Sunday, November 22, 2015

Now New Matilda is defending the Paris terrorists

Their contributor, Dr Lissa Johnson, writing below, is a psychologist/sociologist, as I am.  And what she does in the excerpt I reproduce below  is to excuse the terrorists by saying in effect "We all do it".  Saying that baldly would be too absurd to be worth saying so she repeats broad generalizations of the kind that psychologists have often made. 

She regurgitates the conventional wisdom in psychology -- the claim that most people love their own group and that leads to them hating other groups.  Rather amazingly, however, there has been little testing done of that claim. It just seems obvious to Leftist psychologists.  So they actually embody it in a definition.  They prefer to speak of "ethnocentrism" rather than racism and they define ethnocentrism as the combination of ingroup love and outgroup hate that I have just mentioned.  They embody in a definition what is in fact an empirical claim.

So how does the claim stand up when tested?  I have been involved in most of the surveys concerned and have uniformly found negligible correlation between ingroup and outgroup sentiment. So her implicit claim that the Paris masssacres were simple psychological normality is built on sand.  Patriotism does NOT lead to a hatred of other nationalities and there were more than normal psychological processes behind the Paris massacres. 

What WAS behind the massacres is a mystery only to Lissa Johnson and her Leftist allies.  The Jihadists themselves told us that they hated what they saw as Parisian decadence compared to Muslim purity and their cries of "Allah Akhbar" are unanmbiguous in  claiming that their thinking was Muslim.  And it was.  Read the Koran from Sura 9 onwards and you will see that the Jihadis were doing just what Mohammed commanded

So the Lissa Johnson whitewash won't work.  She and her fellow Leftists need to remove the scales from their eyes


Cashdan, E.(2001)"Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia: A Cross-Cultural Study"Current Anthropology Vol. 42, No. 5.pp. 760-764

Heaven, P.C.L., Rajab, D. & Ray, J.J. (1985) Patriotism, racism and the disutility of the ethnocentrism concept. Journal of Social Psychology,125, 181-185.

Ray, J.J. (1971) Ethnocentrism: Attitudes and behaviour. Australian Quarterly,43, 89-97.

Ray, J.J. (1974). Are racists ethnocentric?Ch. 46 in Ray, J.J. (1974) Conservatism as heresy Sydney: A.N.Z. Book Co.

Ray, J.J. (1984). Half of all racists are Left-wing.Political Psychology, 5, 227-236.

Ray, J.J. &Lovejoy, F.H. (1986). The generality of racial prejudice. Journal of Social Psychology, 126, 563-564.

Excerpt from Lissa Johnson:

In short, we know what makes people capable of unthinkable atrocity. Psychologists have understood it for quite some time.

Put simply, it involves an ‘us-versus-them’ mindset, in which ‘we’ are human and ‘they’ are not.

These processes are exacerbated by fear and intergroup competition, which are predictably exploited by leaders and popular media at times of crisis such as this.

Fear and intergroup competition breed not only outgroup hostility and dehumanisation, but also ingroup glorification and collective narcissism. Victims of ‘our’ violence are not only less human, but our violence is necessary and noble. Only ‘theirs’ is abominable.

The overlap in the psychology of our own and extremists’ group-based violence, however, is barely acknowledged in the psychological literature on extremism.

Where intergroup processes are described, there is little reference to their parallel role in ordinary law abiding citizens’ support for state-sanctioned violence (torture, war, military force, civilian death and injury), despite extensive literatures on the subject.

Rather, when applied to violent extremism, intergroup processes are often framed as particularly Islamic. They are described in terms of “Islamic youth”, “Islamic violence”, “Muslim extremists”, “prescription to obey the laws and rules of Allah”, the “extreme Islamic person”, “Muslim in-group superiority”, “Alienated and frustrated Muslims” and so-on.

Were the literatures on terrorism, radicalisation and extremism to acknowledge the shared psychological foundations with Western collective violence, two consequences might follow.

We would be forced to acknowledge that radicalised intergroup violence is not different, strange, unusual, unfathomable or foreign. Given the fierce hostility of global intergroup relations, particularly our and our allies’ devastating actions in the Middle East, group-based violence and hostility towards Westerners is predictable. And, unfortunately, human.

We would also need to acknowledge that our own intergroup violence is scarcely different. It is no more covered in glory, despite what our leaders and mainstream media would have us believe.

