Should there be a national inquiry into the alleged sexual misconduct of the Attorney General?
Since the Attorney General (AG) Christian Porter publicly announced that he was the person at the centre of historical sexual assault allegations by a woman who has since committed suicide, there has been a lot of pressure on the Federal Government to conduct an independent inquiry.
Both the AG and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have resisted the idea of an independent inquiry, drawing heavily upon arguments which espouse the ‘rule of law’, suggesting that any such inquiry would mean a trial by media. Furthermore, it would set a dangerous precedent -- that any Australian subjected to historic sexual assault allegations, which he/she strongly denies would find themselves in an undefendable position.
In the case of Christian Porter, the woman who is at the centre of the rape allegations took her life before making a formal statement to the police. It’s understood that before committing suicide, she told NSW Police she no longer wanted to proceed with the matter.
Since the accuser is now deceased, seeking justice through the legal system is not possible. The New South Wales Police have closed the case, because there isn’t enough evidence to proceed with a criminal prosecution. The South Australian Police are preparing a case for the coroner.
While there is some debate over whether an independent enquiry should proceed the Prime Minister has been at pains to explain: “The rule of law is essential for liberal democracies. And we weaken it at our great peril. We must reflect on that principle because it is that principle that undergirds our democracy itself: the presumption of innocence”.
The presumption of innocence is indeed a cornerstone of the justice system.
And this, in the eyes of many, is just as valid a reason to ensure that an independent inquiry into the allegations against Christian Porter is established to deliver its own findings, and make recommendations. Such an inquiry would have no powers to press charges or provide a verdict. Although many believe that it would provide Australians with answers.
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PLEASE NOTE: The material in this blog post is for informational use only and should not be construed as legal advice. For answers to your questions regarding this or other topics, please contact a professional legal representative.