Recap — day one
The 2017 ANZAPPL national congress has kicked off in Perth, Western Australia!
Proceedings commenced with an opening address from the Hon Robert French AC. The Hon French is a former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia (see here for an appraisal of his time there) and is currently the Chancellor of the University of Western Australia. He spoke on ‘Is intention real? A Question for judges and juries in interpreting and applying the law’.
His rhetorical style was immediately gripping:
The Hon French discussed how science and the law approach the concept of intent from different angles.
He mentioned that the mainstream view of intent is that jury members can judge the concept based on their ordinary experiences — that it’s not a matter for experts.
He recommended a monograph looking at the intersection of neuroscience and legal proceedings:
Crucially, he mentioned that intention exists “as a distinct mental state” and functions according to commonly held beliefs about human behaviour, beliefs that have been questioned by some. Hence the rise of “Neurolawyerists”.
He discussed the balance of probabilities:
And finished with a discussion of “fictional intentions” in legal proceedings.
Dr Stephen D. Hart was up next with a presentation on ‘Violence risk assessment, culture, and Indigenous Peoples: lessons learned from Ewert v. Canada’. Dr Hart is a globally recognised expert in clinical-forensic psychology, with a special focus on the assessment of violence risk and psycopathic personality disorder.
The crux of Dr Hart’s presentation could be boiled down to one thing.
He mentioned the impact of colonialism on Canada’s Indigenous peoples, an impact that continues to this day.
The answer? “We just don’t know”.
He encouraged those who use risk assessment tools to be self-reflective.
He then turned to Ewert v. Canada.
The Supreme Court appeal in the case is still ongoing.
Dr Hart concluded with some recommendations for risk assessors.
Dr Hart ended with some words of wisdom. “If you want to be a good professional, if you want to be a good human being, you need to respect the dignity of the people you’re working with.”
After two batches of concurrent sessions covering everything from Advance Statements to differentiating rapists and their offences; when domestic violence comes to work to structural violence in forensic psychiatry; the day ended with a presentation from Dr Michael Salter.
Dr Salter spoke on ‘Image-based abuse across the lifespan’. Dr Salter is a senior lecturer in criminology at Western Sydney University, and most recently the author of ‘Crime Justice and Social Media’.
What is image-based abuse? Dr Salter said it was an umbrella term for practises including non-consensual sexting, revenge porn, ‘sextortion’ and manufacturing child abuse material.
Dr Salter noted that research emerging from RMIT this year found 20% of Australian adults have reported having intimate images taken of them without their consent.
He also noted that sexual motivations were not the only thing driving the creation of child abuse material.
Dr Salter said that men sending unsolicited images of their genitalia to women was an extremely widespread phenomenon.
“Social media incentivises the abuse and harassment of other people,” he noted.
He said that teenage boys gain social recognition for sharing intimate photos of girls.
Organised crime is also getting involved in image-based abuse.
Dr Salter mentioned the case of ‘revenge porn’ website Is anybody down?. The website was taken down after a major online backlash spearheaded by Anonymous.
He concluded by advocating for a non-judgemental stance on image-making. He urged anybody aware of instances of image-based abuse to contact the office of the eSafety commissioner.