Counter-Terrorism: Joseph Thomas v The Queen - Amicus Application

On 3 July 2006, the HRLRC filed an affidavit and submissions in support of an application for leave to appear as amicus curiae in the Victorian Court of Appeal in case of Joseph Thomas v The Queen. Attached are the following documents:

  1. Affidavit of Philip Lynch;
  2. Summary Outline of Proposed Substantive Submissions;
  3. Outline of Proposed Submissions in Support of Application for Leave to Appear as Amicus; and
  4. Proposed Written Submissions of the Human Rights Law Resource Centre.

The HRLRC would like to particularly thank and acknowledge the very significant and impressive work of Brian Walters SC and Michael Kingston of Counsel and Steven Amendola, Beth Midgley and Cecilia Riebl of Blake Dawson Waldron and in preparing these documents.

The HRLRC submissions focused on:

  1. the relevance of arts 7 (freedom from cruel treatment), 9 (freedom from arbitrary detention), 10 (right to dignity in detention) and 14 (right to legal representation) of the ICCPR to the admission of confessional evidence obtained while Mr Thomas was in detention in Pakistan; and
  2. the relevance of art 10 of the ICCPR and art 12 (right to health) of the ICESCR to the exercise of a sentencing discretion.

The appeal was heard on 24 July 2006 and, although leave to appear was denied, the Court invited Counsel for Mr Thomas to file supplementary written submissions about the relevance of international human rights to issues in the proceeding.  The Submissions subsequently prepared and filed drew significantly on the HRLRC's submissions.

Amnesty International also filed a submission in the case, focusing on arts 7 and 14 of the ICCPR.  Amnesty's application for leave to be heard as amicus was also denied.

The Court's decision, which allowed the appeal and quashed the convictions, is available at