceeds with the given conduct, not caring whether those consequences actually occur or not.
  • Criminal negligence: the actor did not actually foresee that the particular consequences would flow from his actions, but a reasonable person”, in the same circumstances, would have foreseen those consequences
  • Alternately, Recklessness means that the accused was aware the criminal act could be potentially dangerous but did not give a second thought to its consequences, for example involuntary culpable homicide.
  • Negligence: the accused unintentionally committed the criminal act by accident for one reason or another. However this tends not to be a valid excuse.
  • Purposefully: the actor has the “conscious object” of engaging in conduct and believes or hopes that the attendant circumstances exist.
  • Knowingly: the actor is practically certain that his conduct will lead to the result.
  • Recklessly: the actor is aware that the attendant circumstances exist, but nevertheless engages in the conduct that a “law-abiding person” would have refrained from.
  • Negligently: the actor is unaware of the attendant circumstances and the consequences of his conduct, but a reasonable person would have been aware.
  • Strict liability: the actor engaged in conduct and his mental state is irrelevant.

Surely a ‘reasonable person’ would tick the box on most, if not all of the above points?

It was not unreasonable to expect that “reasonable people” who are federal investigators employed by the ACMA would have recognized the actus reus and mens rea issues that are so explicit in my complaint. It is therefore a reasonable expectation that the ACMA investigators would have undertaken an initial investigation to find out the scale of the (officially unreported and classified) death toll caused by Breaching activity which had occurred over a period of decades. A crucial aspect of my complaint against the ACMA is the question as to why did they fail to conduct a competent and thorough investigation of my complaint against SAS 7, i.e. they failed to make what any ‘reasonable person’ would consider to be a genuine effort to ascertain the scale of the death toll caused by Breaching activity. Surely, this information should have been requested from Centrelink? If Centrelink administrators had refused to provide this information, then obtaining an ‘Anton Pilar’ search order from the courts would not have been an unreasonable action in taking steps to ascertain just how many fatalities were caused by Breaching legislation?

There was certainly more than enough evidence provided to the ACMA to justify a very detailed investigation of this aspect of my complaint which justified obtaining an Anton Pilar order if Centrelink management failed to make this information available in a prompt and timely manner. As the following points, which are self-evident to any ‘reasonable person’ make quite clear, the failure to take reasonable measures, e.g. seek an Aton Pilar order to determine the precise death toll, underscores my point that the ACMA’s claim of “…insufficient evidence” is totally invalid:

“Centrelink does not collect ‘Post Breaching Terminal Outcomes Statistics” and is therefore unable to assist with your request for this information” That statement, made in a letter dated 18 May 2010, was made by a very senior Centrelink administrator, Assistant Secretary Neil Skill. When it comes to the issues of actus reus, i.e. Breaching triggered fatalities; Neil Skill’s statement makes it quite clear that Centrelink administrators deliberately concealed these fatalities from the public.

    1. The legal implication of mens rea is that DSS and Centrelink management were almost certainly fully aware of the criminally reckless risks posed by Breaching legislation and the enforcement of this dangerous legislation and therefore deliberately concealed these fatalities for decades by the simple process of not using the ‘SAS’ resource, i.e. the Statistical Analysis Software’ used by DSS and then Centrelink management to prepare daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reports for the DSS, Centrelink and the Department of Employment.
    2. A forensic analysis of every DSS, Centrelink and Department of Employment annual report released ever since Breaching legislation came into force decades ago would confirm Neil Skill’s statement about not collecting details of Breaching fatalities from the government’s welfare database.
  1. A forensic examination of the data released in literally thousands of “Accountability” tables prepared using ‘SAS’ over a period of decades would also confirm that DSS and Centrelink management had the necessary software tools to extract the fatalities data from the computer system and report them. This evidence was not found because the ACMA chose not to find it!
  2. Mens rea is about Direct intention, Oblique intention, Knowingly, Recklessly, Purposefully, committing acts of Criminal negligence that could, would, and did, result in Unlawful Deaths that under Australian federal, state and territory criminal laws would constitute crimes such as involuntary culpable homicide or felony murder.
  3. Further adding weight for the ACMA investigators need to obtain the post-breaching fatalities data was the fact that ACMA investigators were aware that the political parties that were responsible for the creation, modification and implementation of Breaching legislation over a period of decades had issued a secret “confidential” classification of a Senate submission that highlighted these unreported fatalities. (Submission 287 to the Anti-Terrorism Bill #2 Inquiry in November 2005 – classified as confidential, it is listed as “Not yet available.”

