Point-of-View-SA Blog

The Road Rage Death and the DPP

Posted on: November 5, 2009

The Advertiser Editorial of August 30 2007. “Everyone Loses When the Justice System Fails” referring to the Mountford Case. In the backlash that created the editorial, Mr. Pallaras, the Director of Public Prosecutions whose photo appears there, is quoted saying that it was “no longer in the Public Interest to proceed with the case.” and “Understandably, the complainant and the Police were fully consulted prior to this decision being made”. In this particular road rage death, the victims grieving Mother wants the DPP “to tell her to her face” that the attacker goes free. The public response to the matter has erupted somewhat.

It seems appropriate to quote Lord Goldsmith the UK Attorney General who, in 2006 had this to say in part, “The rule of law is not simply about rule by law. Such a proposition would be satisfied whatever the law and however unfair, unjust or contrary to fundamental principles, provided only that it was applied to all. The rule of law (however), comprehends some statement of values which are universal and ought to be respected as the basis of a free society”…..and … “These values are the basis of our Western society, which has grown and progressed in spite of attempts by royal, military, or religious and political despots to destroy it. However, we must be mindful that rule by law is unethical, very often unjust, and not so much an intrusion into those values by legislation but by the very failure of the legal system to respect them”.

With appreciation to Mr. Pallaras for his observations that an ICAC is needed in SA, it is perception that is more powerful than the facts and like the Mountford Case, this one might sit well with the law but not so with community values .It is universal, that not only must justice be done, it must also appear to be done.

We have the courts to decide such a matter. The Courts are the stop gap to determine whether it is “not in the public interest to proceed” ( to trial) and not one man no matter his position in the community.There is too much of this road rage developing with tragic consequences. To my mind the heart condition as a predominant cause of death to justify the “fine line of a decision” is similar with the bashing outside the bar and the victim falls to the ground and dies from a fractured skull.

A victim of assault is entitled to the protection of the law if he is attacked and this has nothing to do with whether or not he has a heart condition or the pox.

To view public comment online go to: http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/comments/0,,26306329-5006301,00.html


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