Today started with the Commonwealth and State putting forward their oral submissions for not allowing around 40 of Peter Spencer’s 200 documents. The main argument put forward by the respondents was that the documents should be removed because they are irrelevant. Peter Spencer was then given about 2 hours to argue the reasons why the documents should be allowed.
Both sides are now waiting for the Judge’s decision about the documents which is expected to be on Friday.
The program for the next two days is as follows:
WEDNESDAY 3 DECEMBER
The first witness will be Brian Plummer, a Tottenham farmer.
Mr Plummer will be followed by Mr Charles Armstrong and Mr Mal Peters, both former Presidents of the NSW Farmers Association and the three valuers – Mr Colin Davies for Spencer, Mr Bernie Sullivan and Mr Robert Connolly for the respondents.
THURSDAY 4 DECEMBER
Dr David Kemp – scheduled for 10:15AM
Dr Alan Moran, former Director of the Institute of Public Affairs as an expert witness for Peter Spencer
Rhonda Mitchell, James Sternhell, Dan and Jeannie Hughes who are Spencer supporters and regular attendees, in the Conference Room at the Court today.
photograph – Peter Spencer and Alastair McRobert on suburban train after yesterday’s hearings
UPDATE, Day 6 of the trial, Monday 1 December
This morning, Peter Spencer had an opportunity today to correct any inconsistencies that came up in his examination last week. Peter had been under oath since last Thursday morning through to this morning. He coped with the grilling from the respondents’ senior counsel barristers who were determined to try and upset him.
Proceedings continued with three witnesses called by the State being government department employees. The cross examination of these witnesses was completed before the lunch break and the issue about the issued subpoena for Dr David Kemp was discussed.
Justice Mortimer issued an Order that former Howard Government Minister, Dr David Kemp appear as a witness.
The order followed a series of events:
• A subpoena was issued to Dr David Kemp dated 21 Nov, 2014. The attempts to execute the subpoena at that time failed when Dr Kemp’s office in Old Parliament House was approached.
• Last week, Justice Mortimer expressed her concern to the Commonwealth’s barrister about their knowledge of the situation. At the time making it clear that Dr Kemp’s availability was no reflection on the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS).
• The AGS indicated that it had been in contact with Dr Kemp.
• On Friday an order was made that Dr Kemp contact Peter Spencer as soon as possible.
• This morning Mortimer J was informed by submissions that Dr Kemp had not made contact with the applicant and sworn affidavits containing a number of events showing the difficulties while trying to serve the subpoena were handed to the Judge.
After some deliberations with the parties Justice Mortimer adjourned the Court hearing for 1½ hours while she reviewed the reasons for Dr Kemp being called as a witness.
Justice Mortimer returned and made orders:
1. The subpoena issued to Dr David Kemp dated 21 November 2014 be set aside.
2. Dr David Kemp attend at the trial of this proceeding on Thursday 4 December 2014 at 10.15 am, at Court 22B in the Federal Court of Australia, Law Courts Building, Queens Square, Sydney 2000.
Today the Spencer v. Commonwealth legal team is reading witness affidavits and preparing for questioning the 13 witnesses scheduled to appear this week and next week.
The admissibility of documents will be critical. On Tuesday, Justice Mortimer will announce which documents from both sides are admissible and which are inadmissible based on the arguments from the opposing sides.
Not only will what happens this week be critical, it also promises to be intensely interesting. Get along if you can – the sessions are 10:15 to 12:15 PM, and 2:15 to 4:15 PM. If you can’t get along – we will do our best to keep you informed in this blog.
An insight into Spencer’s motivation and understanding of the man can be drawn from something he said in 2010.
“My concerns are directed at the families of the hundreds of farmers who have suicided and the politicians who have failed to show any concern, compassion or morality for what the government has done to these families and the nation’s Constitution.”
~ Peter Spencer
From a news article by Online Political Editor, Samantha Maiden published in The Australian, 2010.
SPENCER v. COMMONWEALTH update Friday 28 November
Peter Spencer was cross-examined by the two barristers for the Commonwealth Government and the NSW Government until the end of the afternoon session. The cross examination is now over. Unfortunately, we can’t report on this yet because Peter is still under oath. He is returning to the witness box on Monday, allowed 15 minutes to provide corrections to any mistakes he may have made in his oral evidence.
Next week will be mostly taken up with witness statements and cross-examination.
On Tuesday, Justice Mortimer will announce which documents from both sides are admissible and which are inadmissible based on the arguments from the opposing sides.
The Court has ordered that Dr David Kemp, former Howard Government Minister for Environment and Heritage contact Peter Spencer about his availability to appear as a witness next week.
An article about Spencer v. the Commonwealth has been published in farmonline http://www.farmonline.com.au/news/
Justice Mortimer “knocked back” only one of Peter Spencer’s nominated witnesses, in response to submissions from the Commonwealth and NSW Crown Solicitor to “knock out” all of them. This does not substantially affect Peter’s case – good news.
Since then, Peter has been in the witness box. At the end of the second session, Peter was still being cross examined by the CGS (for the Commonwealth) and NSW Crown Solicitor. Consequently, we are not allowed to report on any of this until after he completes his evidence – scheduled to be lunchtime tomorrow.