Posts Tagged prosecution
the EPA’s Shaun Thomas samples water in Brownhill Creek in November. Picture: Jo-anna Robinson Source: Sunday Mail (SA)
JUST one South Australian polluter was successfully prosecuted by the state's environmental watchdog – and slapped with a paltry $500 fine – in 2011.
In a year where widespread groundwater contamination caused distress to thousands of Edwardstown residents, only two other cases settled by the Environment Protection Authority resulted in fines – but without convictions – totalling $5500.
While the investigation into the Edwardstown case continues, the most recent publicly available figures reveal only six per cent of the EPA’s investigations resulted in a prosecution or fine, according to the EPA’s 2010-11 annual report.
Of the 36 cases investigated by the EPA in the past financial year, only one led to a court-ordered penalty – of $80,000 – in August 2010.
Nearly half were dealt with by the EPA issuing orders for clean-up or to stop the polluting activity, while 11 investigations were ongoing.
A further seven were under review by the Crown Solicitor. During the same period, Victoria’s EPA prosecuted more than 25 firms, resulting in $2.5 million in fines.
EPA acting CEO Tony Circelli defended the watchdog’s enforcement record. "it is quite resource intensive and timely to prosecute and we don’t want to prosecute just to get the numbers up," he said.
"but where there is a public interest to prosecute we certainly progress them." the number of prosecutions was not affected by budget cuts, he said. in 2010-11, the State Government’s contribution to the EPA’s $40 million budget was $2.5 million – down from $7.5 million in 2009-10 – with the bulk derived from licensing fees and levies.
Greens MP mark Parnell said the EPA was not getting enough government funding. "not every case deserves a criminal prosecution, however the authority and reputation of the EPA will be under-mined if polluters know that the chance of going to court is extremely low," he said.
Opposition environment spokesman Steven Marshall said a stronger prosecution performance would provide a more compelling incentive for companies to do the right thing.
"There’s no deterrent whatsoever – it’s sending the wrong message to companies doing the wrong thing," mr Marshall said. "the simple fact is adequate funding of the EPA is fundamental to environmental protection – it is expensive to look after the environment."
November 8, 2011 – 2130: South Australia: Crown Solicitors Office says ‘insufficient evidence’ of prosecution in Burnside case » ICAC News
[SOUTH AUSTRALIAN] State Government legal officials have determined there is not enough admissible evidence in the Burnside inquiry report to allow prosecution for any offence.
[SOTH AUSTRALIAN] Attorney-General John Rau [John Rau / wikipedia] today announced the State Government had received advice from the Crown Solicitors Office [Crown Solicitors Office] on investigator Ken MacPherson‘s [Ken MacPherson] draft report into the council.
Mr Rau said the Crown Solicitors Office had considered the draft report and relevant material on which it was based.
“the Crown Solicitor, having examined mr MacPherson’s draft report and relevant material, has advised me that there is insufficient admissible evidence to give rise to any reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution for any offence,” mr Rau said.
Mr Rau said the Government’s recent announcement it would establish an independent commission against corruption showed it was serious about openness and transparency.
Mr Rau said the commission overseeing the ICAC would have the power to consider mr MacPherson’s draft report, the material on which it was based, and the legal advice received by the Government from the Crown Solicitors Office.
“the Government is determined for the ICAC to be truly independent, so the Independent Commissioner will be free to decide whether to review this material again or take any further action,” mr Rau said.
“it will not be for me or anyone else to tell the Commissioner what to do.”
SA Police refused to read the report and returned it to the Government after receiving legal advice.
Mr Rau said that under these measures it would be mandatory for the Ombudsman and the Auditor- General to report any evidence of corruption to the ICAC.
The Supreme Court determined mr MacPherson had also exceeded terms of reference set down by the Government and must drop that evidence if he were to complete the report.
It is possible mr MacPherson uncovered evidence beyond the terms of reference which the Crown Solicitor’s Office has deemed can not be used to progress prosecution.
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… corruption is no longer a local matter but a transnational phenomenon that affects all societies and economies, making international cooperation to prevent and control it essential. – Preamble, United Nations Convention against Corruption
South Carolina DUI Law
Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is against the law in the state of California. This means that, if you are caught driving under the influence, you will face criminal charges that have serious consequences. If you have an extreme blood alcohol level or if you have prior convictions for this type of offense, the penalties will increase substantially. because these penalties have the power to take away your freedom, your driving privileges, and your good reputation, you need to contact a South Carolina DUI lawyer immediately after your arrest. having the benefit of an experienced South Carolina DUI attorney on your team can give you the best chance for successfully defending yourself against serious DUI charges.
