Is the law an ass? David McBride case takes another twist on day three

by Kim Wingerei | Nov 15, 2023 | Lobbyland

Justice Mossop has decided today that David McBride’s duty is to his superior officers, rather than the public. It means the jury, when finally empanelled, will be instructed accordingly, unless an appeal is successful.

The origin of the phrase “the law is an ass” is contested, but it was first popularised by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist:

If the law supposes that, said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, ‘the law is an ass – an idiot’

According to Eddie Lloyd, who is following the case for MWM, today’s decision may have huge ramifications for the legal profession:

In short, this decision has eroded hundreds of years of legal tradition where a lawyer has a duty to the court and public.

Justice Mossop also declined McBride’s request for leave to appeal his decision. This decision is going to the Court of Appeals, which means the case has now been adjourned until Monday.

Later, it got even more dystopian, as the prosecution argued that some of the evidence is so confidential that the jury must not see it, let alone the public.

The government is claiming public interest immunity over documentation McBride’s legal team wants to use in his defence. It is arguing the “potentially significant” consequences for our international security relationships if the defence for McBride was given access to certain “confidential information.”

McBride’s lawyer Odgers has stated that if these documents are to be withheld, he will be applying to have the trial halted.

It’s complicated and convoluted, and the human side of this travesty almost drowns in the minutiae of the legal process.

David Mcbride Full interview


Kim Wingerei is a businessman turned writer and commentator. He is passionate about free speech, human rights, democracy and the politics of change. Originally from Norway, Kim has lived in Australia for 30 years. Author of ‘Why Democracy is Broken – A Blueprint for Change’.

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