Monday, March 22, 2010

The Police Chief's bullets and the Rule of Law

The Rule of Law [1, 2, 3]. As I have no legal qualification I’m no expert on its ins and outs. But I take it to mean, in essence, that the law applies equally to everyone. That is, no-one’s above the law. Thus it’s a safeguard against the arbitrary exercise of power. And so to Victoria Police’s Chief Commissioner Simon Overland (pictured). As per this Age story [4], last Thursday he was detected carrying three live bullets on a Qantas domestic flight. Carrying dangerous goods on an aircraft without permission is a breach of s.23 of the Civil Aviation Act 1988. It can result in a maximum 7-year jail term if the breach was intended, or a 2-year jail term if unintended. Mr Overland said his carrying bullets on the flight was a mistake and a genuine oversight. A spokeswoman for Victorian Police Minister Cameron said he was satisfied with the police chief’s explanation. A statement by the federal Office of Transport Security said Mr Overland would be reprimanded over the incident. Not nearly good enough, methinks. The law is the law – for everyone, including a police chief. Both the Age article and one in the Australian [5] quote others who agree. If you or I committed the same offence, we’d get more than a reprimand. No doubt. I eagerly await further developments in this case. Wikipedia calls the Rule of Law a ‘foundation of a civilised society’. We’re about to find out how civilised our society is. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

I am quite sure you and I would have been seen as terrorists. Well definitely me!! I do not like "special" application of the law. One can only imagine the hullabaloo if a person of middle eastern extraction had been found with bullets in his pocket.