CPD Seminar with Felicity Gerry QC

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Doogue + George Defence Lawyers

221 Queen Street

Level 5

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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In this session Felicity Gerry will present about Human trafficking victims who commit crimes— An extra defence for clients.

Victorian law offers no specific legal protections to victims of human trafficking who commit crimes. This means that victims are less likely to report their trafficked status and may be further victimised by the criminal justice system. This perpetuates a disincentive for victims of trafficking to come forward and provide information to authorities that could facilitate investigations and prosecutions of traffickers in persons.

The UK has a statutory defence for victims of human trafficking; Indonesia has laws that provide protection and the Canadian Criminal Code has a broadly worded Defence of Person provision that could apply to a situation where a human trafficking victim is coerced into committing a crime. Victoria’s narrowly drafted defence of duress has never been applied to a case where the accused raises their status as a victim of human trafficking.

Australia has committed to international obligations not to prosecute / not to punish victims who commit crimes including through a national action plan and referral mechanisms but, the Modern Slavery Act 2018 is limited to corporate response. In the absence of a statutory defence, implementation in criminal justice is poor.

Defence lawyers might not think to find out whether their client may be a victim of human trafficking. Professor Felicity Gerry QC will be speaking at Doogue + George about the signs to watch out for that could suggest a nexus between their client’s alleged offending and their status as a victim of trafficking, what strategies are currently be available under Victorian law and how to tackle issues of privilege in this context.

Felicity will also be talking about what arguments can already be made in place of a statutory defence and what a perfect test case would look like

About Felicity Gerry QC

Professor Felicity Gerry QC has a long history of dealing with cases involving trafficked victims including assisting lawyers in the Philippines for Mary Jane Veloso who was reprieved from execution in Indonesia whilst her status as a human trafficking victim in the drug trade is investigated. Felicity’s role was the subject of ABC Foreign Correspondent’s documentary Saving Mary Jane and she received a Charles Darwin University Ryan Family Award for commitment to excellence and outstanding results in research for her research on the matter. She provided training to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as part of The Modern Slavery Project which is a two year multilateral project providing practical advice and support to Commonwealth legislatures in the pursuit of combatting modern slavery and she is leading a Project for ICJV on defences for Human Trafficking Victims. She has published numerous articles on the topic of defences for human trafficking victims and is a contributing author to Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Law and Practice, Bloomsbury (2018) and Human Trafficking: Emerging Legal Issues and Applications, Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company (2017). Her current PhD candidature looks at Using Technology to Combat Human Trafficking.

Date and Time

Location

Doogue + George Defence Lawyers

221 Queen Street

Level 5

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

View Map

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