Quick hit: Removal of presumption of innocence should scare the crap out of you

The presumption of innocence is in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it’s in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe  and many other legal doctuments.

It has a long history, and the Western Australian government is going to remove it, because it believes apparently that their is one set of crimes, so bad, so terrible that it is worth removing these protections is jusified?

Rape?

Mass murder?

Bringing the global economy almost to it’s knees?

So what terrible crime is this being done for?

Streetwalking! 

As hexy says

It’s worth noting also that some of the proposed legislation is based on legislation already in place in Western Australia, and women have reported being harassed by police on the street on suspicion of street based sex work based on what they are wearing. What happens in situations like that if the presumption of innocence is removed? What happens when people are carrying large sums of money, or literature from sex worker organisations? What happens to people who are not sex workers, but who are congregating with people who are? What happens to people the cops don’t like who are found in a “known sex work area”? Will we have a situation like in certain places in the US where being arrested for street based sex work becomes a matter of being visibly trans* or being a WOC, only the people arrested will then be treated as legally guilty from the moment of arrest and have no recourse to the presumption of innocence?

Our legal system is far from perfect but I would recommend being very worried, and very angry when long standing protections are removed. Sex work shouldn’t ever been a crime, even if you think it shouldn’t happen on suburban streets, then surely the crime of operating a business outside of a business area should be a minor matter, similar to a cafe putting out more chairs on the footpath than they are licensed for, it should not be a reason to change hundreds of years legal history.

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4 Responses to Quick hit: Removal of presumption of innocence should scare the crap out of you

  1. Exactly!! Why cant people see that the very same laws used against us as sex workers could easily be perscribed to their own communities if they are one day not the flavour of the month. why dont people jump and down when sex workers human rights are trampled over? Where i am in South Australia we still have consorting laws. It is illegal to consort with a common prostitute, that’s me. We are also the same place who recently introduced the much criticised “anti bikie laws”, which have now been overturned by the high court i believe. The bikie consorting laws are almost exactly the same, as far as i can tell, as the sex worker consorting laws. Everyone jumped up and down all over the country about those anti bikie laws, recognising that even if your not a bikie, the erosion of basic freedoms such as freedom of association, must be applied to all if its to be worth anything to anyone. But no one seems to care about the anti whore consorting laws we had since the 1930’s. It’s insane, that someone could face criminal charges for ‘consorting’ with me. it should be an outrage.

    • cheshbitten says:

      Hey, thanks for commenting, I must admit I don’t know about the consorting laws, I will have to do some reading. (I’m vic based by the way, so I am less up on SA laws)

      • oh, our laws down here are archaic and ridiculous. it’s all illegal, and the cops use entrapment and all sorts. i dont expect you to know the sex work laws around the country they are so complex, useless, and illogical that i can barely understand the ones in my own state. but i do really appreciate it when people can see the injustice in the laws that affect us in all the states of australia. so thanks for the post.

  2. Pingback: Quickhit: No feminist I know. | Dinosaurs in tutus:

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