Court Report on R v Rowe [2017]

The following report on the case of R v Rowe [2017] is based on information presented to the court during trial on the 23rd of March, and on the 27th of March. Any factual errors are a result of observational inaccuracy. This report is not a complete report on the entirety of the case. The case was heard before the Supreme Court of Victoria in Bendigo, Victoria, presided over by Justice Lex Lasry. The counsel for Her Majesty consisted of barristers Ben Ihle, Crown Prosecutor Fron Dalziel, and Chief Prosecutor Justine McLeod. While the counsel for the accused, Joby Rowe, consisted of barristers Paul Higham and Julia Minster.

Appropriate Dispute Resolution

In many ways, the term ‘appropriate dispute resolution’ could be seen as merely an acronym among many such as ‘additional’, or ‘assisted’ dispute resolution, for the much more common and culturally embedded term, ‘alternative dispute resolution’. However, it is much more intricate than a mere acronym. The use of the word ‘appropriate’ encompasses the diverse and distinct nature of each and every dispute, and how different methods of resolution are fitting for different circumstances of disputes. It is a very broad term that covers a wide range of dispute resolution methods other than litigation. In fact, the suitability of the term has been so influential that both legislation, as in the State of Victoria, and Chief Justices have advocated from a move away from the use of the word ‘alternative’, and towards ‘appropriate’ dispute resolution.

Should Australia have a Bill of Rights?

Whether or not Australia should adopt bill of rights has become a very contentious topic. While Australia is the only Western democratic state without a bill rights, this does not mean we as a nation should simply adopt such a bill purely to fall inline with the rest of our western brethren. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia does protect only a limited number of rights, however the structural protections within the constitution – and the ability of the High Court to interpret the constitution and it’s meaning – provide for protections of citizens of the Commonwealth as well as flexibility and discerning in individual cases by justice’s of the High Court where appropriate. However in saying this, a Bill of Rights, such as that in the Unites States’ Constitution, does provide benefits of its own, such as giving the judiciary more power over the legislative, whom may be better distinguished to protect individual freedom’s and create precedents for such scenarios, rather than politicians.

Institutions of Global Governance

The power and influence of two major contemporary global actors – the United Nations and the International Criminal Court is both widely acclaimed and criticised. The United Nations is hamstrung with its unavoidable and inherent paradox of holding the preservation of state sovereignty as sacred, whilst counter-intuitively aiming to encourage international cooperation; which at times requires the restriction of state sovereignty to meet its aims to keep peace throughout the world, whilst also fulfilling its role as an institution of global governance in maintaining international peace and security. However the United Nations has performed effectively to the best of its capability, if you can appreciate the complexity of taking on such a colossal role and the challenges such a role faces; the United Nations is very much a quiet achiever. The International Criminal Court however, is very much a ‘toothless tiger’, “a mosquito in the ear of an elephant” (as it was compared to by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir). Not due to incompetence or bad administration, but due to its embryonic nature, as the newest institution of global governance in the global community, and the many hardships the International Criminal Court faces and the difficulties of tackling state sovereignty and the national interests of states that act unilaterally.