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Updates Galore! Dogs, Dingos, Death, & More

"Barking dogs never bite" / Louis Dalrymple (N.Y. : J. Ottmann Lith. Co., Puck Bldg., July 18, 1900) (Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-25439).

Over the past two years – it was the two year birthday of In Custodia Legis on August 2 – I have written a number of blog posts on matters relating to the laws of different countries of the Pacific region.  I try to select topics that are interesting and a bit different, and also those that allow me to highlight the Law Library’s resources and indicate those that are available online.  Since I try to keep up with legal developments in the region, I often see articles that relate to the matters I discussed in my earlier posts.  So I thought I’d write a post that provides quick updates on some of the topics.

My first post was about a barking dog that had gotten into trouble with the law.  This is not uncommon for dogs all over the world.  The dog in this case had his day in court and this resulted in the local government reconsidering the situation.  Unfortunately for BJ, the Napier City Council ruled that he could not return to the address from which he was evicted.

Laws relating to refugees continue to be a hot button issue in Australia.  In just the last couple of weeks an expert panel report was published and major reforms passed by the federal Parliament, including provisions that enable the reopening of asylum seeker detention and processing centers in Nauru and on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.  The government also announced that there would be a significant increase in Australia’s refugee quota.  These actions followed a High Court decision in 2011 which held that an agreement to send asylum seekers to Malaysia was unlawful.

Title page, with no illus., of Benjamin Rush, An enquiry into the effects of spiritous liquors, Philadelphia, T. Bradford, 1790 (Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-58265).

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, law changes that target alcohol consumption are once again being debated in Parliament and in the media.  One of the proposals being debated this month is to adjust the drinking age rules so that 18 year olds can still drink in bars, but the purchase age for alcohol from stores would increase to 20 years.

In a 2010 post on the Azaria Chamberlain (dingo stole my baby) case in Australia, I noted that a coroner was to reexamine the case.  The new ruling was released in June this year, with the coroner finding that the cause of baby Azaria’s death “was as the result of being attacked and taken by a dingo.”

The legal processes in the case of the Bali Nine drug traffickers who are facing the death penalty in Indonesia are continuing.  Last month, a second member of the group lodged an application for a presidential pardon.

Also in 2010, I wrote about the case of the alleged “honeymoon killer” who was to be sent back to Alabama from Australia to face charges once he was released from prison there.  The accused, Gabe Watson, was deported and arrested by authorities in the US, and the case went to trial in Alabama.  However, the judge dismissed the case in February 2012 and Mr. Watson in now a free man.

Portrait of a woman showing images tattooed or painted on her upper body (Los Angeles, Cal.: The Plaza Gallery, c1907.) (Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-12861).

On a lighter note, filming of the Hobbit movies, which faced some legal controversy in 2010, wrapped up last month.

Sticking with the entertainment world, the Hangover Part II tattoo copyright case that Christine wrote about last year was  subsequently settled in June 2011.  The details of the settlement have not been released.  The tattoo case related to a Maori-inspired tattoo originally designed for Mike Tyson.

Heading back to New Zealand news, the review of the country’s voting system, which resulted from a referendum held last year, is moving along – a Proposals Paper was released this month for public comment.

Amelia Earhart c1928 (Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-20901).

Elsewhere in the Pacific, consultation processes are now underway in Fiji in relation to the development of a new constitution; Papua New Guinea has apparently taken further steps towards the repeal of the Sorcery Act; and the team that recently traveled to Kiribati has reportedly found debris on the ocean floor that might be linked to Amelia Earhart‘s crash.

Finally, although I couldn’t bear to update my post at the time, I feel like enough time (ok, nearly a year) has passed to enable me to write about the loss of Happy Feet the penguin after his release.  Transmissions from his tracking device went silent a few days into his journey back to Antarctica.  However, I do take heart that the nice people at the transmitter company as well as a penguin expert said that it’s unlikely he was eaten.

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