8pm FRIDAY MAY 21, 2010: THE BURDEN OF PROOF
True crime author (& Sisters in Crime national convenor) Robin Bowles interrogates top Victorian female law women about one of the foundation principles of Western jurispudence: ‘the burden of proof’.
Yes, the burden of proof is more than a Scott Turow novel and TV series! It refers to the legal obligation on a party to prove the allegation made by her against another party. The law says that the defendant enters a trial presumed innocent and the jury should have no preconceived ideas or knowledge. It’s up to the prosecution to prove guilt. But are current legal requirements satisfactory? How do barristers and judges implement this rule of evidence? Can the burden of proof sway courts into delivering rare, but recognised, miscarriages of justice? Hear from our panel who face this burden every day:
Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth has served on the Supreme Court of Victoria since 2004 and is a former Rhodes Scholar and Senior Counsel. One of the recent cases she judged involved the former policeman Cameron Cook who attempted to murder his wife by binding her hands, feet and mouth with tape, chaining her to the rear seat of his car and driving off the Mordialloc pier.
Barrister Julie Sutherland specialises in criminal law, especially murder and sexual offences. Past clients include Tania Herman (who pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Maria Korp) and Jodie Harris, our own Australian 'Catch me if you can' girl, who baffled police with her clever and expert assumption of other people's identities to obtain financial gain. Acting mainly as a defence
barrister, her job throughout a trial is to constantly shift the burden of proof onto the prosecution, where it rightly belongs.
Barrister Carolyn Burnside acted for the defence in many criminal trials early in her career. She also spent some time as a judge's associate, but she now prosecutes County Court trials - “largely sexual offences which can be both hard and hideous!”
Bell’s Hotel (upstairs), 157 Moray St., South Melbourne (cnr Coventry). Mel 57, G1.Try 112, 55 or St Kilda Road trams. Free on-street parking after 6pm. $5/$10 (non-members) 10% discount from Benn’s Books stall. Dinner downstairs from 6.30pm. No need to book for dinner or event. Men or ‘brothers-in-law’ welcome. Info: Carmel Shute on 0412 569 356 or go to: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~sincoz/