In the psychological passages above, for instance, while the third and fourth quotes relate to US citizens’ acceptance of US violence in Iraq, the sixth relates to contempt for asylum seekers and opposition to refugee intake in Canada.

Were we able to look past our own ingroup glorification we would see these very self-deceiving, self-defeating, base psychological processes at work in our own intergroup hostility, with origins in our very distant ancestors, whose knuckles still dragged along the ground.


Left can’t sugarcoat bitter pill of terror

Miranda Devine

BEAUTIFUL Paris has been attacked by Islamist terrorists again. There’s no point pretending there’s any doubt about who the perpetrators are, even if US President Obama says: “I don’t want to speculate, at this point, in terms of who was responsible for this.”

Less than a year after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the land of “liberte, egalite and fraternite” has been attacked at its heart, yet again, by Islamist fundamentalists driven by a murderous totalitarian ideology which cannot be appeased.

Co-ordinated, militaristic ­attacks by suicide bombers and gunmen on soft targets at six ­locations across Paris are ­designed to cause maximum casualties and maximum terror.

Survivors say terrorists wielding Kalashnikovs yelled “Allahu Akbar” as they opened fire on young people watching a rock concert at the Le Bataclan theatre, scene of a dramatic police operation to rescue hostages from the carnage where scores of people were reported dead.

Leftist fools who try to downplay this virulent terrorism are missing the point. They sneer at attempts by security agencies to keep us safe, and tediously claim that, because fewer Australians are killed each year by terrorism than, say, car accidents or heart ­attacks, counter-terrorism is mere pantomime pandering to Islamophobes.

But when sports stadiums, restaurants and concert halls in the City of Love are not safe, nothing is safe. This is the point of terrorism, the ever-present threat of random and violent death, targeted specifically at innocent people in the Western world.

Denial and appeasement, pretending the threat has nothing to do with Islam, exaggerating Islamophobia and blaming the victim, are exactly the wrong reaction.

But you can bet in the weeks to come this will be the narrative from the bien pensants of Fairfax and the ABC, just as it was after the terrorist attack on Parramatta’s police HQ and on the Lindt cafe in the heart of Sydney. This wilfully blind political correctness does no favours to Muslims, who are among the greatest victims of Islamofascism.

“We have to acknowledge that today’s Islamists are ­driven by a political ideology, an ideology embedded in the foundational texts of Islam,” Somali-born former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

“We appease the Muslim heads of government who lobby us to censor our press, our universities, our history books, our school curricula. They appeal and we oblige.

‘‘We appease leaders of Muslim organisations in our societies. They ask us not to link acts of violence to ... Islam because they say theirs is a ­religion of peace, and we oblige.

“What do we get in return? Kalashnikovs in the heart of Paris. The more we oblige, the more we self-censor; the more we appease, the bolder the enemy gets.”

I spent last Christmas in Paris, just before the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and had never seen such strong security measures, outside of Israel. As it turned out, a few days after I left, just a few minutes away from where I was staying, Islamists attacked Charlie Hebdo.

Even with the best security, Paris was still not safe. And what happened again there yesterday only reminds us how vulnerable we are in Australia, after three terrorist attacks ­already on home soil, and ­numerous attacks foiled by counter-terrorism agencies.

And yet, in the days after the ­lethal attack in Parramatta last month by a 15-year-old yelling “Allahu Ak-bar”, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Mike Baird were reluctant to speak plainly about what had occurred.  They repeatedly refused to mention the “I” word.

Sugar-coating the truth about Islamist extremism, and pretending that an equal threat comes from theoretical redneck Islamophobes, only further endangers us and pushes reasonable people into the arms of far-right hate groups.

Angela Merkel’s na├»ve open-door refugee policy, which has set off chaos across Europe, will only exacerbate the problem. As Tony Abbott said in a recent speech in London, it is a “catastrophic error”, which has benefited a majority of fake refugees.

Yet, in a subtle repudiation of Abbott’s stance, Turnbull chose to bestow on the German Chancellor the honour of being the first European leader he has visited as PM this week. In his reported remarks from their Berlin meeting he made no criticism of the policy which has bitterly divided Merkel’s government.

These are not good signs.

Instead of at least acknowledging the renewed Islamist threat mutating out from the bloody Syrian civil war, too many world leaders keep insisting that the greatest threat to humanity is carbon dioxide.

The irony that Paris is the site of the upcoming UN climate conference can’t be overlooked.


Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission finds all Catholic Bishops might have a “case to answer”

A news story in The Australian this morning indicates that the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission has found a preliminary “case to answer” in relation to a claim of sexual orientation discrimination against not only the Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, but also “all Australia’s Catholic bishops.”

We have known for some time that Greens political candidate Martine ­Delaney had made a complaint against Archbishop Porteous, but the additional feature of the decision of the Anti-Discrimination Commission is the inclusion of other Catholic Bishops from all around Australia.

The booklet distributed to parents of students at Roman Catholic schools by Archbishop Porteous is entitled, “Don’t Mess with Marriage,” and was produced by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The booklet eschews all forms of “unjust discrimination,” and goes on to say, “some suggest that it is unjustly discriminatory not to allow people with same-sex attraction to marry someone of the same sex. Others believe that marriage is an institution uniting a man and a woman. We wish by this pastoral letter to engage with this debate, present the Church’s teaching to the faithful, and explain the position of the Catholic faithful to the wider community.”

It continues: “the traditional view of marriage, which the Church has always supported, is different. It sees marriage as about connecting the values and people in our lives which otherwise have a tendency to get fragmented: sex and love, male and female, sex and babies, parents and children. This view has long influenced our law, literature, art, philosophy, religion and social practices. On this view, marriage includes an emotional union, but it goes further than that. It involves a substantial bodily and spiritual union of a man and a woman.

“Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships will have far reaching consequences for all of us. The world around us influences the communities in which we live. Cultural and legal norms shape our idea of what the world is like, what’s valuable, and what are appropriate standards of conduct. And this in turn shapes individual choices. That’s one of the main purposes of marriage law: to enable and encourage individuals to form and keep commitments of a certain kind. But if the civil definition of marriage were changed to include ‘same-sex marriage’ then our law and culture would teach that marriage is merely about emotional union of any two (or more?) people.”

The legal status of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and whether it claims to represent, for example, the views of every Roman Catholic Bishop in Australia, is unclear. But it must also be said that it would be somewhat odd if a Tasmanian tribunal were legally able to exercise authority over Bishops who operate in other states of Australia.

The more important issue, of course, is whether the law will continue to protect the religious freedom of churches and believers to maintain and teach within their own communities the historical views of Christianity about marriage and sexuality.

These issues are brought sharply into focus when some of those supporting “marriage equality” consider this sort of attempted widespread suppression of speech and religious freedom a reasonable policy stance.


Tax reform: time for remedial maths lessons

Michael Potter

It seems everyone needs to go back to school to re-learn their sums. Public debate over tax reform has shown a disturbing lack of maths knowledge.

Firstly, we had the Greens arguing that a carbon tax would raise as much revenue as a GST, but with only one third of the cost to households. But where else would the revenue from a carbon tax come from? Thin air? They can't argue that the cost is borne by business - because then the same argument would apply to the GST. Either business bears the cost of both taxes, or households bear both costs. Either way, the total impact on households would be similar. And exports can't fill the gap in the Green's calculations, because Australia's exports aren't large enough.

The Coalition also needs remedial lessons. They have argued that tax reform must not increase the tax burden, and tax reform will include compensation for households that don't pay tax, implying an increase in welfare spending. So taxes won't increase, but spending will go up - meaning an increase in the budget deficit. But the Coalition has argued the deficit should be reduced. These calculations don't add up.

Next on the remedial class list is the ALP, who have been arguing that taxes are currently too low compared to 2002, and there were too many tax cuts given in and around 2002. However, the ALP at the time, and more recently in 2011, argued that taxes were are at record highs. Taxes can't be too low compared to a year when taxes were too high.

ACOSS is also on the list for extra maths lessons. They released modelling arguing the poorest households paid 13.4% of their income in GST. Working out the sums, this means that a household with income around $26,000 has consumption of around $71,000. This doesn't make sense.

And finally, all tax commentators need to check their sums. The proceeds from a possible GST increase have already been spent multiple times on compensation; personal tax cuts; company tax cuts; reductions in stamp duties; funding for hospitals, education and infrastructure; and to reduce the deficit. This also doesn't add up - everyone involved in the tax debate should also head back to class.


For 26 years, the state of NSW has pursued Roseanne Beckett, AKA Roseanne Catt

Last week, NSW Supreme Court Justice Ian Harrison ordered the state to pay Beckett $4,091,717 in damages for maliciously prosecuting her on charges of perjury and soliciting a man to murder her then husband Barry Catt. He also ordered the Crown to pay her costs, likely to be at least $4 million dollars.

