‘First the verdict then the trial’

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    The increasing use of electronic surveillance by police and intelligence agencies and the increasing use of non-judicial investigations, has seen a highly politicised and largely unaccountable form of criminal investigation develop in Australia. Allegations raised in the media against Justice Lionel Murphy in 1984 and the subsequent two and half year investigation process introduced many of the key components of these developments into the Australian criminal justice system. Within the context of the ‘Murphy Affair’, this paper considers some of its major characteristics: the entry of the executive into the sphere of criminal justice though the use of non-judicial bodies; the capacity thereby for an executive finding of guilt; the compromising of the right to know the charges which an accused is facing and the corollary that evidence tendered the relevant to those charges. The ‘Murphy Affair’ represented a fundamental reworking of established relations between the state and its citizens, and between the legislative, executive and judicial arms of government.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)219-236
    Number of pages18
    JournalPolicing and Society
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1994


    • Commissions of inquiry
    • Justice Lionel Murphy
    • Media use of intelligence material
    • Organised crime
    • Police and security intelligence collections
    • Surveillance

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