Featured Image for The NSW Government wants to give police draconian new powers and you should be terrified
Web

The NSW Government wants to give police draconian new powers and you should be terrified

The New South Wales Government introduced a bill to parliament, which, if passed, would constitute one of the most horrifying attacks on ordinary people’s rights, and most sinister overreaches of police power the state has seen.

The Baird Government is trying to introduce ‘Serious Crime Prevention’ orders which would see people face strict curfews, bans on their employment and restrictions on their movement without ever being found guilty of an offence.

Citizens of NSW only have to be alleged of having some proximity or involvement to a serious crime for the control order to applied to them.

The bill would grant police the power to cut off your internet, terminate you from your job, tell you who can associate with, and where you can go if they think you have some association with a “serious” crime.

These “serious crimes” can range from anything as minor as theft, possession of a cannabis plant or illegal gambling to major offences like homicide, kidnapping and extortion.

They are essentially the same laws used for a terror suspect, but they can be applied to any innocent person in New South Wales without their chance at a proper criminal trial.

Why should you be worried?

If the police, who are often wrong, believe you were in some way connected to a crime, they can impose all of these restrictions on your life without having to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

One of the most concerning parts of the legislation is that it can apply to a range of potentially completely innocent people.

As the NSW Bar Association explained, it’s not just for people convicted of the crime – it’s anyone that’s seen to “facilitate” it, which is a very vague term.

You could even get done for simply lending your phone or car to a friend who uses it for a criminal act.

What’s even more sinister is that there’s also basically no reasonable way to appeal the control order once you cop it.

You can only prove it by way of ‘legal error’, which means it’s not a matter of proving whether you’re innocent or not, you have to prove the police didn’t apply the procedure properly.

You could theoretically show them hard evidence that you weren’t even in the country but if the police followed procedure, then you’re just gonna have to suck it up, princess.

And let’s say your friend is acquitted of the crime – astonishingly, the police can still seek a control order against you – completely flying in the face of the tenets of the justice system.

Ah, and if you breach any of your control order, you could be sentenced to five years in the slammer or forced to cough up $33,000 for a fine.

Everyone’s furious, obviously

The NSW Bar Association, who represents the state’s barristers, was absolutely ropable at the proposed new laws.

“The NSW Government’s Crimes Bill 2016 … constitutes an unprecedented attack on individual freedoms and the rule of law,” the association’s president Neil Hutley SC said.

“The potential for unwarranted interference in individuals liberties and their day to day lives is extreme,” Mr Hutley said.

The Bar’s scathing submission said the law “potentially endangers the liberties of tens of thousands of (law-abiding) NSW citizens” and said the government had shown no valid reason to expand the powers in a way that’s “so contradictory to long-settled principles concerning the adjudication of criminal guilt by a fair trial”.

In response, Police Minister Troy Grant’s spokesperson said, “the NSW Liberals and Nationals government makes no apology for getting tough on people engaged in serious and organised crime who deal off the misery of others.”

The problem here is that there is a very big and important difference between getting “tough on crime” and trampling all over your inalienable rights.

It stomps all over the presumption of innocence, puts the powers we entrust in our judges and criminal system into the hands of the police and the Bar even hinted it could violate the Constitution.

It gives police a terrifying amount of control over your life without your chance to present your case at a criminal trial, and even if they’re found to be wrong – there’s almost nothing you can do.

The law should be tough on crime, but that doesn’t mean it should treat the innocent like criminals.

About the author

Riordan is Techly’s News and Social Editor. He promises to tweet more at @riordanl

Leave a comment

Comment (13)

    Matthew

    Thursday 21 April 2016

    I have been recording the cops and filming them for two years were to start I am looking for any one who would like to help prove the cops are so wrong the way the act and if any one with law back ground or any one that can touch type so I can transcribe so of what I have befor starting a civil case please get back to me if you can help

    Reply

    Reiner

    Saturday 30 April 2016

    Firstly, The cops act the way they do because the are treated like crap, children in your society are raised to fear/despise them and your all a pack of self entitled spoiled brats. Australia is the bloody problem. And the politically correct attitude with the poor victims (the perpetrators, not the REAL victims) getting the roil treatment and making sure ‘they’re’ rights aren’t violated! its disgusting.

