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
10 May 2007

Valkenburg here we come

The Vitamins magnate, Dr Matthias Rath, shows, shall we say, a rather eccentric side in papers lodged with the Cape High Court in his case with the Treatment Action Campaign. The Mail & Guardian reports:

The apartheid regime was part of a global plot by the pharmaceutical industry, according to vitamin entrepreneur Dr Matthias Rath. He said in an affidavit filed in the Cape High Court: “This regime was the political arm to turn South Africa into a bridgehead of the pharmaceutical interests with the goal to conquer and control the entire African continent.”

He also said the operations of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) were “almost a copy” of Hitler’s brown-shirt storm troopers. … “The apartheid regime in South Africa was part of this global strategy,” he said. “The apartheid regime became its political stakeholder.” He said that after World War II, thousands of high-ranking Nazi party members used the “corporate channels” of the massive German chemical-manufacturing conglomerate IG Farben to find safe haven in South Africa, where IG Farben had established subsidiaries. Also seeking refuge in this country were thousands of IG Farben managers who had participated in war crimes.

“Much the same as previously in Europe, their goal was to establish a dictatorship serving these corporate interests while keeping the majority of the population ‘under control’,” Rath said. The chemical and pharmaceutical industry became the economic pillar of the apartheid regime, and South Africa became a stronghold for pharmaceutical companies.

Rath said the goal of the “brown shirts” had been to destabilise a democratically elected German government on behalf of corporate interests and their political stakeholders. The TAC’s goal, he said, was to attack the South African government, destabilise the political situation and establish a new political leadership that would voluntarily spend millions on “toxic” antiretroviral drugs.

One sandwich short of a picnic, seems an appropriate description for Dr Rath. What has he been smoking?

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