Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Justice and fairness - casualties of fear

Funny how fundamental principles of justice and fairness are threatened whenever something like yesterday's siege in Sydney happens.

The gunman was out on bail.

First thing this morning I received a request to sign a petition to tighten up bail laws.

That didn't take long, I thought.

Extraordinary situations happen. Sadly. It's quite frightening to think about what our legal rights would look like if the laws were based on the rare event.

I think about Peter Greste, the Australian journalist currently in an Egyptian prison. He was denied bail. We signed petitions for him to be released on bail.

It seems that the presumption of innocence is the first thing that is easily thrown out when something terrible happens.

Maybe I'm a bleeding heart, but the presumption of innocence is precious to me.

Then again, we have dozens of innocent people locked up in offshore prisons, their only transgression, the temerity to seek asylum and protection. I suppose in this context,  what was done yesterday by a dangerous man known to police is very hard to accept.

The world is so out of balance.

It's interesting how all actions devalue or enhance. That balance is so delicate and now there's no balance at all.

As I despair, I remember the story behind "#illridewithyou" and a little bit of hope is restored.

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