Criminal Justice – Not for All Equally
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McGees found not guilty of conspiracy
First posted: March 17, 2010 09:58:00
Updated: March 18, 2010 10:56:00
They had been accused of conspiring to avoid police after a fatal collision on the Kapunda Road, just north of Adelaide, in 2003.
Cyclist Ian Humphrey, 46, was killed when he was hit from behind by Eugene McGee’s 4WD.
It had been alleged the brothers conspired together to prevent police from obtaining a compulsory breath test from Eugene McGee.
The charges were laid after a Royal Commission.
The brothers showed no reaction as the judge read out the not guilty verdicts.
As he left the court, Eugene McGee spoke briefly to reporters.
“As I said to police on the night of the accident I am deeply remorseful for the loss of Mr Humphrey’s life and I extend my sincere sympathies to his family for their loss,” he said.
In 2005, Eugene McGee was acquitted of causing Mr Humphrey’s death by dangerous driving.
He was found guilty of a lesser charge and was fined.
Victim of system
Mr Humphrey’s widow Di Gilcrist said she feels she is a victim of the criminal justice system.
“For me this has never been about wanting to see Eugene McGee sent to prison,” she told reporters.
“It is a sad reflection of the criminal justice system that something so black and white could be manipulated to absolve Eugene McGee of his lack of moral and ethical responsibility.”
She says she has been denied humanity, understanding and acknowledgement.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says the brothers’ acquittals raise serious questions about the justice system.
Senator Xenophon says Mr Humphrey’s family is extremely upset and disappointed.
He says despite improvements to the law since Eugene McGee first went to trial, victims’ rights are still being denied.
“Do we need to go down the path of other countries such as Sweden where … you can actually have representation in serious matters for the victim at the trial so it’s not just the DPP or the crown that are represented but also the victims’ interests that are represented?” he asked.
“Because there could well have been a different outcome if that had occurred.”
Premier Mike Rann says he accepts the court’s decision.
He says it was important that the McGee case led to a Royal Commission.
“The key thing is were we right to call a royal commission – absolutely,” he said.
“What did that Royal Commission achieve? Major changes to the criminal law which is making sure we ensure the balance to the rights of victims.”
Mr Humphrey’s brother Graham says the only consolation is that the Royal Commission may give other families a better chance.
“Look my grief’s always gonna be there, you know I’ve lost a brother and there’s nothing I can do about that,” he said.
“I think the Royal Commission was a good thing because a few things came out of it which have helped as well, I suppose maybe not for us but down the line for somebody else that might have to go through this.”
Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond says community anger about the case is understandable.
“We are very firmly on the Liberal side committing to establishing a law reform commission and I will undertake to make this case the very first one that gets referred to that commission,” she said.
Xenophon: Hit-run lawyer Eugene McGee must face tribunal
Wheels of Justice
Author: Nick Xenophon
Published: February 18, 2012 10:00PM; Sunday Mail (SA)
DEAR reader, it’s not often I’m going to ask for your help, but I need to right now.
Over the past two weeks the ABC’s Australian Story recounted the tragic hit-run death of Ian Humphrey by Adelaide lawyer Eugene McGee.
It’s a case most South Australians have followed for years. Watching the saga in two half-hour episodes, however, distilled the tragedy and amplified the absolute injustice of what has occurred.
From the moment after the crash, the Humphrey family’s chance of getting justice for Ian was jeopardised.
After killing Mr Humphrey, who was riding his bike, McGee fled and avoided police for the next six hours. He had been drinking during the day but denied being drunk.
McGee’s prominence as an Adelaide lawyer made it difficult for the prosecution to find a lawyer to take on the case.
After a botched police investigation and a frustrating trial, McGee ended up with a $3100 fine and 12 months loss of his driver’s licence.
The court accepted McGee was in a dissociative mental state after he killed Mr Humphrey, even though he made 24 phone calls to lawyers and others starting three minutes after running into Mr Humphrey.
The subsequent Royal Commission put the spotlight on this tragedy, but still didn’t deliver justice to the Humphrey family.
The impact the legal process has had on his widow, Di, and daughters Chloe and Zoe has been devastating. Throughout the process I have tried to offer support and advice, but I wasn’t the only one.
I have had my differences with former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, but I want to pay tribute to his work on this issue.
He has condemned the legal outcomes and pushed for serious law reform.
He also has supported Ms Di Gilcrist’s call for McGee to face the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal over claims of unprofessional conduct.
He currently has a motion before the Labor Caucus calling for just that.
Incredibly, the Legal Practitioners Conduct Board decided there is no need for any further punishment – that despite being convicted of a fatal hit-run, and despite his conduct over the next six hours, McGee’s actions didn’t amount to unprofessional conduct.
