by Mary W Maxwell, PhD, LLB
In reply to my February 4 article “An Unexpected Gift from the Attorney General of Australia,” a reader, Heather Bennett, sent this stimulating comment (I am abridging it):
“Hi Mary, Considering Ian Matterson allegedly sent that letter to survivors in January 1997 … How common is it to have that amount of time between the passing of the law and its putting into effect? To me it seems [it should] go into effect, say, in 30 days. The kinds of deaths covered in the Act would be few and far between.
According to Vanessa Goodwin, Ian Matterson would have been working under the pre-November 1995 Coroners Act. He indicates he is bound by the post November 1995 requirement not to pronounce a finding contrary to a court decision. [So] he can’t cast any doubt on the guilt of Martin Bryant.
How to prepare a coronial inquiry while amendments to a relevant Act are coming into effect? Does it have any impact on the validity of the findings? Can they change horses mid-stream? Since I have your attention, Mary, can I ask you what specific laws were broken by the media in conducting their trial by media of Bryant? What is the Statute of Limitations — is it still possible to have journalists and media owners who did this, charged?”
Dear Heather, I am not sure he was changing horses mid-stream as I don’t know what the 1957 law says. That is the Coroners Act (1957) that was in effect at the time. I went to austlii.edu.au, the website of the Legal Information Institute which has all of Oz’s state laws, and could not find the 1957 Act. So I will write to Vanessa for a copy.
Meanwhile, to answer your question about the delay in the “proclamation” of the coming-into-force date of the 1995 Act, it does look ridiculously suspicious to me. There is no fixed rule as to when a legislature makes something come into effect, but what could possibly have required such a delay?
Well, Heather, you and I think we know. I guess we could ask Ray Groom to explain! The fact that Groom gave up the premiership of Tasmania, just before PAM (Port Arthur massacre) and adopted the portfolio of attorney-general is pretty eyebrow-raising itself.
(Note: I feel sorry for Ray in that he surely can’t have made that decision of his own volition. The big boys are thugs and most persons, perhaps myself, would cave in to them.)
As for charging the media with crimes, we don’t have to worry about ‘statutes of lim’ if they are currently doing it – and they are! Maybe not trial by media, but incitement to kill MB. Please see my article “Fellatio for Chocolate?”
It’s Clearinghouse Time
Ms Bennett, your letter has made me realize that there needs to be a central listing of “unanswered” PAM questions. Editor Dee McLachlan is willing that we use Gumshoe for that. So I hereby propose that we have another button at the top of the Gumshoe website, labeled “PAM QQ.” Send us your queries! I don’t say we will answer them; we will compile them.
We also need to establish a solid group of Aussies willing to go to bat for this case. Please write to me at websites: maryWmaxwell.com, or ProsecutionForTreason.com, with the subject line ‘PAM.’ Giving your real name and address is a must. Please state that you aren’t (or are) in “Intelligence.”
My style is to stay legal and conservative. I’d like to hold meetings preferably in public libraries, but they have asked me to get public liability insurance and that is expensive. It’s legal to meet on Parliament House steps or at the beach (and wise to notify the Police Planning Department if it is likely to be huge – which it isn’t).
By the way, I do not want to be the leader in this matter. I am glad Cherri Bonney has led the way via her petition. My goal is just to make it a normal thing to talk about this horrific case. The 20th anniversary, on April 28, 2016 can be a focus for this.
I say Australia cannot fail to get Martin out of Risdon by then.
Andrew S MacGregor has been the unofficial leader of the protestation for all this time. I consider his research to be meticulous. You could start by reading his 7-part speech at hiddenmysteries.org. Possibly he is sick of the whole damn thing. I hope not!
Gumshoe’s statistics have gone up lately – especially the hits on the PAM topic. Also the comments sent in by the persons who have signed the petition at Change.org are encouraging. I will quote several below, all ones for which the signer provided his name and city.
Personally, I think everything we used to have in our life is restorable! Lately the phrase going through my head is: “The Lord taketh away, and the Lord giveth” (smilicon).
The Tasmanian Integrity Commission
Recently, Tasmania appointed Justice William Cox as head of its Integrity Commission. I think this is wonderful. A man whom I greatly trust told me that Cox is ‘principled.’ (Don’t tell me he did the bad thing to Bryant – I know that.)
