Articles by Zeb Holmes

Disability and Jury Service in NSW


The ACT Legislative Assembly has passed laws which broaden the range of people who can serve on a jury. People with disabilities will be no longer be automatically exempt from jury duty in the nation’s capital. Rather, courts will decide on a case-by-case basis whether a person will be able to perform the role of ...

Courts Struggle to Interpret Emojis


Legal researchers at Melbourne and Deakin Universities have looked into the problems that arise when emojis are used in the courtroom as evidence. The study by Professors Elizabeth Kirley and Marilyn McMahon, entitled ‘The EmojiFactor: Humanizing the Emerging Law of Digital Speech’, discusses how courts are struggling to keep up with the ways emojis are ...

Calls for New Offence of ‘Industrial Manslaughter’


Families of deceased Victorian workers are leading the campaign for a new offence of industrial manslaughter to make corporate bosses responsible for deaths resulting from workplace negligence. 21-year old Jack Brownlee and 34-year old Charlie Howkins were laying pipes at a worksite in the Ballarat suburb of Delabombe when the trench collapsed, killing Mr Brownlee ...

Sydney Psychologist Suggests Homicidal Teen Should Commit Murder


A psychologist practising on Sydney’s North Shore has come before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) after a referral from the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC). Dr Elise Lowick, a specialist in emerging psychosis, was facing suspension or deregistration over a string of inappropriate communications with a troubled year 12 student, including one which ...

The Law Treats De Facto Partners Differently to Married Couples


It is frequently claimed by opponents of same-sex marriage that homosexual couples already enjoy the same legal rights as those who are married. But that is not actually the case – there are a range of laws which clearly distinguish between de facto couples and married ones, often making it easier for the latter to ...

Banks Accused of Facilitating Money Laundering


Australia’s big four banks have been allowing organised crime groups to launder up to $5 million a day, according to federal and state policing agencies. Money laundering occurs when funds obtained through illegal activities such as drug trafficking is channelled into seemingly legal assets and enterprises such as businesses, property, gambling and trust funds in ...

Incorrect Identification Leads to Wrongful Conviction


A recent case in Western Australia has highlighted the consequences for innocent people of police incorrectly identifying suspects. The case involved a 24-year-old Indigenous man who was arrested thirteen years ago and charged with causing grievous bodily harm. Police mistakenly identified the man as a 17-year old with the same name, and prosecuted him through ...

The Link Between Exposure to Lead and Crime


New research is attempting to piece together the complex relationship between environmentally induced chemical changes in the brain as a child and anti-social conduct as an adult, especially impulsive, violent crime. Adding to previous research, a recent peer-reviewed study published in the journal Environmental Health has found a strong link between childhood exposure to lead ...

Terrorism Charges Expected Over Mosque Attacks


Three men are expected to be charged with terrorism offences over two alleged arson attacks on a Melbourne mosque late last year. The trio of suspects, aged 29, 27 and 25, allegedly started a fire at the Imam Ali Islamic Centre on 11 December 2016. Victoria police say the suspects will be charged with engaging ...

The Unreliability of Confessions: Implanted Memories


For many, a confession is indisputable evidence of a person’s guilt. However, a significant body of scientific research has found that people can easily be persuaded to confess to serious crimes that they did not commit. Wrongful convictions In 2014, a team of lawyers and statisticians asserted that 14.1% of people who were sentenced to ...