Bikie laws hit road-block
- From: The Australian
- March 20, 2013
A push by the NSW Coalition government to wind back the right of alleged offenders to refuse to speak to police now appears doomed in the state upper house, where the government does not have a majority.
The laws could founder on the opposition of the minority Shooters & Fishers Party, which has joined with the Greens and Labor to block the proposed new limits on the right to silence.
Under the changes, judges and juries could draw a "negative inference" if a defendant used in court evidence he or she had withheld from police when questioned in the presence of a lawyer.
NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson said: "Abolishing the right to silence would contradict the most basic legal principle of innocence until proven guilty.
"This is bad policy that should have never been introduced in the first place."
Upper house Greens MP David Shoebridge said solicitors would simply refuse to attend their clients' interviews with police to prevent the triggering of the "negative inference" provisions.
A spokesman for the Shooters said the laws "won't crack down on criminals -- it will crack down on everyone in the state".