The board decided the hit-run offence was over in a few seconds, and what happened afterwards didn’t really count when looking at his fitness to keep practicing law.
Based on that logic, the offence of shooting someone wouldn’t be that bad because it’s all over in a few seconds.
Not only is he refusing to refer the case to the tribunal, but he also is refusing to release the legal advice on which he is relying.
Premier Jay Weatherill also is refusing to get involved, as is Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond. We can’t let the politicians walk away from this.
So, I plead with you to take action. Contact your local MP and demand they push the Attorney-General to use his power to make McGee face trial for unprofessional conduct.
If you need more information, call me on 8232 1144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/justiceforian2012
If you care about justice in South Australia, if you care about Di Gilcrist and her daughters, and if you care about Ian Humphrey, you must speak out.
Right now, only you have the power to keep the road to justice wide open.
Senator Nick Xenophon
Road To Nowhere – Part One
Program Transcript: Monday, 6 February , 2012
After killing Ian, McGee fled the scene and avoided police for the next six hours. He had been drinking during the day but denied being drunk.
After a botched police investigation and a frustrating trial, McGee ended up with a $3100 fine and 12 months loss of licence.
The Court accepted McGee was in a ‘dissociative’ mental state after he killed Ian, even though he made 24 phone calls to lawyers and others starting 3 minutes after the fatal crash.
The subsequent Royal Commission put the spotlight on this tragedy, but still didn’t deliver justice for Ian or his family.
Ian’s widow, Di Gilcrist-Humphrey, complained to the Legal Practitioners’ Conduct Board (LPCB) that the actions of Eugene McGee amounted to unprofessional conduct.
The LPCB disagreed, and McGee can still work as a lawyer.
I lied, but I’m basically honest, says Einfeld
Published: March 23, 2009
Author: Anna Patty
“They are going to prove that … these offences of mine are out of character, that I’m a person of integrity,” he said.
In defending his character, he said: “I don’t think I’m the slightest bit dishonest. I just made a mistake.”
The Dishonouring of Marcus Einfeld
Reporter: Sarah Ferguson
Einfeld talks exclusively to Four Corners and begs for forgiveness:
“I’m desperately sorry for what I did. I’m sorry to my family, my elderly mother and my children. I’m sorry to the public at large because they have been my audience over the years.”
He was a lawyer, a Federal Court judge and a champion of human rights but a lie over a $75 speeding fine put him in jail.
Throughout more than two years of media scrutiny and police investigation, Einfeld kept his silence. Now for the first time, he confronts the allegations against him:
“I lied. I can’t say it any simpler than that. I told a lie, which was a disgraceful thing to do and for which I have been paying ever since.”
On Friday, the 70 year old Einfeld was sentenced to two years in prison. In the interview recorded in the days before the sentencing, he confronted his fear of going to jail:
“I don’t know that anybody can be… anybody who’s never done it before like me, can be ready for it but I’m as ready as anybody can be… I’ve been told you need to have special protection, people don’t like judges much, especially judges who’ve presided over criminal cases…”
On January 8th 2006, Einfeld’s car was photographed by a speed camera travelling 10km above the speed limit. The former Federal Court Judge gave a sworn statement that his friend Teresa Brennan was driving his car, knowing she’d been dead for three years:
“It’s probably more shameful than the driving. Teresa Brennan was a friend of mine. She was a wonderful person and for me to use her name is more hurtful than anything else.”
Over four decades Marcus Einfeld made the law his life, devoting himself to the pursuit of justice. Now in this frank and revealing interview he says he wants to begin the process of restoring his reputation…
“I’m being frank as is humanly possible. I think Australian people are pretty good at forgiving people who come clean.”
To understand how Marcus Einfeld was exposed Four Corners talks to the journalist who first cast doubt on his story, the colourful witnesses at his trial and the policeman who gathered the evidence that led to the charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice.
Ultimately though, this story is told by the man at the centre of the controversy, Marcus Einfeld. He let Four Corners follow him in the nervous days leading up to sentencing. We travel with him to his sentencing hearing when he hoped the testimony of his supporters would persuade the judge against a prison term…
“They are going to prove that this matter, these offences of mine are out of character that I’m a person of integrity.“
Is Marcus Einfeld an honest man? Were the events of 2006 an aberration, as he calls it, or part of a pattern? Einfeld confronts these questions from reporter Sarah Ferguson:
“No, I’m not dishonest, no… I don’t think I’m the slightest bit dishonest. I just made a mistake.“
See for yourself – “The Dishonouring of Marcus Einfeld”, Four Corners at 8.30pm on Monday 23 March on ABC1.
