So a Victorian police informer has been revealed, a(nother) Royal Commission announced and major gangland criminals are lining up to have their cases reviewed and decisions annulled, due to legal procedural errors by the Victorian Police. A whistleblower is struck down. The Police’s reputation is trashed. Criminals are likely to win. I predict the score will be Law 5 Justice 0 – a thrashing for Justice. We will all be losers. Here’s why.The Situation
It seems that a lawyer defending some of Victoria’s worst criminals at some point started providing secret evidence from her clients to the police. This greatly assisted the police cases and many major criminals were successfully prosecuted and jailed.
However – under the law – lawyers are supposed to keep client information confidential, follow client instructions and do their best to defend their clients.
The situation was compounded by the Informer being in a relationship with one of the police involved in these types of cases!
Now that this secret information channel has been revealed, under the law, potentially all cases involving Informer 3838 may have to be reviewed, since this practice is against the law. This is despite the fact that justice has prevailed: these criminals are guilty.
The Likely Scenario
If this is an accurate description of the situation, which seems probable, as many people seem to know and agree, the Royal Commission may be short, though its implications for the Police, Informer 3838 and some criminals will be significant.
The case seems clear:
– The lawyer acted unethically for her profession and under the law, even though the results were just outcomes.
– The Police acted inappropriately, and knew it, but perhaps were desperate to secure evidence and convictions of gangland criminals (not parking ticket violators).
– The criminals defence was critically damaged.
– The unknowing public were thrilled with the outcomes.
– Justice prevailed.
The Likely Outcome
We think the ‘law’ is about ‘justice’. But it isn’t, as any lawyer will tell you. The ‘law’ is about the legal statutes and their legislated or regulated processes, regardless of ‘justice’. We all look for loopholes when it suits us. But we also value ‘justice’ and the need for justice to be done, and to be seen to be done.
I predict the law and its processes will be strongly supported by the Royal Commission findings. Consequently, justice will be severely damaged. I predict:
– several Police will be retired (or, having already retired, their reputations will be shredded).
– Informer 3838 will be deregistered – the whistleblower loses personally, despite bringing serious criminals to justice.
– Several criminals will – eventually – have their cases overturned or retried – justice denied.
– The public will be angry with the Police, as criminals get off – justice is denied.
Lawyers and the rich may feel good about this. The rich can afford good lawyers to avoid justice by finding loopholes in the law. But the Police have kicked several own goals. Justice will not just lose, but be thrashed. Law 5 Justice 0 (Note: this is a home game for Law. All the own goals were scored by the Police.)
Let’s hope I’m wrong. This is a major problem with the legal system – the law doesn’t reliably result in justice. Just ask anyone who has been robbed, raped or tried to take on a big corporation.