Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Law. Legal Aid. Lawyers. Cracks in the floor.

You're broke. You've been wronged.

Of course, your sense of ‘being wronged’ is purely subjective, particularly in the eyes of the law.

Your first mistake may be watching way too many television shows where everything is wrapped up neatly in 50 minutes.

No one believes you, but you have a lawyer who bestrides a white horse brandishing a lance that surgically strikes at the heart of the matter.

The good guys win, the baddies lose!

Reality? Sometimes, but rarely often.

South Australia? Think Gilchrist!

Here in South Australia, we have sat in our lounges watching significant legal cases unfold across many weeks, even months on our local news channels.

We marvel at the wizardry of a Queen’s Counsel, as he or she fronts the cameras to explain to the masses how that quirk in the law was used to bring victory to, sometimes, the bad guy.

There’s your Don Quixote. There’s that one you want to sit down with and say; “Mate, I’m broke, I’m honest, and I’ve been shafted!”

Yeah, right!

Under-resourced and under-funded Legal Aid is a factory line for churning out ‘NO’ letters. Hell, you need to be under a real threat of a jail term to squeeze blood from that stone.

Community Legal Centres. Ever seen the same lawyer twice?

And how many times are we confronted by headlines screaming out that some clown has gotten off scot free on a bloody technicality!

In Adelaide recently, two things have unfolded right beneath my snout.

Again I'm stomping the streets looking for a lawyer with ‘front’, a lawyer who will say to me; “Mate, I believe you. And if we let the Government off the hook, how many others will suffer as their civil liberties are stomped on.”

And there is the case of my mate John who was in court last Thursday. I will get to that in a moment.

Of course, I am not stupid enough to suggest carte-blanche day on  lawyers and a full assault on pro-bono services. Pro-bono? Yeah, good luck with that one!

What I am highlighting are the glaring cracks in the floorboards that people fall through every, single day of the week.

In civil issues, we are buggered. Unless you got money, that is.

We don't have the connections to get us through to the Michael Abbotts or the Marie Shaws of this world.

I have been living on the skin of my arse since my had-to departure from the Attorney-General’s department back in 2008.

Over the years, I doubt there is a firm I have not telephoned or not written to with my grievances.

Some actually do get back to you, albeit the receptionist. Most do not even have the courtesy of a return anything.

You see, NO MONEY

Some excuses concern me. “I am sorry Mr McKibbin, but we are on a list of possible providers of legal services to the South Australian government. It would be a conflict of interest”.

Of course, as I discovered, some of those firms had NEVER actually provided such legal services. I can only imagine why some government agencies have so many names on a leashed list.

Anyway, I'm not bagging the profession as a whole. What I am saying is that unless you are charged with a serious crime, unless you have the right connections, unless you have money, and lots of it, you, my friend, simply fall through the cracks.

Justice IS NOT available to all.

Oh. And don’t do what I did recently. DO NOT waste time representing yourself. That highly skilled practitioner of the legal profession, the one to your right, he will crucify you.

They have no feelings for you. Though, personally they might feel sorry for you. However, at the end of the day, they take instructions. Hell, they won't even get in the same elevator as you. It's a whole different world within a world.

And, as in various cases during my years as a whistleblower, those instructions will be to ensure a win irrespective of ethics, of morals, of truth.

Last Thursday, Holden Hill Court House, I supported Adelaide invalid pensioner evangelist John who has had charges brought against him by the state government. His crime? Whistleblowing on Channel 7 exposing the years-long porn email distribution ring at Public Trustee.

Legal Aid sent him a ‘Dear John’ letter. He, like me, is on the bones of his arse. All he can do is seek an adjournment based on looking for legal representation. And he did.

Wonder what the record is for the number of adjournments when you claim that no representation is constitutionally not on?

Been there. Done that. Sometimes it makes more sense (as far as one’s health is concerned) to take a slap on the wrist for something you believe you are not guilty of, put it all behind you, and become more hardened to the society around.

Though, thank heavens Peter Lalor wasn’t like that back at the Eureka Stockade rebellion of 1854.

Anyway, I will continue to seek out my Don Quixote astride that horse. Somehow, I don't fancy my chances fronting up to the full bench of the Supreme Court, manilla folder in hand, attempting to prove that a decision made by a District Court Judge is just so wrong...THAT THE TRUTH DID NOT PREVAIL!

The guy from Crown Law? He was just way too good! The truth took a buggering. Trouble was, I'm no lawyer.


Anonymous said...


This is a message for the webmaster/admin here at adelcomp.blogspot.com.

May I use some of the information from this post right above if I give a link back to your site?


adelcomp said...

PETER: Roger dodger.

Lisa Wood said...

Hello Workplace Bully and corruption Whistleblower,

As a person who also believes in standing up for their rights, I see how much pain and anger you are feeling. Its not always the best thing to be truthful, but then its better than living a life full of lies. It sometimes feels like the good are done wrong by and the evil guys get away with it. But then again what goes around comes around!

Murfomurf said...

Aha! Why haven't I found your blog before? I've been done over by a few people, although the State government only put me in the wrong job classification so that when I asked for a reclass, they put me down a grade. This was after taking a $10 000/yr salary cut from my previous job on $36 000. The tertiary sector shafted me of a job I had been in for 6 years by making me "unqualified" to apply for it again and then an NGO had me fired because the head of my section had plagiarised MY WORK and they didn't want me whistleblowing! Grrrrrr. As for Legal Aid- too right I've never been able to get it!

Anonymous said...

A number of decent ideas. Really well planned

The Hooded One said...

Hi Rob. Yeah, I heard what happened in Court. Unbelievable. However, your analysis of what went wrong and why is spot on. I remember how the Crown Solicitor's Office spent 2 days trying to discredit you back in 2004. Didn't work too well then, the Judge and his two sidekicks believed you, they saw through the crap all the way to the truth.
Mate, I pray you get some help this time. Whilst I have absolute admiration for everything you have achieved over the years, I am wondering if the full bench of the Supreme Court might be too big a challenge on your own. As I always say, nothing has changed in here. Your fiery Irish determination and your concerns for vulnerable workers are sadly missed.

adelcomp said...

Hey Hooded One. I just moderated your comment. Thanks for the kind observations. Well, I see it like this. Those three venerable gentlemen sitting up on the big bench? Human Beings. Me? Human being. They eat, crap, and sleep, like the rest of us. All I can do is front up, declare my ignorance of fancy law shenanigans, and present as much proof as I can. If the Crown Law rep wants to dig up stuff from a billion years ago and try to make me out a liar, so be it! I still have some faith in the world as a whole. Maybe, just maybe appealing to the senses of three might be a better bet than the one I copped last August. Keep in touch. Rob.