I will be watching this whilst bearing in mind that the Governing Body are slippery, duplicitous sons of bitches with enormous funds at their disposal.
Victoria, Australia: FYI-Far reaching ramifications of the criminal indictment of the GB
I'm in Tennessee in the USA and it is in the middle of Monday afternoon on Sept. 12th as I type this post. I believe it is early morning on Tuesday the 13th in Victoria, Australia. The day has finally arrived for Steven Unthank to get his long-awaited "show on the road."
Yes, if all goes right on Tuesday the 13 th at the Magistrate’s Court, it could be the beginning of the long road to justice for 2,500 children of JWs in Victoria. I'm optimistic, yet not dumb to the wiles of Watch Tower leaders and JW attorneys so will expect anything they may do or say to influence the Victoria, Australia, government. We all know WT has had considerable experience manipulating modern-day governments to look the other way as JW adults, who don’t know that they are being deceived, die in the name of God for not taking blood. In addition, the majority of governments also ignore the cries of families for their human rights who are splintered because of JW religious shunning practices in the name of freedom of religion.
I’m optimistic because already the head of Victoria’s police was forced to resign by the Premier because he did not enforce the child protection laws and did not do his duty in behalf of other injustices. I’m optimistic because Steven Unthank has managed to get this far, to have the major players in the Watch Tower organization criminally indicted, something no one could imagine might happen. It's a new government administration in Victoria as of the end of 2010. The party ran on a law and order campaign slogan. Now we'll see if they will enforce the Working With Children law.
However, the question still hangs in the air –Will JWs demand that the same treatment be carried out towards their Governing Body as the Governing Body demands of elders if a JW, who serves in a special position, is criminally indicted by the authorities that he is to be immediately removed from his position? I think we all know the answer, but all the same it is an incredible scenario to think about.
I will admit I have not read every word on this topic, so I apologize if this has been covered already, but...
How does an Australian court have jurisdiction to try a case involving 7 residents of New York City, USA?
In case newcomers don't know I am an American lawyer. This case raises interesting legal questions. It has major problems. Problems that I am not researching. Merely noting them.
The Governing Body is outside the jurisdiction of Australia. If the WT is included, assets could conceivably be attached to pay a fine. Almost all jurisdiction in every country is territorial. Recent years have seen the concept extended a bit, particularly for war criminals deemed to have committed crimes against humanity. It seems the worse the GB could face is not being able to talk at a convention in Australia. I doubt if they are quaking in their boots over that. Clearly, they want to be able to travel to Australia freely.
I am ignorant of Australian law. Australia clearly is a common-law country, however, with laws created during the Middle Ages in England. Every former English country has this system of laws. It is a very different type of legal system than the European codes. Freedom of religon will be important in Australia.
Succeeding in Magristate's Court is a small, preliminary step. Will the complaint be held as valid and survive summary judgment in a court of higher jurisdiction? All religions will favor the GB legally. They have too much to lose if the GB loses.
Freedom of religion is probably a key concept enshrined in Australia's constitution. Such a constitution would trump laws or cases that are deemed in conflict with constl' requirements.
This case raises questions that law students would love to learn. The concept is more sophsticated than most attempts to reign in the GB legally. In the US, laws that affect everyone neutrally and not designed to punsih a religion are valid. Peytoe smoking is outlawed, even thoiugh Native Americans have it at the core of their beliefs. Polygamy is another law that applies, regardless of religion. I am not certain it would hold up today if a case made its way to the Supreme Court. The Australian law raises compelling issues. Clearly, the law was not written to punish JWs. They prob. cannot claim an exemption. Australia has now power to imprison or seize the personal assets of the GB. WT should be a party.
This case will have the WT legal department spinning a bit. Most of the legal challenges they face are slam dunk in the WT's favor b/c of the First Amendment. So it will be very interesting to see what a higher Australian court does. WT assets outside of Australia will not be able to seized, if the general rule applies. If the plaintiffs succeed, however, the WT is open to attack in the states. Complying with the pedophile law does not harm their internal religion policy, IMO. Some things are so revolting, such as child rape, that society has a valid interest in intervening, even if a religion feels it is a doctrine of faith. Look at Warren Jeffs. The First Amendment has few exceptions but some do exist..