Lately I’ve attended the hearings of the Commonwealth’s Royal Commission into Institutional Respsonse. I have been gobsmacked by it. Perhaps its success is due to the outlook and the honesty of the NSW judge who is running it: Peter McLellan, assisted by Judge Jennifer Coates.
I don’t think we can wait to get an RC for the PAM but we can make approaches to the Tassie Integrity Commission. It was initiated in 2009. Its website says you are welcome to deal as follows:
- Check that your complaint or report fits within our jurisdiction. The Commission, under its legislation, can only deal with matters that relate to misconduct by a public sector authority or officer, as well as elected members of State Parliament and local government. …and police….
- Ensure that your complaint or information is legitimate. The legislation makes it an offence to make a false complaint.
- You can report using one of these options: [File online] secure.justice.tas.gov.au/integrity_commission; Download a complaint form and returning it to us by email, post, or fax (Fax # 03 6233 7215); or Telephone the Integrity Commission on 1300 720 289 to request a form be sent to you.
- Forward the completed form and any associated documents to: Integrity Commission, GPO Box 822, HOBART TAS 7001.
Now here are the promised comments made by Australians in support of an inquest for Port Arthur — as initiated by Cherri Bonney. Please sign the petition at Change.org if you haven’t already:
It was a setup and the government was behind it – Julie Rook, Hobart, TAS
Our gun laws were created on fake events — Chris Simpson, Windsor Gardens, Australia
I’m sick to death of these state govts continuously flaunting our laws to suit them selves and their rich mates — Wayne Johnson, Singleton, NSW
No matter the crime everyone is entitled to due process. – Wendy Carr, Gympie, Australia
I believe Martin is innocent. The victims and their families, the people and Martin deserve the truth. Bring on an inquest! — Kirsten Jones, Mooroolbark, Australia
I believe he never got investigated properly — Kylie Lane, Latrobe, Australia
Too many things ‘do not add up’. Stories from the people that were there, like the nurse at the cafe. All leave questions unanswered that need answering with the truth. — Matt Holland, Moranbah, QLD
I believe there needs to put to bed the doubts of thousands of people before the witnesses that were never heard die. — Tom Donald, Inglewood, QLD
Unfortunately nothing is as it seems and if this imprisonment of Martin Bryant is unlawful and Martin is innocent, then I want to know and I want to know the real truth. Innocent people are so often set up and if this is another case, then I want to see it exposed. — Katherine Lane, Byron Bay
Martin Bryant is innocent. There is no doubt. — Glen Hale, Brisbane, QLD
I believe Martin B has the RIGHT to an unrigged trial where he is heard and witnesses to the shootings are heard. — Francis E Cole, Margate, TAS
Time for a full investigation, as from what I have seen and heard, it was impossible for him to be the shooter, and it was a set up. — Lisa Quain, Brisbane, QLD
He is innocent — Bruce Jeffree, Currumbin Waters, QLD
Total set up by the Authorities in my opinion. — Esprit Marine, Bowen, QLD
If you are going to punish anybody for any thing, then you MUST get all the facts and especially not just take the word of an idiots confession as fact that they actually did it! — Paul Kruger, Hervey Bay, QLD
Any person complicit in this terrible injustice and cover up needs to repent today and make amends for what you have done. Every day is judgment day, and you never know when your last day will come. — Bev L Pattenden, Grafton, NSW
The government has killed far too many to go unnoticed. They kill for money and power. A fool could see that one man alone could not of done this, a fully trained man would be hard pushed to achieve what they say Martin done alone. Too much evidence is fiddled with to manipulate the public into believing lies! — Linda Rolls, Hobart, TAS
I believe we the people deserve to have no more doubts about Port Arthur. — Barry Cockinos, Sydney, NSW
I have all ways believed that Martin Bryant was not the Gun Man — David Burge, Kalgoorlie, WA
I think the case needs a full review. — Richard Gibbs, Hobart
— Mary W Maxwell lives in Adelaide. She has a law degree but is not an attorney. She gives the law hugs and kisses every day so you’d better watch out if you think the law ought to be tossed out.