Repeated at 11.35 pm on Tuesday 24 March on ABC1.
Former Federal Court Judge Marcus Einfeld talks exclusively to Four Corners in “The Dishonouring of Marcus Einfeld”, first broadcast 23 March 2009.
Reporter: Sarah Ferguson
The Einfeld Audits: Making Dead Drivers Tell Tales
Author: Stephen Murray
Published: September 21, 2011; Boilermaker Bill’s Rum Hospital
Keywords: Corruption and Misconduct, Elections, Government, Members of Parliament, National Party, Parliamentary Secretaries
“I thought you said you were a good driver!” “No no, I never said I was a good driver. I said I was a good parker.” (Jerry and George, “The Parking Spot” episode of Seinfeld)
“You don’t understand. A garage… I can’t even pull in there. It’s like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?” (George)
When former Nationals MP and Parliamentary Secretary, Steve Cansdell had to resign last week over a false statutory declaration to keep his drivers’ licence, the ready comparison was made with the fate of former Supreme Court Judge and Human Rights Commissioner, Marcus Einfeld.
To avoid a $77 speeding ticket in 2006, Einfeld made a declaration that he was not driving the car at the time of the offence. It transpired that the named driver had been dead for several years before the offence.
After three years of legal to-ing and fro-ing (during which he lost, among other things, his profession as a barrister), he pleaded guilty to the offences in 2009 and served two years in prison.
In October 2006, owing to the brazen fraud and Einfeld’s profile, the then Treasurer, Michael Costa, ordered an audit of every “someone else was driving” stat dec going back to September 2003.
With Cansdell making his false declaration in 2005, it would have been covered by the audit. Though, from the parameters reported in the likes of this article, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the audit was to find (or not find, as the case may be) every old person who’d never had a licence, and was now dead and/or overseas.
The audit amounted to over 700 000 stat decs over the three years (out of at least 7 million fines issued). In its 2006-07 Annual Report, the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) said that this audit found 294 people who had used false stat decs, involving 5799 disputed fines.
In 2007-08, the SDRO said that of the 480 000 stat decs audited there were 39 occurrences involving 372 fines.
Since then? Well, in 2008-09, the SDRO reported that it had received 390 000 stat decs. But there was no mention of any audit.
Similarly for 2009-10, when only 210 000 stat decs were received. But no audit.
Incidentally, that’s quite an astonishing drop in the number submitted, which might suggest Einfeld’s conviction and imprisonment in 2009 might have been a cause of some significant shrinkage.
But it seems the audits quietly stopped in 2008-09. The SDRO probably disputed (in what would be a fair case) the need for continuing audits, given the extensive resources involved.
But why didn’t the SDRO make a show of now doing nothing?
Former judge Marcus Einfeld walks free
Published: 9 News, Thursday, 01 March 2012
Former federal court judge Marcus Einfeld wants to devote himself to prison reform after walking free from a two-year prison sentence.
The 72-year-old was sentenced to three years’ jail with a non-parole period of two years, after he was found guilty of lying in court over a $77 speeding fine.
Mr Einfeld, dressed in a smart suit, walked free from Silverwater jail on Saturday morning, stopping on the way out to tell media he was grateful to family and friends who had supported him during what had been “the worst period in my life”.
“I’m desperately sorry for letting them and the community down so badly,” he said.
“I’ve certainly learned a very painful lesson.”
While in prison hundreds of outsiders, mostly strangers, wrote to him and sent books and crossword puzzles.
“Some people apparently like me,” he said.
Fellow inmates and prison staff at Silverwater also showed him kindness and respect while he was behind bars, he added.
He now wants to return to public work, and devote himself to “serious prison reform”.
“Subject to recovering my health I propose to return to my public work to which I have devoted so much of my life,” he said.
Prison reform work he wants to be involved with would include looking at mental health problems, such as depression among prisoners.
Mr Einfeld’s immediate priority on Saturday was to see his 98-year-old mother, who he said was anxious to see him.
“I also want to have a decent cup of tea and go to a few Roosters games,” he said.
Under conditions of his release, Mr Enfield will have to report to a parole officer for another year.
Office of the Legal Services Commissioner
Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Register
Legal Practitioners Conduct Board
NSW Case Law
Boilermaker Bill’s Rum Hospital
No home, no rape, but still locked up
Published: June 19, 2011
The Bondi caveman says police held secret information that quashed a sex crime charge against him and kept him in custody for 18 months, writes Les Kennedy.