For the convictions that resulted from these charges – now overturned – Beckett served six years in prison.

This malicious prosecution case has already gone for seven and half years. Beckett and her many supporters were hoping that the NSW government might finally let it rest. But it is already clear that the state has not ceased its campaign.

Justice Harrison noted the speed with which senior counsel for the Crown John Maconachie announced its intention to appeal, even before his judgment “had been delivered into its hands, let alone read”, reinforcing his perception that the state has only ever been interested in a “capitulation” by Beckett.

The Crown had only until November 24 to apply for a stay or halt on Justice Harrison’s orders pending an appeal. Yesterday afternoon, Beckett received news from her lawyers Turner Freeman that the Crown will apply for such orders next Monday morning, just one day short of the deadline. The application will be opposed.

The big unresolved issue now hanging over this historic miscarriage of justice case is not whether Beckett was guilty of the nine charges initiated by then Newcastle Detective Peter Thomas, who led a team of other police on a raid on her home way back in August 1989. Instead the big questions are: why has the Crown so determinedly defended the improper conduct of Thomas? And why has the NSW government so comprehensively failed to hold those who acted on its behalf accountable?

Thomas, who avoided disciplinary charges related to intimidating witnesses in his campaign to send Beckett to prison, resigned from the NSW police force before her trial in 1991. But he remained actively involved in pursuing Beckett and any who he saw as supporting her cause until his death shortly before the malicious prosecution hearing ended last year. Reporters were not immune. He attempted to blacken my own name by spreading allegations to News Corporation, ABC’s Media Watch, Fairfax Media and the Media Alliance that I was biased against him because he arrested me in my youth. These allegations were false.

Malicious prosecution cases are notoriously hard to prove because the plaintiff must show not only that the prosecutor had malicious intent but also that there was an absence of any reasonable cause to prosecute. Harrison found Thomas “intensely disliked” Beckett, who had previously laid a complaint against him. He found that Thomas was a frightening and “corrupt bully” who used “intimidating antics” to pressure witnesses in the Beckett case. He found that the plaintiff had established the essential ingredient of malicious intent on all counts.

Beckett only succeeded in proving an absence of reasonable cause to charge her in two of six counts. Nevertheless, this still meant a verdict was entered in her favour. Although she did not prove absence of reasonable cause on the other four counts, she was acquitted of two other charges and another three were dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 2005. She remains convicted of two charges. She served terms of imprisonment on eight charges though Justice Harrison was of the view that most of these charges would not have ordinarily have led to a prison sentences and that the case would have been entirely different if Thomas had not been involved.

While she was in prison Beckett was badly assaulted, a contract was taken out on her life, and her health suffered. The damages are intended as some compensation for these long years of wrongful imprisonment and suffering, her loss of family and friends, her right to work, and damage to her reputation which began when Thomas arranged for her to be taken handcuffed from her home in Taree and paraded in front of the local media.

As Justice Harrison commented, there is no way of knowing what Beckett’s life might have been. In 1989, she was a 42-year old woman with no criminal record who he observed was definitely of “good character” and had considerable “energy and independence”. Her fight for justice has required every ounce of that energy and independence.

Last week’s decision was the second stage in Justice Harrison’s judgement. Twenty-six years from the day of her arrest in August 24, Justice Harrison handed down his decision and awarded Beckett $2.3m in damages. It’s normal to pay interest on damages and the judge asked lawyers for Beckett and the Crown barristers to agree on interests and costs before he finalised his judgement. Only if they failed to do so would he need to preside over a further hearing.

On that day Beckett and her supporters celebrated her victory at a press conference which most of the media also assumed was the finale. But this was not the first time that Beckett has made a victory speech.

After nearly a decade in prison Beckett was released in 2001 when a fresh appeal was ordered after new evidence emerged in her case. In 2004, at the end of a four-month inquiry, Justice Davidson found that it was likely that key prosecution witnesses had conspired to fabricate evidence against her. The Crown completely rejected his findings. Nevertheless, Beckett won her appeal. By now she had been acquitted of two charges and another five had been dismissed. At that stage, the NSW Labor government could have offered some compensation. It declined to do so.

She sued for malicious prosecution. The NSW state then spent a considerable amount of public money in an unsuccessful High Court bid to deprive her of the right to sue. No settlement was offered and the case continued with the Crown taking every technical point to keep evidence of Thomas’ misconduct in this and other matters out of the proceedings.