 “…insufficient evidence”? Yes! But why? Because the federal investigators employed by the ACMA chose not to properly analyze the information provided in my preliminary written complaint and to then seek out further information/evidence by following the evidence trail. Hence my claim that the ACMA investigation was a legally flawed investigation that was incapable of making a valid finding on the issues presented. Had investigators determined the number of unreported Breaching fatalities being concealed by federal politicians and the public servants who are responsible for the management of the Centrelink database, the next critical step for the ACMA investigators who were investigating my complaint should have been to establish that SAS 7’s failure to disclose these fatalities violated the felony murder statute found in South Australia’s Criminal Law Consolidation Act (1936)

Assistant Secretary Neil Skill has made an admission, in writing, that Centrelink management does not collect data on breaching triggered fatalities and therefore management cannot provide this data. This would satisfy a subjective test applied by a court. However, an additional degree of objectivity, i.e. evidence was required to add weight to this statement and it was there to be found by those who sought it. Data tables extracted from the Centrelink database using the Statistical Analysis Software makes it quite clear that DSS, Centrelink and Department of Employment management had the technical capability to identify and report Breaching fatalities but repeatedly made a deliberate decisions not to do so. All public accountability reports made by the DSS, Centrelink and the Department of Employment should have contained this information. The absence of this critical data in thousands of pages of reports produced over a period of decades is empirical evidence of a deliberate failure to produce accurate reports that would have enabled both Parliament and the general public to accurately assess the ‘benefits’ and the ‘downside aspects’ of Breaching.

A key principle used by the courts is the concept of the ‘reasonable person’. In assessing and judging actions and motives, the courts make judgments based on the principle that it is always reasonable to assume that people of ordinary intelligence are aware of their physical surroundings and of the ordinary laws of cause and effect.

Therefore, when a person plans what to do and what not to do, (s)he will understand the range of likely outcomes from given behaviour on a sliding scale from “inevitable” to “probable” to “possible” to “improbable”.

The more that a reasonably foreseeable outcome moves towards the “inevitable” end of the scale, the more likely it is that the accused both foresaw and desired the outcome and therefore, the safer it is to impute intent and to apportion blame. Ram a passenger liner into an ice berg or a reef and it is almost inevitable that the ship will sink. In the same manner, deliberately depriving extremely vulnerable welfare recipients of the ability to meet their most basic costs of living for 13 weeks, especially at the extravagant rate of 3 Breaches issued per minute that occurred in FY2000-01. This activity, undertaken without risk assessment meant that fatalities were going to be both an inevitable and acceptable outcome.

Although the definition of Breaching made possible by paragraph 47 of the 2002 Welfare Reform Discussion Paper was not formulated until decades after Breaching legislation was drafted and voted into Law, the consequences were “reasonably foreseeable” at the time that the legislation was drafted and therefore the subsequent fatalities were, regardless of the actual cause of death, at the very least, involuntary culpable homicides.

  1. The Performance Indicator Targets, first revealed by Cheryl Kernot in her 27th June 2000 press release, were introduced and enforced with no apparent concern for the humanitarian impact and, since there was a high risk of fatalities, it is not unreasonable for a court to come to the conclusion that fatalities were considered by those implementing and enforcing the Performance Indicator Targets to be, at the very least, an ‘acceptable consequence’.
  2. With the Howard Government’s concern over the rising cost of the welfare budget, a concern actually expressed in the 2002 Welfare Reform Discussion Paper, it is also not unreasonable for a court to conclude that such fatalities were an ‘intended outcome’.
  3. Further objective evidence that Breaching fatalities were almost certainly a desired outcome is the fact that in addition to not reporting Breaching fatalities and ramping up the Breaching to the previously mentioned rate of 3 per minute, the Howard Government also attempted to increase the Breaching penalty from 13 weeks to 26 weeks! Clearly, there was no concern for the consequences of Breaching activity other than the “Savings” achieved through this activity.

