Charter Of Rights Protects Whom?

Charter Of Rights Protects Whom?

Tasmania Shadow Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin

Criminals Could Go Free Under Labor-Green Charter Of Rights

Victor P Taffa

It has been revealed that if the Labor-Green Charter of Rights is implemented in Tasmania it could result in criminals going free, following developments in Victoria.

“It was reported today that Vera Momcilovic, a convicted drug criminal in Victoria, is set to argue against her conviction in the High Court, on the grounds that her conviction is invalid because Victoria’s drugs laws are incompatible with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights.” Shadow Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin said today.

“If the appeal is successful and her conviction is quashed, there are fears that it will jeopardise hundreds of drug cases before the courts.”



“This is because the Victorian Charter enshrines a right to be presumed innocent in a criminal trial and proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution, while Victoria’s drug-trafficking laws impose a reverse onus of proof which means that a person found in possession of a trafficable quantity of drugs is presumed to be involved in drug trafficking and must prove otherwise.” Ms. Goodwin said.

“According to the directions paper issued by the now Premier, Lara Giddings, it is proposed that the Tasmanian Charter of Rights will enshrine similar legal rights to those contained in the Victorian Charter, including the right to be presumed innocent.”

“This would potentially cause similar conflict with a number of Tasmanian laws, including our Misuse of Drugs Act and the “Safe at Home” legislation which contain reverse onus provisions.” Ms. Goodwin said.

“The Labor-Green Charter of Rights could actually override our existing laws, jeopardising prosecutions in drug cases and “watering down” the impact of the  the Safe and Home legislation.”

“This is yet another example of why the Liberals oppose the costly Labor-Green Charter of Rights; it has significant potential to be exploited by criminals and could become a legal nightmare which we simply cannot afford.” Ms. Goodwin said.