Quote of the week

Although judicial proceedings will generally be bound by the requirements of natural justice to a greater degree than will hearings before administrative tribunals, judicial decision-makers, by virtue of their positions, have nonetheless been granted considerable deference by appellate courts inquiring into the apprehension of bias. This is because judges ‘are assumed to be [people] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances’: The presumption of impartiality carries considerable weight, for as Blackstone opined at p. 361 in Commentaries on the Laws of England III . . . ‘[t]he law will not suppose possibility of bias in a judge, who is already sworn to administer impartial justice, and whose authority greatly depends upon that presumption and idea’. Thus, reviewing courts have been hesitant to make a finding of bias or to perceive a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of a judge, in the absence of convincing evidence to that effect.

L'Heureux-Dube and McLachlin JJ
Livesey v The New South Wales Bar Association [1983] HCA 17; (1983) 151 CLR 288
19 April 2018

WHAT THE TRC SAID ABOUT STRATCOM

From 1984, following the appointment of Brigadier Gerrit Erasmus as head of the Security Branch, Stratcom actions became less random and more co-ordinated. This shift coincided with the formal adoption of Stratcom as state policy in 1984 and the establishment of a sub-committee Tak Strategiese Kommunikasie (TSK – Strategic Communications Branch) as part of the Secretariat of the State Security Council, with representatives from the Security Branch, Military Intelligence and the NIS. Former Minister of Law and Order Adriaan Vlok testified that Stratcom was an official policy of the government and conceded that it was engaged in unlawful actions. An example of a Stratcom action, he told the Amnesty Committee, might include spreading disinformation about an individual in order to cause people to suspect him of being an agent or even attack him.
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