Thank you again, Barbara:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
I do believe there has been a mixup regarding who today represents Goliath ... Sling your stone, Aposta David....
Sir 82: Your question was answered towards the bottom of page 1 of this thread:
Australian courts, like all other courts in all other sovereign states and lands, have the authority to charge and prosecute any person or "entity" or "body" or corporation, regardless of where they are in the world, in relation to offences committed within their own jurisdiction or territory or against their own citizens, including children. This is the International Sovereign Right of all States.
Band on the Run: Thank you so much for your valuable input. We always learn when reading your thoughtful posts. I can see how a criminal indictment of corporations can cross national boundaries, but it is difficult to understand what can be done with the GB's "spiritual" complicity in this matter of disobeying the Working With Children Act. For that we have to wait and see.
Please be assured that I'm a practical and very patient person in these issues. Nor do I allow myself to get my hopes up. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other trying to combat the injustices caused by my former friends at Bethel. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. It's all in a day's work.
There are a few different outcomes that I'd consider "victory" in this case.
One, is if it becomes a widespread international public relations debacle for the Borg.
Two, if the Borg is forced - at least in Victoria Australia - to require all its elders and ministerial servants to undergo the required criminal background checks upon either their recommendation or appointment and then at whatever regular intervals thereafter required by law.
Three, if growth of the organization decreases significantly as a result of the public relations debacle in "victory" one above.
Fourth, if the prosecution manages to avoid the same sort of "gag order" the Borg attorney is seeking in the Menlo Park, CA case (and that the Borg attorneys are certain to ask for in this case) and all case documentation and transcripts become publicly available.
If the Governing Body answers the charges in this case, then this would confirm that a "valid charge" has actually been brought against each of them.
If the Governing Body answered, "Not Guilty", then there would not be a 'valid charge' for an elder committee to investigate.
The Governing Body can not cut a deal and pay a fine. "This can not happen under Australian law where you can not pay a fine unless you plead 'guilty' and then you get a criminal conviction and also run the risk of jail time."
- Hmmm. Yeah, the horse (criminal conviction or no-lo) goes before the cart (fine owed to government) . In the US, there are criminal and civil courts. Since this Australian law could include jail time, it's likely a criminal charge as Barbara says In the US, many criminal laws have a fine that goes with them, but only after one pleads guilty, pleads no-lo, or is convicted of being guilty. The fines and sentancing are completely different plates. If you do a crime, you get adjudged (verdict or self-admission), fine is due, and also jail time. These are three separate dishes. The fine and jail time dishes are given after the judgment. This goes from traffic tickets to many other crimes, including murder (yes, murder carries a money fine, usually, that's owed to the State). If you are found 'not guilty' then there is no fine or jailtime.
My guess is that nothing much is going to happen on September 13th. I bet the WTS/Governing Body/etc. will have a WT or WT hired attorney make his first appearance. The attorney will likely ask the court for additional time to go over the charges with his client(s) before giving the court an answer. My guess is that the court will allow it, if it's reasonable. I don't know what time frame is reasonable in Australia...perhaps 20 or 30 days? That's a good question to look up in an Australian law library, so the prosecution doesn't agree to too much time.
I meant to type that Australia has no jurisdiction over American citizens and assets anywhere, except Australia. It is possibly that this could be resolved by a direct order to the WT Australia demanding compliance with a court order to obey the law. This is a long stretch.
Carving out this terrority and clarifying it is not a bad step. Roman Polanski merely flew out of the country rather than face rape charges.
NY would have jurisdiction over the GB, as would the US, if a valid law were involved.
Many out of country residents fail to respond to charges in a non-home state.
I hate to ruin the party, but...it looks like Armageddon is just around the corner - the Government is turning on Religion....