DTL Media Releases
For immediate release 26 February 2019
Dowson Turco Lawyers (DTL) welcomes the interim report of the NSW Parliamentary Committee inquiring into gay and transgender hate crimes between 1970 and 2010 in NSW.
The report outlines the interim findings of our parliament and confirms that a “prevailing acceptance of, and indifference towards, violence and hostility directed at gay men, principally during the period prior to the mid-1990s, impacted on the protection of and delivery of justice to victims of hate crimes.”
Nicholas Stewart, partner at DTL, who led the LGBTI community’s push for this inquiry said, “Dowson Turco is grateful for the investment of the NSW Parliament in this issue. We are now making progress on justice for victims of LGBT hate crimes in NSW and I want to thank our community partners, ACON NSW and the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, as well as our pro bono client, Alan Rosendale, for helping to shine a light on this dark period of our history.”
DTL endorses the Parliamentary Committee’s recommendations, but maintains the view that a judicial commission of inquiry with broad powers to compel witnesses to give evidence is required to bring about justice for victims.
The full report can be accessed on the NSW Parliament’s website here.
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Dowson Turco Lawyers celebrates a successful campaign for a parliamentary inquiry into LGBTI hate crimes in NSW
Dowson Turco Lawyers (DTL) welcomes the announcement of a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into historic LGBTI hate crimes in NSW, including the response of the NSW justice system.
The NSW Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues will hold an inquiry into institutional responses to gay and transgender hate crimes committed in NSW between 1970 and 2010.
DTL acts for Alan Rosendale, who was bashed in a violent assault at a gay beat near South Dowling Street in 1989. A third-party independent witness recorded the numberplate of the vehicle carrying the perpetrators and it was subsequently confirmed with senior NSW Police officers that the number plate was that of a NSW Police Force vehicle. The inquiry should investigate Alan’s matter from all angles.
Nicholas Stewart, a DTL partner, said: “We commend the NSW Parliament for inquiring further into gay and transgender hate crimes committed in NSW between 1970 and 2010, and how justice agencies responded to these violent crimes.
“So many victims of this epidemic of LGBTIQ hatred have not received the treatment they would have received had they not been LGBTIQ,” Nicholas said.
“One victim’s mother wrote repeatedly to the NSW Police Force asking for it to investigate her son’s disappearance, but her multiple letters over many years were ignored. It was not until a brave NSW Police officer, Steve Page, saw the victim’s mother’s letters and used considerable personal time and energy to prompt an investigation.”
“It’s time to look at the past wrongs of our justice agencies and ensure not only that they are put right, but are never made again,” Nicholas said.
In May, the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) released the report “In Pursuit of Truth & Justice”, which looked at suspected anti-gay and anti-transgender homicides that occurred in NSW between the 1970s and 1990s. Among its recommendations was an independent inquiry that would explore the extent of historical violence experienced by the LGBTI community.
“We extend our gratitude to members of the NSW Parliament, particularly those who helped bring about this inquiry. Those members include The Hon. Shayne Mallard MLC, The Hon. Trevor Kahn MLC, Alex Greenwich MP, Ms Jenny Leong MP and The Hon. Penny Sharpe MLC. Their leadership means a lot for the survivors, their loved ones, the families of victims and the broader LGBTI community,” Nicholas said.
DTL has campaigned for this inquiry for many years. We are grateful to our friends in the NSW Parliament but also those friends within ACON as well as Rick Feneley, Susie Thompson, Steve Page, Duncan McNab and Stephen Tomsen. We look forward to assisting victims of hate crimes, including lesbians, bisexuals, intersex people and queer people, to tell their stories and inform our parliamentarians of the extreme violence our community suffered and still suffers.
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For immediate release
Dowson Turco Lawyers (DTL) is alarmed by statements of senior NSW Police Force officers say that they will instruct police officers to ban festival-goers from attending the Above & Beyond event in Sydney this weekend if the festival-goers happen to have a drug dog sit down next to them.
In response to this ostensible overreach of executive power, crime partner at Dowson Turco Lawyers, Nicholas Stewart said:
“The NSW Police Force does not have the power to prosecute civil penalties against innocent party-goers simply because a police drug dog has given an indication that they have drug particles on their clothes or skin. The law requires a criminal act to have been committed before an accused person can be penalised and an indication by a drug dog in respect of a civilian does not, at law, trigger a criminal prosecution. This is a dangerous over-reach of executive power and inconsistent with ancient laws that require accused people be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty of contravening the law.”
“Drug dogs have been shown, time and time again, to be ineffective at accurately detecting drugs on people. Unfortunately, drug dogs remain used by law enforcement agencies in NSW but, if they are used for the purposes of banning innocent people from attending events, then there is a real risk that the NSW Police Force will undermine public confidence in the integrity of its work.”
“Not only is this police activity beyond the legislated power prescribed and delegated by the Parliament of NSW, it is also activity capable of constituting civil torts including the torts of trespass to the person, battery and unlawful imprisonment.”
In response to legal proceedings brought by NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, Mr Stewart said “David Shoebridge MLC has sought injunctive relief which may or may not be successful. I admire his advocacy on this issue but cannot speak further about the proceedings.”