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Don’t let the law become a political weapon




The presumption of innocence is one of the bedrock principles of the Australian legal system. In fact, near-universal support for the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty can be observed as widely as sixth century Roman law, the Jewish Talmud, Islamic Hadith, and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

As Blackstone articulated in his definitive Commentaries on the Laws of England, it has long been a central tenet of the common law that ‘it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.’ Troublingly, the treatment of Christian Porter suggests that few in the media, the Twitterati, and even academia would agree with Blackstone today.

Porter is certainly not the first Australian to…

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