17 Jul. 2007

When You Make The Laws, Nothing Is Really Illegal

The transcript is not available yet, so here's a shorter version of Phillip Ruddock on Lateline last night:
Phil Ruddock on Lateline

Q: Does the case against Dr Haneef set a legal precedent?
A: I would have thought these this would be judged in a court of law, not the court of public opinion.

A: Is current handling of the case actually illegal?
A: I haven't formed a view on that. Courts have ethical obligations above and beyond their legal obligations.

Q: Has Haneef been charged with "intentional" and/or "reckless" support of terrorists?
A: My reading of the media reports suggests it is just the latter.

Q: Repeats above question, citing police doc stating that his support was "reckless" but not "intentional".
A: I have informed myself from public comments. These are not matters for which I am accountable.

Q: You don't know what the charge is? And you are the AG?
A: I have READ reports. I am not privy to further charges.

Q: Quotes charges.
A: I cannot comment on legal matters.

Q: Was Kevin Andrews given incorrect info?
A: Haneef's lawyers are challenging the minister. Not my business to intrude.

Q: This is about a SIM card, cousin is not charged with being part of a terrorist organisation.
A: Still none of my business. Recaps case.

Q: Shouldn't the AG explain these news laws as they are being used for first time?
A: Terrorism is very important. We need to balance rights with security. Main issue is bail. Intention of parliament was there would be a presumption against bail in such cases. Stricter laws may be needed.

Q: But this man just gave someone a Sim card!
A; That's what his lawyer says. We have protected evidence, which must be dealt with confidentially.

Q: Secret info Section 503a is what?
A; Info related to security.

Q: Intelligence?
A: Could be. Info that might compromise current investigations MIGHT be involved, etc. Other people might be involved. Blah blah blah. Court can test resonableness of info.

Q: But Haneef and lawyers cannot see secret info.
A: It's up to the minister to form an opinion on character. That opinion will be tested in court.

Q: Is this secret info it admissible as evidence in court?
A: Yep.

Q: Judge can see it but lawyers cannot?
A: Yep.

Q: Such evidence is being used to take away a man's liberty. What about cited evidence of Haneef's good character?
A: Nothing to do with anything, not my business. Separate issue. Decisions can always be challenged later in civil court.

Q: New anti-terror laws have had to be bolstered by Immigration Laws on first use - does that mean new laws are inadequate?
A: Still examining them, especially presumption against bail. We don't want terrorist suspects ever getting bail.

Q: How did you react to PM's offer to accept blame for bad polls?
A: He's a great leader.