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Archer Must Provide Concrete Answer Over Informant Question

21 Feb 2019

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Justice spokesperson

Attorney-General Elise Archer needs to reassure Tasmanians who are deeply concerned by the devastating breach on the integrity of the justice system, caused by Victorian Police’s actions over the last decade. It is her duty to ascertain, without a shadow of doubt, that the illegal methods used by Victorian Police to extract confessions from defendants have not been employed in Tasmania.

The Victorian circumstance of a lawyer turned police informant, now the subject of a Royal Commission, had been surrounded in court suppression orders and secrecy. The case only came to light following a High Court decision that pointed to “fundamental and appalling breaches” in the lawyer’s obligations to her clients and courts, and found the Victorian Police guilty of “reprehensible conduct in knowingly encouraging [the lawyer] to do as she did”.

Ms Archer has said she is “not aware” of any circumstance that would give rise to a suspicion that police have used these practices in Tasmania. In lay terms, this means she hasn’t asked a direct question to the Tasmanian Police about the matter, and so she hasn’t been given a definitive answer.

If you don’t ask, you don’t find out.

The gravity of this potentially serious threat to Tasmania’s justice system requires Attorney-General Archer to urgently seek a definite assurance from Tasmanian Police about whether they have ever engaged in the practice of recruiting lawyers as informants in prosecution cases.