Friday, 26 September 2008

The first thing we do...

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" - Act IV, Scene II, Henry VI, William Shakespeare.

And the saga continues.

To recap: after a grotesque evaluation of an honours thesis in which portions of text had been invented by the examiners while at the same time turning a blind eye to entire tracts, the effects were felt over the years. A stand-offish attitude which prevented a proper analysis of the issue built a wall around the culprits and the kept the accuser - myself - firmly on the outside. When some form of communication was attempted earlier this year, Griffith University's vice chancellor Ian O'Connor had the police take me away from his campus.

Getting bundled into a police van is one thing, but such action as an eventual result of academic achievement is quite another (by the way, no complaint against the attending officers - their manners were far superior to those of this vice chancellor).

Then there is the case of the destroyed records. A request under the freedom of Information Act to learn the names of the three examiners yielded one; and he died last year. The other two, still alive and well, have been erased from history. Interesting. Good work, Mr. O'Connor.

The university's law firm is Minter Ellison which, so their website tells us, has a "a pre-eminent reputation" in Queensland. It must have taken some effort to get there; no doubt choosing your clients carefully along the way as their interests - whatever they may be - are vigorously defended would be one factor.

A query to that citadel of cooperation referred to what kind of action would lead to being taken to court for defamation. Not being the sort of customer who could mark their glory book I was not deemed worthy of a reply. Instead a note from Griffith's pro vice chancellor told me to engage my own legal advisor to answer that question. Clearly, Minter Ellison know how to write letters, they're just being selective about whom they send them to.

Phantasising about a thesis, using Queensland Police to whisk away some pesky ex-student and destroying evidence along the way paints the kind of ethics forming Minter Ellison's definition of a 'good client'.

Shady characters huddling together for their own criminal ends and using the trappings of success thus gained to bludgeon critics is nothing new here. Our honourable system of the law drapes them in gilded ermine where the cloak itself becomes a signal for the rest to stay well away. Being rather immune to the heavy symbolism of rich wigs - perhaps put it down to my republican heritage - I tend to see past the curly hair, however flea-ridden it may be; there is enough vermin to contend with.

One does not have to be a Jack Cade nor one of his cronies to get the itch from their bites.

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