On 10th February 2010, the Federal Opposition leader, Tony Abbott made a comment to the effect that if Tony Abbott had been running a business in New South Wales, he would have been charged with “Industrial manslaughter” for having failed to inform the Federal Parliament about the deaths of four ceiling insulation installers who died whilst installing insulation in domestic residences under a federally funded program, i.e. the Home Improvement (Insulation) Scheme.

There was nation-wide reporting of that comment, including reporting by the 7 Network licensed TV stations such as SAS 7.

  1. The Opposite used its numbers in the Senate and set up a Senate inquiry to examine the scheme that had resulted in four fatalities.
  2. If four deaths justified national news coverage by the major networks, including the 7 Network, why did the 7 Network consider that the reporting of the secret concealment of Breaching triggered fatalities was not newsworthy?
  3. It is manifestly evident that the failure to report these fatalities was totally inconsistent with the 7 Network’s approach to the four “Roofgate” fatalities.
  4. Compounding the issue of the non-reporting of the Breaching fatalities is the prosecution and conviction of Josiah Finch in February 2006 on the charge of Felony Murder. The prosecution readily admitted that Josiah Finch had not killed anyone. However, he allegedly knew who was responsible for a murder and allegedly would not provide the police with information that would identify the killer. As a consequence, he was convicted of felony murder and received the mandatory 25 year ‘Life’ sentence and a 14 year non-parole period.
  5. In Law, is there any difference between what Josiah Finch was convicted of allegedly doing, i.e. concealing details of an unlawful killing, and what the Today Tonight team at SAS 7 did? To date, no 7 Network station, including SAS 7, has ever revealed the Unlawful Killings that resulted from Breaching activity!
  6. Any claim that that SAS 7 staff were ignorant of the felony murder law was swept aside with the prosecution of Josiah Finch. In deciding not to make Breaching deaths public, the 7 Network officials made a conscious decision not to comply with the South Australian felony murder statute. However, they did make a conscious decision to draw the deaths of the four ceiling insulation installers to the attention of the public.
  7. Was this more than just double standards? Most definitely, for the conscious, deliberate decision to conceal the Breaching fatalities was also a violation of the felony murder statute found in South Austral;ia’s ancient Criminal Law Consolidation Act (1935).

Actus reus is about unlawful killings and mens rea is about the intent, i.e. the motives and reasoning that underpinned those deaths. Breaching legislation was a deliberate, legislated Act of Destitution that callously disregarded the easily foreseeable possibility that it could result in a significant death toll. This callous attitude was probably motivated by the patently false assumption that if a welfare recipient was deliberately deprived of their entitlement to a welfare allowance, then these ‘dole bludgers’ would have no option but to get a job. The problem is that getting a job is no easy task! In 2009, one of the Rudd Government’s employment placement programs’s cost more $46,000 per job outcome, a fact that highlights the problem of just how extremely difficult it would be for a totally destitute person to find a job, assuming a suitable job was available and that no other person or persons with better qualifications were available to fill the position.

Breaching legislation involved the easily foreseeable issue of ‘ultra vires’, i.e. Breaching triggered fatalities, as did the Senate suppression orders and the refusal of the AFP to investigate Breaching fatalities. Consequently, the problem confronting ACMA investigators was essentially that Breaching fatalities (actus reus) were State endorsed killings that were legally sanctioned by Breaching legislation. This official sanctioning of these fatalities was further underscored by Senate suppression orders, the failure of senior public servants to report these deaths, and perhaps most incredible of all, the refusal of the Australian Federal Police to investigate the deaths caused by the Howard Government’s highly illegal (Ultra vires) enforcement of Performance Indicator Targets.

SAS 7 knew about the Breaching fatalities because I had informed them about these fatalities and the refusal of the Federal Police to investigate them, way back in 2004. Any genuine investigation of the complaint that SAS 7 had violated South Australia’s felony murder statute thus carried the reasonably foreseeable consequence that the official wall of secrecy surrounding these deaths would be shattered if the investigation confirmed that SAS 7 was in violation of that law. Governments come and go on a three yearly cycle whilst government ministers change even more frequently, e.g. between December 2011 and March 2012, three different Ministers have been responsible for the Human Services portfolio. The role of the Public Service is to provide stability during these periods of transition, However, by confirming that SAS 7 was in violation of the South Australian felony murder statute, the ACMA investigators would have almost certainly triggered national political instability. Potentially, this could be on such a scale as to precipitate a double dissolution of the Federal Parliament with a significant of number of current and former government ministers facing criminal investigations into the humanitarian disaster caused by Breaching legislation and the official cover up of these fatalities by the Federal Parliament!

