Edit: The Court of Appeal have handed down their decision in Kypri. See our discussion of it here.
... though, as it turned out, we never really went away. The 'vacation' proved an ideal opportunity for the Elucubrator to sing the praises of his new toy - ahem, tool. Welcome to many new readers who got on board during the hiatus. Hopefully everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas break.
While we were away
The single day of Parliament in December resulted in some modest changes, with three new bills introduced. We'll talk about these, as well as some improvements to the parliament's website, in our first Legislation Watch for the year on Thursday.
On January 11th the new Attorney-General announced that retired Supreme Court judge Frank Vincent will conduct an inquiry into recent happenings at the Office of Public Prosecutions. The focus seems to be on the appointment of Diana Karamicov as an Associate Crown Prosecutor and various reaction to it, rather than a broader analysis of the Office's role and functions. The terms of reference ask Mr Vincent to conduct his inquiry, 'in light of claims that have been made in recent months' without actually saying what they are. There is some reportage of the story here and here.
Less media attention was paid to Victoria Legal Aid's decision not to proceed with the controversial whole of job fee structure it proposed last year. We discussed it here and here, and strong feelings were evident. VLA hasn't been very forthcoming about why the concept was scrapped. There's nothing I could find on their website, but the Law Institute obviously had the inside word when making an announcement confidently on their website.
Finally, the cases of Kypri, Piscopo, Rukandin and Serbest went before the Court of Appeal for directions hearing on 19th January. Each of the separate DPP appeals relates to the validity or invalidity of a police demand for a driver suspected of drink-driving to go to a police station for a breath test. The Kypri case was discussed here. Kyrou J's judgments in Piscopo and Rukandin were discussed here in November.
The appeals won't go ahead until at least June, leaving the situation with at least 800 other cases unclear until then.