This is a warning about the madness that is being proposed for the whole country right now.
A man who pleaded guilty to the crimes he clearly committed is set free because, in the opinion of a judge, his "inherent dignity" as a human person had been breached (according to this judge's own personal interpretation of the Human Rights Act) by the possibly intemperate remarks of the sentencing magistrate.
From this morning's The Australian:
A FUNNY thing happened in the nation's capital recently. ACT Supreme Court judge Richard Refshauge ordered the release of Gim Em Moh, a convicted criminal, after finding that the sentencing magistrate had failed to treat Moh with the "inherent dignity" he deserved as a human being under the ACT Human Rights Act.
Moh pleaded guilty to using fake credit cards and a fake driver's licence to buy electronic goods. In sentencing Moh, a Malaysian national, to six months' jail, magistrate Grant Lalor said that Moh "was turned loose to burgle the stores of Canberra with false credit cards" and "turned loose to rape and pillage the stores of Canberra".
Refshauge ordered Moh's release, claiming that sentencing obligations had not been met, and chastised the magistrate for his "exaggerated and extreme language". The judge said "anyone deprived of liberty must be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person". What was Lalor thinking when he said a fraudster and thief had behaved like a fraudster and thief? Moh must have fallen about laughing as he left Canberra not so much a convicted criminal as a victim of a human rights breach.
However, the real joke is on Refshauge. By treating colourful language as a breach of Moh's rights, the judge has unwittingly delivered a useful sermon, not on the inherent dignity of human beings but on the inherent folly of a human rights act.
Refshauge has demonstrated the irresistible seduction that happens when judges are given the chance to impose their personal preferences using a list of ambiguously worded "human rights".