THE Haneef inquiry emerged briefly into daylight yesterday to hear the former chief justice Sir Gerard Brennan express concern that security laws are causing "too great an erosion of our fundamental rights".
Sir Gerard was speaking at a forum examining what he called the "novel" and "drastic" anti-terrorism laws used to detain and interrogate the Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef for 12 days in July last year.
Dr Haneef was charged with terrorism offences but these charges were later dropped. A former judge, John Clarke, QC, is conducting an inquiry into the fiasco.
Sir Gerard listed three areas of concern: "Unjustified discrimination, which drives a wedge between elements of our society; excessive interference with human rights, and absence of judicial supervision which exposes individuals to oppressive exercises of power."
The former chief justice spoke of lack of transparency in the detention process and lack of effective access to the courts. He asked: "Is it possible to devise an effective pathway to legal advice and to a court exercising habeas corpus jurisdiction, casting on the Commonwealth authorities the burden of justifying detention, compulsory questioning and isolation of individuals from contact with family and friends?"
Sir Gerard was plagued by calls on his mobile phone while speaking at the microphone. "Does anybody know how to control these things," he asked. "I'm dashed if I do."
The president of the Law Council, Ross Ray, QC, said: "The price the government agencies must pay for assuming greater powers is an increased level of public scrutiny of their actions."
Speaking in public for the first time since his inquiry began, Mr Clarke rejected calls for him to be given royal commission powers to compel witnesses to give evidence and produce documents. Things were going well with the powers he had, he said. "I remain unconvinced that the alternative would have been more effective." He is due to report in November.
Haneef's lawyer says inquiry is weak The inquiry into Australian authorities' handling of the Mohamed Haneef case needs stronger powers to avoid becoming a "toothless tiger", the former terror suspect's lawyer says.
Stand down, lawyers tell Keelty THE Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, should stand down pending the outcome of the Clarke Inquiry into the handling of the Haneef case, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said yesterday.
Haneef to seek compensation Greens...AFP needs to properly explain the reasons why it pursued the case against Dr Haneef. MORE than a year after a terrorism charge against him was dropped and more than $8 million later, the Australian Federal Police have finally confirmed they have cleared the Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef as a suspect.
Haneef advice ignored by Andrews: lawyers Lawyers for former Gold Coast-based Dr Mohamed Haneef say they have obtained new documents showing former immigration minister Kevin Andrews ignored advice from his own department.
Haneef case evidence 'to remain secret' The retired judge who is investigating the case of Dr Mohamed Haneef says much of the evidence he has received will have to remain secret. AFP denied lawyer to Haneef: report Mohamed Haneef's lawyers say the Australian Federal Police (AFP) repeatedly denied their client's request for a lawyer to be present during his first interview.
Legal experts to mull Haneef case The head of the inquiry, retired Supreme Court judge John Clarke QC, says the forum will examine legislation as it applied to Dr Haneef.
Push for overhaul of laws on terrorism In a paper in Judicial Review he said that the National Security Information Act "gives the appearance of having been drafted by persons who have little knowledge of the function and processes of a criminal trial".
Push for overhaul of laws on terrorism In a paper in Judicial Review he said that the National Security Information Act "gives the appearance of having been drafted by persons who have little knowledge of the function and processes of a criminal trial". Court denies Lodhi leave to appeal Lodhi claimed the trial did not establish that he had actually decided to carry out a terrorist attack.