South Carolina DUI Arrest and Prosecution
South Carolina is very advanced in its DUI laws because the state requires law enforcement officers to videotape every arrest for driving under the influence. the videotaping must start as soon as the officer activates his or her lights and makes an attempt to stop a driver. the videotape must include specific events such as the reading of the driver’s Miranda rights, the officer informing the driver that he or she can refuse testing, and the actual breath test if one is conducted. While videotaping the arrest of a suspected DUI offender can help prosecutors prove a case, this method can also give South Carolina DUI lawyers the ammunition they need to have the charges dismissed. a skilled South Carolina DUI attorney will be able to review this videotaped evidence and notice if any of the required elements are missing or if the arrest was conducted improperly. If your attorney finds this to be the case, he or she can attempt to have the charges against you dropped.
Once charges have been filed against you, the prosecutor in your case will try to prove that your consumption of alcohol impaired your physical or mental abilities to a level that you could not operate your vehicle safely. because this is a criminal offense, the prosecutor must prove that you were impaired beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor is able to prove your impairment and you are convicted, you will face a number of possible penalties. these penalties are enhanced if your blood alcohol concentration level was 0.08% or higher at the time of testing, if you have more than one DUI conviction within a ten year period, and if you have any convictions in other states.
South Carolina DUI Criminal Penalties
The criminal penalties for driving under the influence in South Carolina increase with each subsequent offense and can be enhanced if specific circumstances are met. Penalties for a first offense conviction are a fine of $400 and 48 hours of jail time up to 30 days of jail time. the judge in your case may choose to have you perform 48 hours of community service in lieu of serving 48 hours of jail time. for a second offense conviction, you can be fined anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 and be sentenced to jail time of 5 days to one year. instead of serving jail time, you may be sentenced to 30 days of community service. If you are convicted of a third DUI offense, you can be penalized by fines of $3,800 to #6,400 and jail time of 60 days to 3 years. If you are then convicted of a fourth offense, you will face one year of prison time up to five years of prison time. Fourth offenses are considered to be felony DUI offenses. If you caused bodily injury to another person while committing a DUI offense, you will face fines of $5,000 to $10,000 and a mandatory 30 days in jail. This sentence can be anywhere from 30 days to 15 years at the discretion of the court. If your DUI offense caused the death of another person you will be fined between $10,000 and $25,000 and will be imprisoned for one year up to 25 years. the court may choose to impose an ignition interlock device penalty on any offender.
Driver’s License Consequences
There are also consequences concerning your driving privileges if you are convicted of driving under the influence in South Carolina. one of the penalties occurs if you have refused chemical testing. the laws in South Carolina make it so that just by driving a vehicle in the state means you are implying your consent for chemical testing. If you are stopped and asked to submit to chemical testing, you must do so. However, you have the right to have independent testing done after the law enforcement officers complete their own testing. Law enforcement officers are required by law to help you obtain an independent test by transporting you to a facility where the test can be performed or helping you obtain contact information needed to schedule a test. having a qualified South Carolina DUI lawyer represent you can help you to use your independent test to your advantage. If the state test and the independent test vary greatly from one another, your attorney may be able to show that the state’s test is invalid due to improper test procedures or other reasons.
If you are arrested for DUI in South Carolina, you may not face a pre-conviction license suspension. However, having a BAC of 0.08% or greater changes this situation and puts a pre-conviction suspension into effect. If it is your first offense, your license will be suspended for thirty days and if it is your second offense, your license will be suspended for 60 days. You may be able to get a restricted license that will allow you to maintain employment and travel to and from necessary locations. Contacting a South Carolina DUI lawyer immediately after your arrest can help you to preserve your rights and may even help you retain your driving privileges, so contacting a qualified professional can be of great benefit to your case.
Now that she’s in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation, defense lawyers of Bella Ruby Santos said they will try to secure her temporary release on bail.
“We are ready for trial. We are confident we have a strong case and that the prosecution cannot prove the guilt of Bella Ruby. That’s why we plan to apply for bail,” lawyer Julius Caesar Entice told Cebu Daily News.
Whether the judge would grant Santos bail, after she dodged an arrest warrant for nearly three months, remains to be seen.
Judge Ester Veloso of the Regional Trial court Branch 5 would have to be convinced that the 35-year-old woman, who cut her hair short and got tattoos on her legs to disguise her appearance, is not a flight risk.
Otherwise, Santos would have to wait out the trial in prison, in this case the Cebu provincial jail since the criminal offense took place in Minglanilla town.
