HIGH Court Chief Justice Murray Gleeson has warned fellow judges against becoming political activists and using judgments to promote their personal agendas.So what the hell has AIDS - a disease that could be largely wiped out in a single generation if only people would employ the modicum of self-control required to stick a glove on it - to do with a control order over the wannabe terrorist Jihad Jack Thomas? Read on:
Speaking at a conference in Canberra, Justice Gleeson said it was important that people believed judges were committed to deciding cases regardless of the identity of the parties, fairly and according to law.
HIGH Court judge Michael Kirby yesterday accused America of being "obsessed" with September 11, 2001, saying more people died each day of AIDS than perished in the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, The Australian newspaper reports.What? I’ll ask that question again: what has AIDS (or Kirby’s observations regarding America’s perceived ‘obsession’, for that matter) got to do with the fact that one of our citizens was caught doing the naughty with Al Qaeda, the terror group who just so happened to be the ones who carried out the 9/11 attack, and we’re keeping an eye on him for that reason among others, thank you very much?
Justice Kirby played down the significance of the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon - in which 2900 people, including 10 Australians, died - after questioning claims by lawyers for the commonwealth that they had made Australia more vulnerable to terrorists.
He made his observation as the High Court considered an appeal against a control order imposed on "Jihad" Jack Thomas, the first man convicted under Australia's new anti-terror laws.
Chief Justice Gleeson fleshes things out a little more:
The ultimate test of confidence was whether people believed a judge would be even-handed in a legal contest between a citizen and a government, he said.I think Justice Kirby well and truly makes Gleeson’s case.
"There are some who say that impartiality is a myth, that, whether they realise it or not, judges are controlled by personal impulses and inclinations, perhaps formed unconsciously and that the best judges are those who break free of the myth of impartiality and exercise judicial power in order to promote social ends," he said.
"If this were ever to become a general opinion of the way judges behave, then there could be no public confidence."