Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Infanticide law in Australia: How is this not murder?
Comment from a reader involved in social work:
I have a particular dislike of the infanticide law. I personally know of several cases where mothers have deliberately killed their baby and never went to gaol for it. They simply got counselling.
Men are charged with murder and get 20 - 25 years for killing their babies, but women can drown them, stab them, dash their brains out on a door frame and get off free, and often without any publicity at all.
The only reason this one got publicity is because the woman was caught on tape, otherwise, like all such cases we would probably not know about it unless we worked in a counselling facility.
Feminists love the infanticide law, they want it extended to the killing of 5 years olds in states where it is only for killing up 1 and 2 year olds. Yet they protest when a father who killed his baby is released after 18 years gaol.
I have silenced a few groups of feminists -- when they are griping about the patriarchy and planning some silly protest -- by saying to them, You women want more rights but without accountability. When you are marching in the streets demanding the infanticide law be scrapped and women who kill their babies be charged with murder and sentenced just like men are, when you are demanding equal accountability with men, then I will be marching in the street with you. Until then, I find your talk about equal rights disgusting
IN THE days leading up to April 10 last year things had got out of hand for Sofina Nikat, a court has heard.
According to a summary of her police interview from that day, which was last week read out in court, the 23-year-old mother was struggling to cope with her 14-month-old baby girl Sanaya Sahib.
She told police the baby would “look at the roof and cry and growl”, and that she had been advised by a priest that she and her baby were possessed and had negative energy.
After initially claiming her daughter had been snatched from her pram by an African man who reeked of alcohol, Nikat later admitted to police she had put her hand across Sanaya’s mouth and nose, and hugged her tight until she couldn’t feel her daughter moving.
Nikat had killed her baby, she told police, then dropped her daughter’s body in Darebin Creek.
Yet when she answered a charge of murder in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, she pleaded not guilty. Psychiatrists agreed.
Her defence lawyer Christopher Dane QC presented the court with two psychiatric assessments by different psychiatrists who independently concluded what Nikat did was not murder, but another charge.
“The balance of mind of Sofina Nikat was disturbed,” consultant psychiatrist Yvonne Skinner wrote in her report. “She is guilty of infanticide, and not murder.”
Mr Dane told the court if Nikat had been charged with infanticide, she would have likely pleaded guilty.
In Victoria, the charge of infanticide carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, however it is believed no Victorian woman has been jailed for infanticide. A murder accused is up for 25 years behind bars.
The charge can only be applied to a woman — a mother — who “carried out conduct that causes the death of her child (under two) in circumstances that would constitute murder”, and, whose balance of mind is disturbed because she’s either not recovered from the effect of giving birth, or as a result of “a disorder consequent on her giving birth to that child”.
It’s a rare crime and one that carries different meanings and consequences in different jurisdictions. In New South Wales a mother can only be found guilty of infanticide if she has killed her child under 12 months, under similar circumstances as in the Victorian law, only the punishment will be the same as if it was manslaughter. The partial defence of infanticide is also available in Tasmania, but doesn’t feature in the remaining Australian states’ criminal codes.
When infanticide does come up in a high profile case, confusion and outrage often comes with it.
How is this not murder? Why is the sentence so light? Why should it be any different?
Congress passes legislation to undo Obama restrictions on drug tests for unemployed
The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would repeal an Obama administration rule that limits the ability of states to prevent drug users from receiving unemployment benefits.
The rule, which was published in the Federal Register last August, was meant to implement a law that requires people receiving these benefits to be able and ready for work. The law gave states the option of denying drug users these benefits.
The Senate voted 51-48 to kill the rule.
The resolution disapproves of the rule and compels the Labor Department to write another one. It was passed under the Congressional Review Act, a law that gives Congress the ability to block recently enacted rules by passing disapproval resolutions with a simple majority vote that are then signed by the president.
Republicans opposed the rule from the Labor Department because it limited this option, by only allowing states to deny benefits to people in the transportation or pipeline management industries, those who use firearms in their job, or people in jobs that normally require drug testing.
"The final regulation defined the role of an occupation so narrowly that it basically makes it impossible for states to implement any meaningful drug-testing policy," Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said on the Senate floor Tuesday. He said with this legislation, the Labor Department will be able to rewrite the rule that better reflects Congress' intent.
Democrats worry that any changes to the rule would create too many obstacles for people to get unemployment benefits who are genuinely looking for work and who have already paid into the unemployment benefits program. They argued that lawmakers should focus on helping these people get treatment and not put down those individuals who have found themselves in a bind.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the ranking member on the finance committee, said "this measure before us is simply bizarre." He argued that the new legislaiton "vilifies unemployed workers who are actually less likely to use drugs than the general population" and defies a bipartisan compromise in reached in 2012. He also warned of a "legal minefield" for those state who will still want to conduct the drug testing.
The Drug Policy Alliance, a group pushing for the decriminalization of drug use, said the Republican legislation is a waste of U.S. taxpayers' dollars.
UK: No freedom of cross examination in rape cases?
A new spasm of political correctness: Defence counsel might well have questions arising from recently revealed evidence but will now not be allowed to put those questions. Drawing attention to new evidence can often lead to a withdrawal of allegations so this is a severe limit on justice. And the price of a miscarriage of justice in rape cases will be high
Alleged rape victims will no longer face cross-examination live in court under reforms announced today by Elizabeth Truss, the justice secretary and lord chancellor.
From September victims will be able to give evidence in a pre-recorded video that will be played to the jury once the trial begins.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Times, Truss revealed that she is bringing forward plans for recorded cross-examination for all adult sexual offences tried in crown courts after three cities used taped evidence in child sex cases.
She said the pilot schemes showed that defendants, when confronted with the strength of the evidence against them before the trial, were more likely to plead guilty early, reducing the trauma for rape victims.
Australia: Opposition to free speech won’t end happily
Democracy should always be defended. The essential ingredient of a true democracy is freedom of speech: that freedom is under attack from the left and even, at times, the right.
When those opposed to marriage equality tried to hold a meeting at the Mercure Hotel near Sydney airport, supporters of marriage equality so pestered and threatened the hotel that they cancelled the event. Just as I have been critical of the left for preventing Israeli speakers from going to any university in Australia to put their case, this and every attack on free speech must be resisted. If you won’t let the other side speak, you must have limited confidence in your own argument.
This week saw two attempts to further muzzle free speech on marriage equality. The fiasco at Coopers says so much about intolerance. The performance of LGBTI activists over Coopers Brewery and the Bible Society video was as cruel as it was anti-democratic. Directors Tim and Melanie Cooper looked uneasy as they tried to distance the company from the video and stave off the rapidly growing boycott of their beer.
The video itself is merely an attempt at sane, sensible and orderly debate. The reaction of totalitarians with such outrage is really sad to see. The viciousness suggests that they will never allow the slightest hint of a view different to their own to see the light of day.
This blind insistence against the exercise of the right to free speech has been on graphic display in recent times. I attended the Bill Leak memorial on Friday to honour a great and talented Australian genius. One of the kindest men I ever met had been the subject of a bitter, savage assault on social media. The attack from the Human Rights Commission had accused him of racism and one commissioner called on people to lay complaints against him.
Just to make sure that the right got in on the anti-free speech bandwagon, Peter Dutton bucketed the CEOs who had the temerity to lend their support to an open letter calling for an early start for gay marriage.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.