In the South Australian Industrial Relations Court yesterday (Monday, August 1st 2011), the tragic death of shark-boat deckhand Giacomo ‘Jack’ Salvemini (pictured) was once again in the spotlight as the judicial appeal process began.

The company ‘Jean Bryant Fisheries Pty Ltd’ and legal co were absent from the court. The family had been notified that an appeal on the conviction and sentencing against the company had been dropped. However the appeal process was not completely interrupted with the second defendant, skipper Arthur Markellos standing firm on his application.

Ah, the wonders of our justice system. It offers those accused of crime many opportunities to appeal a decision that is not to their liking. All one really needs is more dollars to fund the appeal and of course a willing legal mind who will take a reasonable chunk of those dollars.

Jack Salvemini was killed in November 2005 – that clearly is almost 6 years ago. This deceased worker had a family that loved him dearly. For these almost 6 years this family has been dragged along through this process with no option.

What I found rather incredible was that the ‘legal system’ kind of forgot to consider compensation for Jack’s siblings. Their victim impact statements were read out during the hearing. We’re talking about a fairly modest amount of money here but it is within the court’s power to award a small amount of compensation to family who have endured hardship as a result of someone else’s negligence. Something went a tad wide of the mark in that the matter of compensation seemed to have become confused by the court.

So let me get this right. The convicted crime can be appealed if the defendant believes there has been an error but when the court errors, there’s not really any avenue to correct a mistake?

See now I had this crazy idea that it would have been perfectly appropriate that this ‘forgotten matter of compensation’ be brought to the attention of the Judges of the Industrial Court for consideration. The appeal was lodged by the defendant (and at one point both defendants) so in effect it seemed a good opportunity to make a wrong right again.

Madam, the rules of law are quite clear! I am told evidently one cannot be expected to be penalised higher during the course of an appeal than the court they were just sentenced in.

Note to self: Must stop applying such LOGIC to matters relating to JUSTICE!

1 Comment
  1. Sab says:

    I saw a reel yesterday being used to pull cables through conduits… damn big cables… a damn big reel too.. similar in size to what killed Jack… and I thought to myself… if the controls of this reel we put in a separate room as they were on the Jean Bryant there would be NO WAY I could allow the reel to be operated lawfully… it would just constitute too great a risk… But the fishing industry had 2 horrific events not all that far apart… and with related entities?… And such pitiful prosecutions?… and no compensation for the victims family?… Bizarre!

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