DISCRETION IS ONLY OK IF ACTUALLY USED!
I like the Melbourne Criminal Lawyers Blog. It’s refreshing because it’s honest and therefore stands in contrast to too many in that profession.
I found the above post worrying. The Police bullying the public and the Judiciary!
Below is my comment:
Jerome Gelb says : December 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm
Dear Mr Doogue,
It seems to me that the time for humility in the face of VICPOL undermining the very basis for the distinction between conviction and non-conviction, is well and truly over. If recent Attorneys General have sat on their hands, perhaps the State’s lawyers need to stand up and pull him off those hands! This is exactly the sort of abuse of process that undermines public confidence in Police and feeds the widespread mistrust of Police Command. Few employers will give a job to someone with a criminal record and the public clearly lack a clear understanding of why a conviction is or isn’t recorded for similar crimes.
Consider the above with another discretionary sleight of hand practiced by VICPOL, about which I wrote to the Opposition Leader and Shadow Police Minister just prior to the defeat of the Brumby Government. Police Stations do not have signs warning the public that a Counter Report of a crime will not trigger a Police investigation and that only a formal Statement may do so. Several Police have confirmed this as fact. Counter reports are filed but not acted upon. There are too few resources, say Police. A friend’s son was the victim of an armed robbery by a masked man at a train station. He had a bike, iPod and cash stolen. As the culprit ran from the scene, his ski-mask fell off and he was recognised. My friend took his shaken son to a local Police Station and a Counter report was made. The Constable wrote the details down and said the report would be investigated. The next evening, at my urging, my friend rang the Constable to enquire re progress. He was met with the aggressive comment that no investigation would be mounted because, “you didn’t want to make a Statement”, which my friend strongly denied. He demanded that his son make a formal Statement that night and on its completion, the Constable noted, “this sounds like an armed robbery” and promised to hand the case to Detectives in the morning. By the end of the next day, a raid and arrest had been effected and stolen property located. The culprit was charged and duly convicted. None of this would have happened had I not known about the unwritten rule, “No Statement, No Investigation” and no chance of the crime adding to crime statistics.
Even when a Statement is made, there is no guarantee that a crime will be pursued. Another friend was rung by his son, who informed him that he and his sister had seen a man scratch and vandalise the family car, legally parked outside their home. They had shouted at the man, who nonchalantly strolled off, leaving thousands of dollars damage. They followed him from a safe distance and guided their father to the man’s location by phone. My friend confronted the man and receiving total denials, rang the Police. The man was arrested and my friend’s late-teen kids made Statements that they had witnessed the attack on the family car. The Police stated that the man would be charged after the complaint was investigated. Neither promised outcome occurred. The Police claimed that two eyewitness accounts and the fact that the man was known to Police, was insufficient evidence to warrant charging him. My incredulous friend is now contemplating a formal complaint.
It seems as if “discretion” has been far too broadly implemented in practice and citizens’ concerns are being ignored. The number one reason callers ring John Feyne to speak to Commissioner Ken Lay every third week on ABC 774, is to complain that their reported matters have been ignored, sometimes for years. The Commissioner says to the callers to ring him if the Station Snr Sgt. won’t help but Ken Lay wouldn’t have enough hours in the day to take the calls, let alone action them!
Lawyers, you maybe able to call more volubly for a fix for this fiasco. Please do!!