Merit Program: The NSW Courts Diversionary Pathway for Drug & Alcohol Addicts

  What is the MERIT program? The MERIT program is an opportunity for those who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, who end up going to court to face criminal charges in the Local Court to assist in rehabilitation. ‘MERIT’ is an abbreviation for ‘Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment’. A plea of ‘guilty’ or ‘not ...continue reading

The New Laws on Mental Health in the Criminal Justice System: The Diversionary Pathway

  There is an available legislative framework for a NSW court to determine criminal proceedings where the accused or defendant has mental health issues relevant to the case. This legislative framework is echoed in The Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 (NSW) (‘The Act’). It is a response to the increasing contact with the criminal ...continue reading

Law on the Age of Criminal Responsibility in NSW: An Interview with Greens MP David Shoebridge

By Poppy Morandin and Jimmy Singh.   Despite a strong campaign to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14, the decision has been deferred to 2021, following concerns that further work needs to be done regarding processes and services for children who exhibit offending behaviour. The issue was discussed at the meeting ...continue reading

Inquest Into the Death of Indigenous Man in Custody Highlights the Need for Change: An Exclusive Interview with Barrister Stephen Lawrence from The Wigs

By Poppy Morandin.   Following recent weeks in which Indigenous deaths in custody have been at the forefront of discussion, an inquest has heard that a treating nurse of an Indigenous man who died in his cell at Tamworth Correctional Centre was not informed of his seizures. In September 2017, Tane Chatfield died following being ...continue reading

NSW Police Facing Class Action Over Strip Search Practices

By Poppy Morandin & Jimmy Singh.   Redfern Legal Centre in collaboration with Slater and Gordon have recently announced their intention to mount a class action against NSW Police in relation to the unlawful utilisation of search powers, particularly strip searches. They seek to obtain compensation for the supposed thousands of individuals that have been ...continue reading

How Does COVID-19 Affect Bail Applications in NSW?

By Fouad Awada and Jimmy Singh.   On 30 March 2020, the Supreme Court of New South Wales handed down a decision granting conditional bail to Mr Abdul Rakielbakhour who was accused and charged with serious domestic violence charges. Mr Rakielbakhour was arrested and charged with common assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, alleged ...continue reading

COVID-19 – Key Changes Made by District Courts Affecting all Criminal and Traffic Cases in NSW

  From 30 March 2020, the District Court have implemented a number of changes to the way in which criminal cases are heard during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to remain up to date as arrangements are likely to continue to change. If you have a criminal matter in the District Court currently, please ...continue reading

How COVID-19 is Affecting NSW Local Court Cases in Australia

  Taking affect Monday, 30 March 2020, a number of key changes have been made to the way in which NSW Local Court matters are to be dealt with during the COVID-19 pandemic. On 24 March 2020, the New South Wales Chief Magistrate, Judge Graham Henson AM, released a Memorandum regarding some of the key ...continue reading

What are the Rules Around NSW Police Strip Searching a Person?

241,000 is the number that has been given to NSW Police Officers, representing the quota for conducting personal searches, including strip searches on people for the 2019 financial year. In fact, in 2019, NSW Police failed to meet its quota  by just under 2000 searches. NSW Greens managed to obtained the shocking revelation through the ...continue reading

What is a Criminal Lawyers’ Role?

  Criminal lawyers represent people from all walks of life. Unfortunately, movies and TV shows have portrayed criminal lawyers in a bad light, prompting members of the public asking the question criminal lawyers get asked too often, “but how can you defend a criminal?”, or “how can you defend a guilty person?”. Too often we ...continue reading

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