Does the landmark 1935 “Golden Thread” decision ‘hang’ the lethal Robo Debt fraud and leave the politicians, public servants and lawyers responsible for this randomly lethal fraud accountable for what may prove to be the worst serial murders since Federation in 1901?
Note the case law texts below were sourced from: http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1935/1.html
© Source: British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII)
HOUSE OF LORDS. 1935] AC462 WOOLMINGTON APPELLANT; AND THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS RESPONDENT 5TH APIL 1935
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A quick overview of this Landmark decision, which any person with an Australian university law degree should know about, especially politicians, is available at:
Please note that the paragraph numbers used in the following extracts from Woolmington were not used in the original published findings by the House of Lords:
POINTS OF LAW FROM WOOLMINGTON v. DPP; HOUSE OF LORDS. AC462 on the 5th April 1935 that highlight the fact of law that the “terrible human consequences’ of Robo Debt are HOMICIDES and also that this “initiative” violates “The Golden Thread”, i.e. the BURDEN OF PROOF upon the Crown to prove any claims made against a citizen.
THE GOLDEN THREAD
“… if conviction there is to be, the prosecution must prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
“Throughout the web of the English Criminal Law one golden thread is always to be seen, that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner’s guilt subject to what I have already said as to the defence of insanity and subject also to any statutory exception.”
“No matter what the charge or where the trial, the principle that the prosecution must prove the guilt of the prisoner is part of the common law of England and no attempt to whittle it down can be entertained.”
“We were then asked to follow the Court of Criminal Appeal and to apply the proviso of s. 4 of the Criminal Appeal Act, 1907, which says: “the Court may,notwithstanding that they are of opinion that the point raised in the appeal might be decided in favour of the appellant, dismiss the appeal if they consider that no substantial miscarriage of justice has actually occurred.”
Paragraph 24: The presumption of innocence in a criminal case is strong: see Taylor On Evidence 11th Ed (1920), ss 113, 114, Vol 1, pp 107, 108; 12th Ed (1931), Vol 1, pp 107, 108
Paragraph 26: “… at the end of the evidence it is not for the prisoner to establish his innocence, but for the prosecution to establish his guilt. Just as there is evidence on behalf of the prosecution so there may be evidence on behalf of the prisoner which may cause a doubt as to his guilt. In either case, he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt. But while the prosecution must prove the guilt of the prisoner, there is no such burden laid on the prisoner to prove his innocence and it is sufficient for him to raise a doubt as to his guilt; he is not bound to satisfy the jury of his innocence.
Paragraph 28: “Juries are always told that, if conviction there is to be, the prosecution must prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. This statement cannot mean that in order to be acquitted the prisoner must “satisfy” the jury.”
Throughout the web of the English Criminal Law ONE GOLDEN THREAD IS ALWAYS TO BE SEEN,
that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner’s guilt subject to what I have already said as to the defence of insanity and subject also to any statutory exception.
If, at the end of and on the whole of the case, there is a reasonable doubt, created by the evidence given by either the prosecution or the prisoner, as to whether the prisoner killed the deceased with a malicious intention,
the prosecution has not made out the case and the prisoner is entitled to an acquittal.
HELLICAR AND THE GOLDEN THREAD.
At paragraph 141 , 142 and 143 in the High Court’s decision the judges applied the Golden Thread Rule:
 “…that the public interest can only be served if the case advanced on behalf of [a] regulatory agency does in fact represent the truth in the sense that the facts relied upon as primary facts actually occurred, that premise is false for at least two reasons.”
 “First, the proposition ignores that even a criminal trial “is not, and does not purport to be, an examination and assessment of all the information and evidence that exists, bearing upon the question of guilt or innocence” Each side in a criminal trial “is free to decide the ground on which it or he will contest the issue, the evidence which it or he will call, and what questions whether in chief or in cross-examination shall be asked; always, of course, subject to the rules of evidence, fairness and admissibility”. Proceedings for declaration of contravention or pecuniary penalty order engage no more stringent requirements.”
“Second, the proposition that the public interest requires that the facts upon which a regulatory agency relies must be facts that “actually occurred” appears to require the regulatory agency to make some final judgment about what “actually occurred” before it adduces evidence.”
“Deciding the facts of the case is a court’s task, not a task for the regulatory authority.”
Centrelink is a Crown agency and IN ALL Robo Debt CLAIMS, once a Centrelink claim is challenged, “THE CROWN’, i.e. Centrelink, has to prove that ‘ON THE BALANCE OF PROBABILITY’ that the Crown’s tort claim is legally valid.
Welfare recipients do NOT have to prove that they are at fault, or even prove that Centrelink is a fault.
Once a welfare recipient says, “it is not my fault”, or “you have made a mistake”, consistent with Hellicar, the determination of the facts is a matter for the courts, not Centrelink, or even the AAT.
The court decides the facts and then Centrelink acts in accordance with whatever determination the court has made of Centrelink’s claim.
If Centrelink officials ignore the court decision, then a welfare recipient can appeal to the AAT for a review of the court’s decision.