 The only way to ensure that this potential political catastrophe did not become a political and legal reality was for ACMA investigators to ‘blow’ the investigation by simply not conducting an investigation!

“Reasonably foreseeable”: – a different context – The 6 Week Rule.

In academic circles, quoting one’s self is considered ‘bad form’. However, I believe that a repeat of the quote below is entirely appropriate because it has implications not only for the issues of actus reus and mens rea, but also for the issue of SAS 7’s failure to reveal the 6 Week Rule when falsely claiming that welfare recipients ‘owed’ Centrelink $3 Billion.

“The more that a reasonably foreseeable outcome moves towards the “inevitable” end of the scale, the more likely it is that the accused both foresaw and desired the outcome and therefore, the safer it is to impute intent and to apportion blame.”

When it comes to the SAS 7 decision not to report the 6 Week Rule, it was, and still is, “reasonably foreseeable’ to the extent of being “inevitable” that by concealing this statute law from any welfare recipients who had been overpaid some $3 Billion by Centrelink, that some of these people would respond to Centrelink’s harsh, overbearing letters of demand for repayment and make repayments because they were unaware that the debt, if 100% Centrelink’s fault, did not have to repaid! On 16th April 2012, SAS 7 again broadcast a similar segment that included a large print “$2.8 Billion” figure that was about 30% of screen height. There was no message pointing out that much of this money is subject to the 6 Week Rule. Neither SAS 7 nor the ACMA investigators, ever proved the $3 Billion ‘owed’ claim because it was false. The result was that just days after the ACMA exonerated SAS 7; they were running the same false claim again!

As stated previously, the more reasonably foreseeable the consequences of an action or activity, (or alternately, the reasonably foreseeable consequences of a failure to take action when action is required,) are thus generally considered by the courts to be a desired outcome. Look at the ‘gestalt’ i.e. the big picture:

In a welfare segment broadcast in May 2011,, Hank Jongen enthusiastically spouts the Centrelink “We will get you manta” after video footage of alleged rorters is shown.

  1. A few weeks later, another segment complains about 800,000 people being on disability pensions and then exposes a few who are alleged rorters.
  2. 6 weeks later, yet another segment accurately states that 100,000 calls have been received on Centrelink’s reporting hot-line but viewers are not told that 97% of these calls lack substance and that many are actually fraudulently misleading acts of welfare bashing by people who are ideologically opposed to welfare payments or who want ‘payback’ for personal grievances that they have with individuals who are on a welfare benefit.

In this ‘big picture’ context where the truths hidden are of far more relevance and significance than the minor, irrelevant truths broadcast by SAS 7, it is reasonably foreseeable that by telling a group of marginalized and highly vulnerable people that they ‘owe’ Centrelink $3 Billion, some of these will people will make repayments that under paragraph 1,237(A) of the Social Security Act the Secretary of Centrelink “must waive”. Such a reasonably foreseeable “inevitable” outcome is a strong indicator to a court that it was a desired outcome by those SAS 7 Network officials who were responsible for not one broadcast but a series of broadcasts that were intended to deceive welfare recipients into making repayments that did not need to be made.

Is there any evidence that Centrelink did or still is ignoring the 6 Week Rule?

Yes, there is.

Did the ACMA investigators ask for the names of victims, i.e. material witnesses?

No!

The focus of the ‘pseudo-investigation’ appears to have been on avoiding the truth rather than finding it!

Hiding the 6 Week Rule was far more than a very sophisticated case of welfare bashing.

It made SAS 7 an active participant in a crime by aiding and abetting Centrelink to defraud welfare recipients.

  1. Proof does exist that welfare recipients are being conned or coerced by some Centrelink staff into making these repayments. However, the ACMA investigators did not actively seek out this evidence or even correctly evaluate the evidence that they had.
  2. It is hardly a national secret that the Gillard Government intends to take ‘harsh measures’ in order to keep its political promise to bring in a balanced budget in the run up to the (August) 2013 election.
  3. Ignoring the 6 Week Rule as a means of reducing the government’s measures is not a ‘harsh measure’; it is outright F-R-A-U-D. an action that neither SASA 7 nor the ACMA investigators find reprehensible even though it is unlawful.
  4. Consequently, the decision by the ACMA that there was “insufficient evidence” to support both allegations simply does not stand up to close scrutiny.
  5. Rather it is in itself a case of ‘Ultra vires’ because the ACMA investigators, having failed to conduct an investigation that was consistent with the gravity of the allegations, were not in a position to make any legally valid findings about the two complaints.

