The O'Farrell government is removing a four century old right to silence apparently to target hardened criminals but in doing so they are removing this right from everyone in NSW.
"This government is trashing a four hundred year old right to silence just to get a headline about fighting gang crime," Greens NSW MP and
Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said.
"The a reason the right to silence has stood so long that is because it protects individuals from the heavy handed use of police powers.
"Most people's interactions with police are in highly charged and emotional circumstances. It is at these times that the right to silence is crucial in order to protect people from being entrapped or
“You don’t institute fundamental law reform that applies to everyone to deal with only a limited number of hardened criminals.
"If organised criminals are getting smarter the solution is smarter policing, not the erosion of a fundamental pillar of the justice system.
“It’s the prosecution’s responsibility to get a conviction, not an individual's responsibility to prove their innocence or guilt through their own words.
"These laws are said to be designed for criminal gangs, but they will apply to everyone.
"We have already seen the consorting laws, supposedly implemented to crack down on bikie gang crime, being used against a man going to the shops with a mate.
"Anyone could understand the police wanting these new powers but it is the Attorney General's task to moderate police demands and protect the integrity of the criminal justice system. Sadly, the current Attorney seems to have forgotten this," Mr Shoebridge said.
Media contact: Mark Riboldi for David Shoebridge 9230 3030 | 0433 753