Not guilty!

Tegan Leach and her partner Sergie Brennan have been acquitted:

A Cairns District Court jury took less than an hour to find Tegan Simone Leach, 21, and her partner Sergie Brennan not guilty of charges of procuring an abortion and supplying drugs to procure an abortion following a three-day trial.

… in his final directions to the jury, Judge Bill Everson said they had to be satisfied the drugs were noxious to Ms Leach’s health, rather than the foetus.

Abortion couple not guilty, The Sydney Morning Herald, October 14, 2010.

Of course, this does not in any way lessen the need for legal reform in Queensland and NSW, to protect pregnant people and providers of abortion when a pregnancy termination is wanted or needed.

Categories: law & order

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9 replies

  1. Thank the gods for that. Lets hope that the Govt has enough egg on its face that it doesn’t happen again. Law reform would be good too, although that may be too much to hope for.

  2. Yay! *happy dance*

  3. I’m very happy about the result, but I have to Grrrr at the prosecutor who told the jury that if they had a problem with Queensland abortion laws to deal with at the ballot box not in the court room. But we can’t. Both (major) political parties are too chickensh!t to legalise abortion, so how can us Qld voters do anything other than in the courtroom, and hope the pollies take notice that way?

  4. I have mixed feelings. It was a great result for the couple, and I liked the way they successfully made the legal point that the drug was not ‘noxious’ to the woman. But I was also kind of hoping for a conviction (with a non-sentence sentence, not even a conviction recorded) to highlight how ridiculous the law is, and to make things better for all Queenslanders.
    This is a pretty slender framework to build a right to medical abortion on.

  5. But I was also kind of hoping for a conviction (with a non-sentence sentence, not even a conviction recorded) to highlight how ridiculous the law is, and to make things better for all Queenslanders.

    I don’t much like the idea of using legal decisions against individuals who didn’t set out to be civilly disobedient in order to further legal reform if it can possibly be avoided.
    I can’t speak to the likelihood of a conviction with absolutely no penalties imposed, compared to acquittal or a conviction with penalties: can any lawyer comment?

  6. I was thinking about that when I read the post initially.
    From what your post (and the article) says about the judge’s comments, I think there’s a pretty good chance that, had the jury convicted, the judge would have done ‘no conviction recorded’ or, at most, an incredibly minimal penalty.
    But you never want to rely on that, and ultimately, I agree with Mary: I’d rather seen an acquittal. Even if the acquittal is wrong – in fact, maybe especially, because that means we had a wonderful bit of civil disobedience from the jury, which is pretty fucking awesome.
    Also, having a ‘no conviction recorded’ means that if either of them ever got up before the court on something really minor where they normally would almost certainly get a ‘no conviction recorded’, it would greatly reduce their chance on that one, as a lot of judicial officers consider ‘no conviction recorded’ to be a SINGLE last chance. So if you already have one, you’re not likely to get another (although it can happen, and maybe this is a situation where it could).
    Better the moral victory we have here, IMHO. Merryn, you’re right, it’s pretty slender – the laws need to be changed anyway – but for the individuals involved, I think this is the better outcome.

  7. Thank the Gods sense prevailed.
    Hopefully this is going to create a LOT of discussion, because the godbotherers will be incensed at this ‘flouting’ of the law. Then, maybe we get a chance at changing this most archaic of laws.

  8. I’m horrified at the thought of a conviction even with no penalties – what if either of them wanted, at some point in the future, to get the sort of job for which that would disqualify them? Unless they choose to be, individuals are not some sort of political point.

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