    SECONDLY and to my point, The police wouldn’t need to inflict such strict rules and curfews on people if they didn’t miss use and abuse their freedoms in the first place! Stop sticking up for the scum bags who drag down our customs and society, they bring this on them selves. Will this new law effect me? NO because im not mincing about in the shadows, i am without a criminal record and im not a scumbag.

    Reply

      Nita

      Monday 2 May 2016

      Well said Rainer, We need to have National service brought back, we need do gooder’s to give back parents rights to smack & discipline their own children, we need courts to stop patting the hand of criminals & give good sentence where criminals really do the time & work, not living in 5 star hotel payed by tax payers

      Reply

      Kerry

      Monday 2 May 2016

      @Reiner. I suppose you also believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus? Don’t forget the tooth fairy.

      Reply

      Tim treloar

      Monday 2 May 2016

      Did u not read the above text or are you a little bit daft?
      Example- your neighbour borrows your phone to call a ambulance for his girlfriend (so he says) but hes actually calling his drug dealer.
      Next minute cops knock on your door confinscate your phone , make you quit your job and put you on a curfew and u cant do anything about it!! Suddenly you will have a criminal record and you will be lurking in the shadows because your power got cut off due to not being able to go to work! Your whole life just changed because a cop decided on the spot u were a bad guy

      Reply

    Max Gross

    Sunday 1 May 2016

    The LIEbrals cosiders everyone except party members terrorist suspects

    Reply

    Todd Whyte

    Sunday 1 May 2016

    Our Laws were invented to protect the people from the ruling powers and ensure our God given rights to Liberty, freedom from persecution and freedom of movement, NOT to protect the government from accountability or empower them to act as despots and fascist dictatorships!
    I for one DO NOT nor EVER WILL, trade my rights for their supposed security! They manipulate the press and feed the general population misinformation if not outright falsehoods, in order to legislate through fearmongering, this type of OUTRAGEOUS BULLSHIT!
    COME THE REVOLUTION!

    Reply

    Annette Clarke

    Monday 2 May 2016

    innocent until proven guilty don’t let them do this

    Reply

    Virginia Bridger

    Monday 2 May 2016

    1984 anyone?

    Reply

      Paul

      Tuesday 3 May 2016

      Prior to making comments of the nature that some have, try walking in the shoes of the now deceased Mr Chang, who was only walking home from work when he was murdered. Serious criminals have caused irreparable damage to a number of Australian families. They include drug manufacturers, drug dealers, loan sharks, con men, terrorists and the small percentage of people who will not comply with the rule of law. I would suspect that these laws will be aimed at the few and not old mate who loans his telephone to the drug dealer. It is certainly a sad state of affairs that government think that these laws are required and is possibly linked to the general failure of our current court system.

      Reply

    Vince

    Tuesday 3 May 2016

    Are you serious!
    If this is the case , this state government is out and never to bee trusted.
    State government should be eliminated and let the federal Government run all states.
    Saving on tax payers. Australians have a vote or send there feelings , lets all vote to get rid off state Governments.

    Reply

    Frank Salter

    Thursday 5 May 2016

    This is another example of war being bad for freedom. Governments seek to limit civil rights in the interests of security. Equally, peace is good for rights because it helps keep government weak. Australia is experiencing the early stages of internal war, caused by mass immigration of incompatible cultures. For several decades governments on both sides of politics have been supporting multiculturalism and part of the deal is to keep the immigration doors open. It’s ethnic politics that excludes the majority interest. Now governments are trying to cope with the completely predictable side effect of dramatically raised diversity, internal conflict, which they themselves created (the NSW Baird government, like the federal Liberals, is pro-multiculturalism and pro indiscriminate immigration). Instead of reining back on immigration, the preferred solution is to give police more power. This cannot end well.

    Reply

      Silver

      Saturday 2 February 2019

      Spot on and well said Frank Salter we are in big trouble. Good bye Peaceful Australia the land of once milk and honey

      Reply