By Mary W Maxwell, August 27, 2015
Of the six states of Australia, the one with the most sensible people, in my humble opinion, is Queensland. It is a state, however, that is unfortunate in its coppery. How can this be? How did citizens who know right from wrong end up hiring as its monitors of right-and-wrong some guys who think right is wrong and wrong is right? Are we all a bit mixed up these days?
Yesterday a group known as the CCC stated publicly that cops who do wrong should not be punished. By Jove, isn’t that fascinating!
So does CCC stand for Clowns from Cloud Cuckoo? I believe it does, but “officially” CCC stands for the Crime and Corruption Commission. Here is the case: a 21-year old bloke named Noa got beaten by cops while on the floor of the police station.
Needless to say, being handcuffed, he wasn’t offering any “threat” to the said cops. That much is available on a video of the event. (Careful: It’s ‘graphic.’) Then they took him for a ride in a police vehicle in which one cop punched him while two others held him. Folks, this is verrrry bad stuff.
Do you recall the play from 1971, “The Removalists” by David Williamson? Some cops tie the victim to a doorknob, in his own home, and then have a go at him. He yells to his girlfriend “Call the police.” She says “But they are the police.” He says “I mean call Spencer Street.”
When I saw that play, in the ’80s, I was too naïve to think “No point calling them.” I probably still thought there was hope somewhere that a rotten deed could be controlled. Now the Clowns from Cloud Cuckoo have said that there is no hope and that it is “regrettable.” Holy Cripes, if it’s regrettable let’s start regretting it in an intelligent way, shall we?
If You Leak, What Will Happen?
Start with the way in which we got ahold of the aforementioned graphic video. It could have been obtained through a freedom of information request, if anyone knew it existed. But in fact it was obtained “illegally” by Gold Coast Police officer Sergeant Rick Flori. He leaked it to the Brisbane Courier-Mail.
The story that was reported yesterday was not about the outrageous beating of Noa Begic, nor about the heroism of whistleblower Flori. It was the fact that Flori is liable to get seven years in the tank for doing the right thing. There is allegedly a law saying that, as a cop, he mustn’t hand out information that he obtained on the job.
Oh puh-leeze, Maties, that does not mean info about crimes committed by the force. No legislature would ever have enacted that. Would they?
Who Is “Immune”?
Wait. We need to inqure first about the Queensland cops (the punchers) being free from prosecution. I seem to recall learning that there’s “immunity” for some public servants. Ah, but it’s immunity from civil action only. A judge who awards the disputed peach tree to you instead of your neighbor cannot later be sued by the neighbor for having made the tough decision. OK, fair enough.
But no one has immunity from prosecution if they commit a crime, do they? Um. Sort of. The monarch is the one person to whom immunity is accorded. But even there, it’s couched a bit differently. It’s not that the king can’t be subjected to punishment. It’s that “the king can do no wrong.”
I happen to think that’s appropriate. It’s like your unwillingness ever to say that your parent is bad. We need to believe that someone has great authority and respectability. I for one don’t want to live in a world where it is to be expected that everyone, including the highest person, can be degraded. No way.
But extending that to cops would be ridiculous. Extending it to SOGs – special operations groups – means giving a green light to death squads. Decades ago we saw those death squads prowling around in South America and railed against them. Remember when Augusto (what a puffed up name!) Pinochet decided to herd 3,000 college student into a stadium for torture?
Has something changed to make us accept brutality in Oz? If so I must have been absent the day it was discussed, as I don’t recall the slightest debate on the subject.
I do recall that in September 2014, our very own editor at Gumshoe, Dee McLachlan, was hyperventilating because Attorney General George Brandis wanted Parliament to pass a law that makes it a crime for journos to report the crimes of government. Well Parliament did come to the party and that law is now law. But the citizenry certainly did not understand that or give permission for it.
WWBS? What Would Blackstone Say?
The Brandis law, if I may call it that, is total garbage. How do I know? (Pardon me. To the person who just asked me that question: How is it that anyone would NOT know it is total garbage?)
Let’s go back a quarter millennium to 1765 when old man Blackstone penned his best seller (seriously it sold like hot cakes): Commentaries on the Laws of England.
Blackstone interpreted the laws of England as being in harmony with Judeo-Christian teachings. Today one may toss him aside as outmoded. Many people assume that “legal positivism” should prevail. They think statutes, created by any legislature, are the ticket.
It is understandable that the population of America has traditionally outlawed the involvement of religion in government. A good reason is that the US is a melting pot. It contains persons from all religions, each of whom is entitled to expect that the government may provide laws suitable to him.
(And the Pilgrims of early days wanted “freedom of worship.”)
Nevertheless it is historically correct to say that a biblical influence was very much in the air in England when the common law was being developed there (yonks before the First Fleet). And, according to Blackstone enthusiasts, the Framers of the US Constitution must have had the worldview of the Bible. Fact: They were all steeped in Christian culture. How could they not be?
Blackstone’s Ruling on the Courier-Mail Report
Sir William Blackstone gave us a handy, and I mean very handy way to know whether an enacted law was valid or not. He simply said: if it goes against God’s law it ought to be tossed in the dumpster.
Don’t go running for your Bible to find apparent approval by the divinity of something that moderns decry (e.g., slavery, or bride price). The point is, God spoke, in scripture, about the duties members of society owe to one another. One obvious duty is to not beat a guy up while he is tied to a doorknob or held down to the floor of the Gold Coast Police Station.
“God” also said: “If Sergeant So-and-So wants to bring a practice of wickedness to the attention of the community he may — indeed should — do so.” Hmm. That’s not even interesting. It’s boring. It’s normal. It is not open for interpretation. It’s just the way we live.
Come on, Everybody, wake up. The right and wrong of things didn’t change all of a sudden in the current generation. That’s silly. Y’all oughta take command of the utterly pathetic legislators of this world and give them an object lesson in civilization.
And the CCC members need to be given a good caning.
Here is the Queensland video.
— Mary W Maxwell pontificates from Adelaide twice a week. She can be reached at her website ProsecutionForTreason.com.