This is a complex legal exercise that, 2014, cost an average of $25,000 per court case, hence the financial advantage of ‘skipping the courts’ and requiring welfare recipients to prove the that Centrelink had made a mistake.
That has been virtually impossible to do; however, the findings in AATA 904 (2014), the public admission of Attorney-General Brandis that “Of course there will be mistakes”, and the listing of over 30 causes of these sometimes fatal mistakes in the Statement of Facts & Issues for AAT 2016/5334 (2nd appeal), add to the legal obligation upon the Crown, i.e. Centrelink, to prove the merits of its claim.
Because of the “terrible human consequences” referred to by Attorney-General Brandis, i.e. mistake triggered fatalities that the Secretary of the Department of Social Services has not disputed may exceed 100,000 in number, the Standard of Proof that the court should be required should be “Beyond reasonable doubt” rather than “on the balance of probability” .
Woolmington at Paragraph 20:
‘Presumptions’ of guilt and ‘prima facie’ cases of guilt in the trial of a party charged with crime mean no more than that from the proof of certain facts the jury will be warranted in convicting the accused of the offence with which he is charged.”
[MY COMMENTS;] “The use of the terms ‘presumption of guilt’ and ‘prima facie evidence of guilt’ must be based upon PROOF, i.e. evidence that is credible, relevant and significant. Whether the legal issue is ‘Guilt’ in a crime, or ‘fault’ in a civil case, as Justice Dixon stated at 15 of his findings in Briginshaw v. Briginshaw (1938), ‘In such matters “reasonable satisfaction” should not be produced by inexact proofs, indefinite testimony, or indirect inferences’. The “standard of the evidence” in a civil action must be sufficient so that, on the balance of probabilities, the allegations are considered substantiated.]
Woolmington at 24: THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON THE CROWN (PROSECUTION or CENTRELINK)
“In Hawkins’ Pleas of the Crown 8th Ed (Curwood), 1824, Vol 1, p 88, s 25 : “It is also agreed, that no one can excuse the killing another, by setting forth in a special plea, that he did it by misadventure, or se defendendo, but that he must plead ‘not guilty,’ and give the special matter in evidence.
“This points to the fact that the verdict must be given not on any special pleading given by the prisoner but upon and as the result of the whole of the case, and it nowhere suggests that the burden of proof either at the beginning or at the end of a case is not on the prosecution.”
Justice Gaudron’s findings at 9 add weight to the need for “Beyond reasonable doubt” to be the appropriate Standard of Proof, i.e. “ In re a Judgment Summons; Ex parte Henleys Ltd. (1953) Ch 195, on my reading of the relevant cases there is no basis for characterising a purpose as improper unless it involves a demand made without right or claim of right, or unless IT ENTAILS SOME CONSEQUENCE which is unrelated to or is NOT PROPORTIONATE with the right, interest or wrong asserted in the proceedings or by the process which is said to have been abused.”
[B] Note the last sentence above “IT ENTAILS SOME CONSEQUENCE which is unrelated to or is NOT PROPORTIONATE with the right, interest or wrong asserted…”
THE “APPROPRIATE COMPLIANCE MEASURES” MURDERS
The unreported death toll that Attorney-General Brandis tried to justify as being acceptable because of the need for so-called“APPROPRIATE COMPLIANCE MEASURES” are murders as is clearly indicated in the Woolmington decision:
6th paragraph: “The killing of a human being is homicide, however he may be killed, and all homicide is presumed to be malicious and murder, unless the contrary appears from circumstances of alleviation, excuse, or justification.”
“Once it is shown to a jury that somebody has died through the act of another, that is presumed to be murder, unless the person who has been guilty of the act which causes the death can satisfy a jury that what happened was something less, something which might be alleviated, something which might be reduced to a charge of manslaughter, or was something which was accidental, or was something which could be justified.”
“ At the end of his summing-up he added: “The Crown has got to satisfy you that this woman, Violet Woolmington, died at the prisoner’s hands. If they must satisfy you of that beyond any reasonable doubt. If they satisfy you of that, then he has to show that there are circumstances to be found in the evidence which has been given from the witness-box in this case which alleviate the crime so that it is only manslaughter or which excuse the homicide altogether by showing that it was a pure accident.”
9th paragraph: When it has been proved that one person’s death has been caused by another, there is a prima facie presumption of law that the act of the person causing the death is murder, unless the contrary appears from the evidence either for the prosecution or for the defence. The onus is upon such person when accused to show that his act did not amount to murder.”
[MY COMMENT:] The last sentence, was not accepted by the House of Lords for in the next paragraph, which I have bullet-pointed for clarity, are these BURDEN OF PROOF statements:
The question arises, Is that statement correct law?
Is it correct to say, and does Sir Michael Foster mean to lay down, that there may arise in the course of a criminal trial a situation at which it is incumbent upon the accused to prove his innocence?
To begin with, if that is what Sir Michael Foster meant, there is no previous authority for his proposition, and I am confirmed in this opinion by the fact that in all the text-books no earlier authority is cited for it.