Charter of Rights court cases

Did you know that there have now been SEVERAL Court decisions in Victoria resulting from the controversial Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

Do you recall that some people say that a proposed federal Charter of Rights won't be used to give judges more  power by allowing them to analyse the 'rights' issue and make judgements about whether a law "matches" the Charter?
Well, read on to find out what is happening in Victoria...

Several of the decisions have come from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, one from the Supreme Court and one from the Supreme Court acting as the Court of Appeal.

Some of the legal cases involving the Charter have focused on the issue of housing - even though a 'right to housing' or 'homelessness' are not covered by the Charter. In some cases the Tribunal found that the PRIVACY of the person was the issue!

The following article notes "The charter provisions mean that even people living in public housing illegally may cite human rights concerns when challenging the government's move to evict them."!

Media Report: Human rights trump public housing eviction - The Age, April 6, 2010
"A GOVERNMENT decision to evict a Somali refugee and his young son from public housing leased to his late mother was unlawful and a breach of the man's human rights.
In a landmark decision that will affect 70,000 public housing applicants in Victoria, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled public tenancy agreements had to be consistent with the Charter of Human Rights.
Under the charter, a person has the right ''not to have his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence unlawfully or arbitrarily interfered with''. Unlike private landlords and property owners, the Director of Housing is a public authority and is legally obliged to comply with the charter...."

This article lists FIVE significant legal decisions using the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

The latest decision by the Court of Appeal found that a law designed to stop drug trafficking is in breach of the Charter. The Court of Appeal ruled that the human rights of a drug trafficker were breached because she had a prove that a large quantity of amphetamine found in her flat did not belong to her. [In this case, the boyfriend admitted they were his and said she had nothing to do with it ...]
The Court of Appeal found that this reverse onus condition infringed on the 'presumption of innocence'...

Despite the ruling about the Charter, the three Court of Appeal justices found that she was properly convicted but ruled that the remaining 16 months of her sentence be suspended!

Media Report: Drug law at odds with human rights rules Victorian Court of Appeal, AAP, March 18, 2010.  

Go to top