Last year, Beckett’s legal representatives offered to settle the case for $2 million. The Crown lawyers did not even reply. By that failure they added to the amount of public money at risk should they lose the case. Referring to the Crown’s failure to respond, Justice Harrison found that “the State’s total disregard for the offer of compromise does not inspire me with confidence that the State was anxiously hanging out for an opportunity to settle the proceedings. On the contrary, even allowing for the fact that my view of the settlement landscape was necessarily obstructed, I never once acquired the feeling that the State was even in the slightest fashion interested in settling the proceedings upon any basis other than a complete victory for it.”

The NSW Crown lawyers are supposed to act as ‘model litigants’. This means they should keep costs to a minimum and apologise where appropriate. They would appear to have fallen well short of model litigant conduct in this case.

The malicious prosecution trial took place last year. The Crown failed to call three key prosecution witnesses that Judge Davidson had found were likely to have fabricated evidence. This deprived Justice Harrison of the opportunity to see them give evidence and the plaintiff to chance to cross-examine them.

Beckett finally triumphed in August. Justice Harrison reminded the Crown that the case had already taken more than seven years. Would they finally accept the result? True to form, the lawyers representing the state did not blink.

Maconachie and his team of Crown lawyers proceeded to file submissions that normal legal principles should be varied so that Beckett would be deprived of both interest and costs. They described the damages as “staggering” and even “irrational”.

They turned once again on Beckett suggesting that she had “stigmatised” Thomas by falsely alleging that he had planted a gun on her. Although Beckett’s case that there was no reasonable basis for that charge was not accepted by Harrison, she was acquitted of the charge of possession of a gun by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 2005.

With no agreement between the parties the case resumed in late October. Acting for Beckett, Kylie Nomchong SC called on the Crown to withdraw the submissions and apologise to Beckett. But the Crown refused to do so arguing that the only possible reason why Harrison did not accept some aspects of Beckett’s evidence was that she had deliberately lied. Justice Harrison disagreed, pointing out that the Crown’s argument did not logically flow from his finding and that it could even be that he was wrong.

Without a hint of irony Maconachie argued that he should be given more time to consider arguments for a stay in judgement pending an appeal given that public money was at stake. Given the millions spent in pursuing her, the murmur his comment inspired from Beckett’s staunch supporters was hardly surprising.

According to information supplied in response to a freedom of information request from NSW Greens Legal spokesperson MP David Shoebridge, the Crown had already outlaid more than $2.8 million in fees and disbursements in the defending Beckett’s claim for damages up until April this year. This includes fees for senior counsel and two junior barristers during the malicious prosecution trial. It does not include the cost of months of time of a small team of in-house government solicitors or the court time. For every written submission and judgement and every minute of court hearing the public bill grows. Along with the damages and plaintiff’s costs this case will have cost more than $13 million. The public cost of the entire case against Beckett would be at least $30 million including costs of imprisonment, courts, police, and massive legal bills for the Crown and defence.

It is worth looking more closely at the findings in the two counts in which it was decided there was no reasonable basis for the charge.

At the time of her arrest, Beckett had charged her husband with assault. Instead of allowing the part-heard proceedings to continue, Thomas charged Beckett with perjury. On the day the assault case was due to continue, he improperly arranged for her bail to be withdrawn so that she was held in custody. Although the Supreme Court soon released her again, the assault proceedings were never finalised. Justice Harrison found that the “laying of the perjury charge was patently improper” and that Thomas could have formed “no honest or reasonable belief” that Beckett was guilty of the charge.

Justice Harrison described the allegation that Beckett had approached a drunken man called James Morris, whom she did not even know, to kill her husband as an “extraordinary” one which Thomas had “never once sought to verify it or test.” Instead he found that Thomas proceeded “at full throttle to prefer a serious charge for the wrongful purpose of getting back at Beckett for the mischief he felt she had caused him.” (The mischief was a complaint against Thomas’ conduct several years earlier). At the time Morris, who had resigned as the Aboriginal Police Liaison officer in Taree, was vulnerable because there were public rumours that he was involved in the abuse of Aboriginal girls. Justice Harrison found that Thomas “utilised the legal system in a way that did not secure justice but perverted it.”

These are the findings of fact that the state so strenuously resists. It is the verdicts on these two cases against which the Crown has indicated it will appeal. If it does, Beckett could counter appeal on the four counts that she did not win.