In the review of this appeal to the Commonwealth Ombudsman, there are also grave flow-on implications to consider for these findings could seriously undermine every recent conviction in the nation that involves unlawful deaths and/or fraud.

Already this ACMA decision has been passed on to the family of one person convicted of a major crime and soon, despite two Senate (ultra vires) suppression orders, other people convicted of major crimes will have access to this decision.

  1. If the findings stand, it could potentially undermine tens of thousands of prosecutions, e.g. Centrelink’s expensively advertised “10 a day” convictions.

 The findings of the ACMA are invalid and must be overturned if our nation is to retain a viable criminal justice system.

The fact that numerous other media entities, e.g. The Advertiser and the Sydney Morning Herald, also chose to conceal these fatalities is irrelevant in respect to the complaint against SAS 7 to the ACMA and also this complaint to the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman because I have never files official complaints against these organizations. Hopefully, o9nce the courts are confronted with the issue of the secrecy that surrounds Breaching triggered fatalities, these entities will be called to account for their silence.

Submission 287 to the November 2005 Senate inquiry into the Anti-Terrorism Bill #2 legislation. Officially listed as “Not yet available”, this submission and several evidentiary documents are also subject to a Parliamentary Privilege ‘do not copy, do not distribute” suppression order. It is my stated belief that this suppression order deliberately ‘perverts the course of justice’.

TORT.

That is the legal term for “Sue”, i.e. take legal action to receive compensation  for the ‘injuries’ suffered as a result of Breaching legislation. In July 2010, the West Australian Government paid $4.3 MILLION for the unintended but negligent death of an aboriginal person in custody. What then is a reasonble level of compensation for pre-meditated Breaching triggered fatalities. I would suggest that at least twice what the WA Government paid for an unintended death should be the base line starting point, i.e. $8.6 MILLION per fatality.

With the possibility that the death toll may be 2 – 4 times the 9/11 death toll, the scale of the death toll makes the pre-meditated Breached deaths potentially Australia’s largest tort.

Ron Medlicott.

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2 Responses to ‘mens rea’ and Breaching Triggered Fatalities – Australia’s largest potential tort.

  1. spaceyone says:

    Hopefully Rob Butterworth’s report, outlining corrupt dealings from employment agencies, will assist in the cause to bring honesty and integrity back into Centrelink’s dealings with the public.

    Mr Butterworth was only asked to examine one fee, out of the many available to employment agencies, and found that rorting was widespread. Is he now going to be asked to investigate some more fees, and other issues? He has already indicated that documentation he has seen indicates that criminal charges should be bought against the staff at some of these places.

    I had tried to complain about my employment agency’s acts of misconduct and suspect behaviour to DEEWR. DEEWR in turn attacked me for doing so, broke up my family, and sent us into homeless, in an effort to silence me.

    The rorting committed by these employment agencies could not have occurred without DEEWR turning a blind eye to it all. The government is only investigating it now, because the Sydney Morning Herald was planning to expose it all publicly.

    I think there needs to be Royal Commission into DEEWR itself, not just over these matters, but into its overall management. Every agency which comes under the umbrella of DEEWR seems to be acting corruptly to deny justice to the victims of abuses by Centrelink, and to cover up for acts of misconduct by Centrelink Staff.

  2. ACA Lied says:

    You have my sympathies. I complained to the ACMA about a broadcast by TCN9’s ‘A Current Affair’ in 2004. It was a hatchet job by ACA. My complaint was over 5 A4 pages long on why the broadcast was factually incorrect, citing numerous statements from people interviewed in the segment. Despite this, the ACMA in its findings appeared to only address a small fraction of my complaint. I felt the whole thing from their side was whitewashed. What was more astonishing was when I asked to see TCN9’s response to my complaint, TCN9 never even addressed most of my complaint either and offered very little defence for their actions! I came to the conclusion that the ACMA simply had made up their mind of not making findings against TCN9, regardless of what was in my complaint. The ACMA is an absolute joke.

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