The Northern Territory Government in their wisdom introduced a scheme in December which permits people to be jailed for up to four hours – and longer if drunk – if police suspect they have committed a summary offence, including making undue noise or failing to keep a front yard clean.
For God’s sake – is this what we are getting reduced to? The scope for abuse is absolutely enormous. Whilst there is no doubt that police are needed in society and have a difficult job, there needs to be a balance between the power given to police and the freedom of the community.
Incarceration should always only used as a last resort, and only used to facilitate bringing the person incarcerated to the courts.
The right to liberty is one of the basic rights of an Australian citizen, which is protected by ensuring that its deprivation is determined by an independent judiciary. The common law does not recognise any executive warrant authorising arbitrary detention, so this scheme is fundamentally flawed .
Lawyers for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (Naaja) said in a submission the law was “unprecedented in Australia and in the common law w …