A Curiously Strident Submission

Justice Harrison was clearly not impressed by the Crown’s submissions.

He referred to their criticisms of his judgement as being submitted “somewhat boldly” and to their “curiously strident terms.” In response to the Crown’s description of the damages as “a staggering sum” and “irrational”, he wrote, “The significance of their characterisation in the present context is not immediately apparent to me.”

He noted that the Crown had made it “abundantly clear” that it would appeal his judgment. “However, the precise areas of challenge to my decision, apart from what may be gleaned from the generally agitated tone of his submissions, have not as yet been specified,” he added.

Justice Harrison’s judgment is cautious. He has clearly striving to be fair to both sides and did not overreach in his findings against the police. He has not accepted all of Beckett’s claims. But he did find there had been an “egregious failure in policing and an institutional failure of remarkable proportions” in allowing Thomas to be involved in the case. The Crown can only appeal on legal not factual grounds so it will be scrambling to find legal points on which to mount an arguable appeal.

At every point, the Crown has used its discretion to fight this case. It could easily have decided otherwise. So if it is not the law that is driving the Crown’s conduct, what factors might explain it?

What’s Driving The Crown?

The Crown stands to lose a lot of money on this case. Some may be arguing that it is better to risk losing EVEN more than give up NOW.

For years it seems that the Crown might be fending off damaging allegations about police involvement in a paedophilia ring in Taree, and abuse of Aboriginal girls. There were allegations even before Beckett was arrested about these activities and they were never resolved. The children of Beckett’s ex-husband, Barry Catt, alleged that when they were very young they had been made to watch pornographic movies and perform sexual acts in front of their father and police including Thomas. These allegations were withdrawn. Files disappeared and witnesses went missing. Several years after Beckett went to prison, more evidence emerged that police were involved in abuse of Aboriginal girls in Taree.

In the light of the revelations about child abuse in the mid north coast region of NSW and the Royal Commissions into institutional responses to child abuse, the allegations do not seem so unlikely today as they did in 1989. Only an open inquiry free of adversarial process could establish the truth of these allegations.

This aspect of the case has consistently been put aside as irrelevant by lawyers on both sides but ran as a dark unexplored current through the case. In the earlier years of the case it could be that some police and other witnesses had an interest in protecting Thomas and Barry Catt, both of whom died last years.

It is also true that miscarriages of justice cases involving corrupt police are hotly resisted because of the potential flow on impacts on other cases. Beckett was not Thomas’s only victim. The Crown settled at least one other malicious prosecution case while Beckett was in prison and another potential case was never launched because the victim lacked legal resources.

The Gender Issue

But there is also the issue of gender. The original Crown case depended on Beckett having almost magical witch-like powers. She was supposed to be able to manipulate police and psychiatrists against her husband and hypnotise witnesses. While the media treatment was fair before her conviction the trial judge’s phrase ‘evil and manipulative’ stuck. After her conviction there were double page spreads portraying her as a wicked stepmother and plotting wife. Prison files embedded the label in the official record when she would not admit her guilt.

Her strong exterior does not appeal to those who expect women to be vulnerable under pressure, especially when they have already been warned that she is ‘evil and manipulative’. One gets the impression that whatever the evidence, some Crown lawyers harbour an antipathy to her.

Those who know Beckett know what a toll the ordeal has taken on her but she has never crumbled. She has been fierce in her protestations of innocence and publicly scathing about the police and lawyers who pursued her.

The author knows from experience the whispering campaign among police, lawyers, journalists, and even judges to undermine any sympathy for her. She has been accused of being a prostitute, having an affair with a politician and involved in organised crime. None of these accusations had the slightest basis in reality.

She and her husband’s children were certainly the victims of domestic abuse. After she went to prison another woman who was severely assaulted by Catt stayed at a local women’s refuge. On the steps of the court last week Beckett expressed the hope that now that domestic violence is in the news another women in her situation might be treated differently.

Last week when Justice Harrison handed down his final judgement Maconachie was not there. But Justice Harrison categorically rejected the Crown’s proposition that Beckett’s conduct has somehow deprived the State of an opportunity to resolve the proceedings other than by litigation.

Those in charge of decisions about how the Crown should use its scarce resources must seek independent advice from a team with fresh eyes. A line should have been drawn on the 26-year campaign against Roseanne Beckett and compensation paid not just last week but a decade ago.


No comments: