Mackenzie, Geraldine (2004) The Hanson trial: please explain? Southern Cross University Law Review, 8. pp. 162-176. ISSN 1329-3737
Text (Published Version)
In what has been described in the media as one of the most sensational and unusual years in Queensland's legal history, the 2003 criminal trial of Pauline Hanson, former MP and founder of the political party Pauline Hanson's One Nation was the most sensational event of them all. Pauline Hanson and her co-accused David Ettridge were convicted
and sentenced to three years imprisonment on fraud charges under the Criminal Code (Qld) (the Code), relating to their part in the registration of the political party.
What particularly characterised this event was not so much the trial itself, which was relatively uneventful considering the identity of the accused, but the extensive public debate and media coverage following their conviction and imprisonment on 20 August 2003.
Pending the hearing of their appeal, unsuccessful applications for bail were taken as far as the High Court. Ultimately, on 6 November 2003, the Queensland Court of Appeal quashed all the convictions and ordered that verdicts of acquittal be entered. Much media analysis has followed, but little discussion of the charges, sentence and appeal process. This article analyses what occurred, and asks the question: Is there really any explaining to do, or were the eventual acquittals an example of due process in accordance with the rule of law? The article also examines the impact of the extraordinary media coverage of the case.
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