FOR more than 11 years Peter Millhouse lived in a sandstone cave overlooking Bondi Beach. It was where the 55-year-old chose to recite his poems to passers-by in the hope of payment while relying on food handouts from locals.
He became known as the ”Bondi caveman” but some residents and the council sought to evict him because of the unsightly camp and for his own welfare.
Then the law intervened. On Melbourne Cup Day in 2009, a then 21-year-old woman visiting the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition spent six hours feeding birds and chatting to Millhouse.
Within an hour of her leaving the cave about dusk, he was grappling with police, arrested for allegedly raping the woman despite his protests that the sex was consensual.
He spent the next 18 months behind bars, awaiting trial, during which time he says he was assaulted.
But on the eve of his trial last month, the Director of Public Prosecutions dropped the rape charge. Now Millhouse intends to sue the NSW police for wrongful imprisonment by withholding information from the DPP that would have led to the charge being dismissed earlier, says his lawyer, Paul Williams.
Outsider … Millhouse at his cave.
The case raises questions about the role of police in not revealing to the DPP information about the troubled background of the alleged victim, including a history of unsubstantiated sexual assault claims and multiple personality disorder.
Background information about the woman first emerged last month, on the day Justice Reg Blanch was to assign a District Court judge to hear the trial before a jury.
Crown prosecutors were granted a one-day adjournment to respond to a request from Williams for information on the woman, such as medical reports or criminal history.
The DPP had not received such details from Waverley police, who charged Millhouse. When police provided files to the DPP later in the day, copies were passed to his defence team.
The next day, without explanation, the DPP’s office told Blanch it had ”no-billed” the charge of intercourse without consent. In no-billing, the DPP does not have to state its reasons for dropping a charge.
The files, seen by The Sun-Herald, contain reports from police – including officers attached to joint police and Department of Community Services child mistreatment teams – of investigations dating back to 2002, when the woman was 14. They included numerous unsubstantiated claims by her of being attacked and sexually assaulted by strangers – one calling himself the devil – in bush and at her home.
One report investigated by police included allegations that she was raped many times at a religious centre by an African immigrant who said it would rid her of a demon.
In the 2006 report of the alleged incidents at the religious centre, police wrote: ”History of mental illness and unsubstantiated sexual assault reports.”
In 2003 the woman made three reports to police about being dragged into bush and raped. After reviewing them, police said: ”There is insufficient evidence to proceed … no further action to be taken.” Two more allegations of sexual assault that year were dismissed.
The files also contained a report on the woman four months after the alleged Bondi rape, when Millhouse was in custody, that was never declared to the defence team. It said she was found slumped in her car covered in dirt and insect bites near a coastal lake with no recollection of having left her western Sydney home the night before.
In the car police found a fresh lamb’s heart, a broken cross with a date of birth engraved on it, a kitchen knife, scissors and a Stanley knife.
”Police are unable to determine if the [victim] slaughtered a lamb and took its heart,” the report said. It also said her guardians had informed officers she had four personalities, each with a different name.
Williams said police should have reviewed the woman’s background and given that information to the police legal branch and the DPP for review.
In no-billing the rape charge against Millhouse, the DPP did not drop charges of assaulting two police officers that arose from his arrest – one was allegedly bitten and the other kicked in the groin.
On Friday Millhouse’s legal team again appeared before Justice Blanch in the Downing Centre District Court and received an adjournment to July 8, after advising he would make an application to the DPP to no-bill the assault charges and would also make an application for costs.
After his arrest Millhouse lost his cave home – council staff removed his property – and he lives with a former Bondi family who have supported him while on bail.
Bondi caveman beats rape charge
Published: Amy Dale
The Daily Telegraph
May 31, 2011
A HOMELESS man accused of raping a woman visiting the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition will not stand trial after the DPP dropped a sexual assault charge today.
Peter James Paul Millhouse, who is also known as ‘Jhyimy ‘Two Hats’ Mhiyles’, who used to live in a cave under a Bondi cliff, was charged in November 2009 with sexual intercourse without consent after inviting the woman back to his makeshift camp site.
After preparing to face a District Court trial this week, the man has now been freed on bail.
He still faces charges of resisting arrest and assaulting police.
Judge Peter Zahra was told this afternoon during a mention of the case that the DDP would not be seeking “further proceedings in this case.”
“There’s not going to be a trial your Honour,” the Crown prosecutor said.
The prosecution didn’t oppose bail for the man, provided he reside in a home where police could contact him if required.
A female friend was in court for the mention and has agreed for the man to live with her in Ryde.
The man will return to court on Friday for a mention on the outstanding three charges.
Fresh Press Resources: Kangaroo Court of Australia