Santos, who was arrested Friday afternoon in SM Megamall in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, will be brought back to Cebu on Monday to be presented in court for arraignment and trial.
The charges of kidnapping with homicide for the gruesome death of 6-year-old Ellah Joy Pique last Feb. 8 involves a capital offense with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Under the 1987 Constitution, an accused has the right to bail unless he or she is charged with a capital offense where evidence of guilt is strong.
Santos’ lawyers include Entice, Rameses Villagonzalo, Lyndon Maceren, Ronel Ubod, and Roberto Rublico.
With Santos’ arrest, a lot of curiousity focuses on how the NBI 7 found her and who would eventually receive the P300,000 reward money under the Tipster Program of the Cebu provincial government.
But NBI agent Rennan Oliva said the identity of the informant in Cebu would remain “confidential” for security reasons.
Capitol consultant Rory Jon Sepulveda yesterday said the provincial government was pleased with the arrest of Santos.
“Well and good. her arrest proved that one can’t hide from the hands of the law,” Sepulveda said.
“With her arrest, the trial can start. We leave it to the court to determine whether she is guilty or not.”
The P300,000 reward was annnounced last Sept. 2 by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia as a “special case under the province’s Tipster Program”, after Santos continued to elude arrest despite the best efforts of all police units in Cebu.
Garcia at that time said the reward could be given to “anyone” subject to a set procedure of validation of the evidence.
She wanted to dangle the reward “in support of our PNP” which is a member of the Cebu Provincial Anti-Crime Task force created last year.
Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane, a member of the committee in the Tipster Program, yesterday confirmed it was “not necessary” to reveal the identity of the informant for security purposes.
He said they are still waiting for the report of the NBI-7 regarding Santos’ arrest
He said committee members will confer before they endorse to Gov. Garcia the release of the reward money.
The entire P300,000 amount will go to the private informant after evaluation, he said, and added that law enforcement agencies like the NBI will not have a share of it.
However, Gubalane said the release of the reward money to the informant shall be reported to the public to highlight transparency.
“I congratulate the NBI for the arrest. Now, we can proceed with the legal processes,” Gubalane said.
He said the DOJ is now processing the government-to-government request that will bring British national Ian Charles Griffiths from the United Kingdom to the Philippines.
Provincial police earlier said they also raised P50,000 as a reward for the informant.
The NBI-7 is under the Department of Justice (DOJ) like the prosecutors office.
Lawyer Joan Saniel, executive director of the Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB), said they have strong evidence against Santos and Griffiths.
“A petition for bail? this involves a heinous crime. We have to undergo trial. on our side, the evidence of guilt is strong,” Saniel told CDN.
CLB lawyers represent the family of Ellah Joy in the case.
“Of course, we are happy that at least Bella was arrested,” Saniel said.
Among the evidence the prosecution intends to present are eye-witnesses who claimed to have seen the abduction and how the body of Ellah Joy was dumped off a cliff in Barili town.
The lawyer said they are contemplating on placing the witnesses under the DOJ’s witness protection program.
Defense lawyers, on the other hand, maintained that the prosecution has weak evidence against Santos and Griffiths.
“If you were to review the records of the case, you will see that their (prosecution) witnesses came out after the complaint against (Norwegian national) Sven Erik Berger and Karen Esdrelon were dismissed,” said defense lawyer Entice.
Berger and Esdrelon were earlier arrested by police in relation to the Ellah Joy’s death.
The charges against them, however, were dismissed by the Cebu Provincial Prosecutors’ Office after their alibis checked out.
Berger and Esdrelon managed to prove that they were at the Waterfront Lahug Hotel in Cebu City when Ellah Joy was kidnapped about 16 kilometers away in Minglanilla town.
Unde the rules of court, the prosecution “has the burden of showing that evidence of guilt is strong” to defeat an application for bail.
Under Rule 114 and the 1987 Constitution, bail is a matter of right.
The exception applies to a person accused for an offense punishable by life imprisonment “when evidence of guilty is strong”.
Defense lawyers earlier asked the court to determine whether there is probable cause against the accused and to recall the warrant of arrest issued against Santos and Griffiths.
Their motion was denied.
Entice said they will file a motion for reconsideration.
“We are always hopeful but it all depends on the judge. Every motion that we file, we are hopeful for a positive result,” Entice said.
NBI-7 special investigator Arnel Pura arrested Santos inside the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong last Friday acting on a tip relayed to him by the NBI office in Cebu.
Santos is detained at the stockade of the NBI headquarters stockage in Manila.
The NBI-7 will escort her to Cebu via Cebu Pacific departing Manila at 3:30 pm tomorrow.