Articles by Zeb Holmes

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 ...

Algorithms Used to Justify Unfair Treatment of the Vulnerable


A highly-respected mathematician believes algorithms are being used to justify race and class bias by the police and courts. Cathy O’Neil is a professor at Harvard University and author of the book ‘Weapons of Math Destruction’, which argues that the illusion of mathematical equations being objective and impartial is being exploited to justify the unfair ...

Should Drug Addiction Lead to a Lesser Sentence?


According to a report published by the Australian Institute of Criminology, nearly half of 1,884 police detainees surveyed in nine data collection locations reported that their offending was related to drug or alcohol use. Most of those who reported the link either advised that their offending occurred whilst intoxicated, or in the pursuit of funds ...

Conviction of State MP Leads to Renewed Calls for a Federal ICAC


NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has endorsed former Supreme Court judge Peter Hall QC as the new chief commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). “Mr Hall brings world-class expertise and experience to this critical role,” Ms Berejiklian said. “NSW needs a strong ICAC and this nomination reflects the Government’s commitment to the highest levels of ...

Centrelink’s Release of Critic’s Personal Information May Be a Crime


A prominent barrister believes the federal human services minister or one of his staff may have committed a crime by releasing a Centrelink client’s personal information. Robert Richter QC was commissioned by the federal Labor party to provide advice on whether releasing the tax and relationship details of a recipient who was critical of Centrelink’s ...