The International Commission of Jurists (Victoria) supports the decision to establish a Royal Commission into the activities of Victoria Police and others which the High Court has justifiably described as reprehensible and atrocious.
The United Nation’s Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers include:
12. Lawyers shall at all times maintain the honour and dignity of their profession as essential agents of the administration of justice.
15. Lawyers shall always loyally respect the interests of their clients.
The rule of law cannot exist without lawyers who are independent and maintain the highest standards of honesty, integrity and fairness. That a lawyer charged with defending his or her client in a criminal prosecution should, with the encouragement and support of a key institution of our criminal justice system, inform on the client in order to assist the prosecution, offends the most basic tenets of our system of justice.
Informer 3838 has reportedly written that she was motivated by altruism. Her police handlers are quoted as saying that people were dying and that they were never going to turn their backs on an intelligence source, no matter who it was.
Such statements fundamentally misunderstand how the rule of law operates in a just society. The ends do not justify the means, particularly when the means serve to undermine the very fabric of our justice system.
ICJV looks forward to the Royal Commission finding a way to repair the damage done to the rule of law in this sorry saga.