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Letters to the Editor

From time to time, a commentary on the world will bubble up inside of me to the extent that I'm forced to write a letter to my local, metropolitan, daily newspaper, The Age. This is where I blow of some steam. Feel like venting too? Add your own comment or visit my homepage.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Jury Fails to Uphold Family Violence Principles

In light of a recent jury decision to acquit Claire MacDonald of murdering her husband, the community needs to pause, reflect and affirm the basic principles of justice. The Victorian Law Reform Commission, in its Review of Family Violence Laws (1/3/2006), suggests values such as "ensuring the safety of all people", "preventing family violence" and "promoting non-violence".

It is hard to reconcile these values with the jury's decision in the case of a person setting up, stalking and shooting their spouse from a "sniper's nest". This killing is clearly family violence of the worst degree. Regardless of how awful, abusive, even criminal a person's behaviour was, they have the right to access the courts and not be summarily executed. Suggestions by some that he deserved it or had it coming have the moral force of the view that a woman in a short skirt deserves rape.

I hope this verdict does not encourage others to solve their problems by killing. No one deserves to be gunned down while fixing a car in a paddock, or bashed to death in their sleep for that matter. We must make clear that our community will not tolerate family violence - especially lethal vigilantism.



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