* Judge Bernard Buongiorno has been featured here previously. It seems what Australia lacks in lefty loony wakademia is more than compensated for in the judiciary:
“You must not start reading about Islam or Muslims or terrorism or anything of that nature”
In other words, you must not educate yourselves about the context of these men’s actions. To do so would be prejudiced. Of course, Justice Bernard Bongiorno is himself pre-judging that no such material would be relevant or illuminating in this case, and assuming that Islam has nothing to do with it on a priori grounds and almost certainly in defiance of the defendants’ own sentiments. But that’s not prejudice.
* Buongiorno is a lunatic activist judge who sees himself above the law:
THE 12 defendants in Australia’s largest terrorism prosecution “are not getting a fair trial”, the judge overseeing the case has admitted.
The startling admission came as Justice Bernard Bongiorno said the conditions under which the accused are being held are so severe they could cause mental illness and jeopardise their ability to defend themselves.
In a ruling he described as “extraordinary”, Justice Bongiorno ordered the men be moved to a new prison and called for their conditions to be upgraded.
The 12 accused went on trial in Melbourne last month charged with being members of a terrorist organisation and other terror-related offences.
The trial is expected to continue until at least the end of the year, but Justice Bongiorno ordered it not resume until the men’s conditions are improved.
He warned if their conditions were not improved, he would consider releasing them on bail.
Justice Bongiorno ordered the sweeping changes after hearing medical evidence from four psychiatrists supporting the men’s claims that they could not get a fair trial if the severe conditions of their incarceration continued.
“I am satisfied that the evidence before the court establishes that the accused in this case are currently being subjected to an unfair trial,” Justice Bongiorno said.
But he added they had not been disadvantaged so far, saying the impact of the conditions would be cumulative.
It is the first time a Victorian judge has ordered that conditions for prisoners be changed.
In his ruling, Justice Bongiorno accepted the 12 men were already suffering psychiatric problems that had affected their ability to follow proceedings.
* Well protected jihad scum
A continuation of the treatment was likely to affect their ability to defend themselves, he said.
The men have been held in the high security Acacia wing of Barwon Prison, near Geelong, since their arrest two years ago.
To attend court they must travel for up to two hours to Melbourne each day, and two hours back, shackled and handcuffed in small compartments in a prison van.
They are strip-searched when they leave Barwon and again when they return and have little time outside their cells.
Justice Bongiorno ordered the men be transferred from Barwon to the Metropolitan Assessment Prison in central Melbourne, that they be transported directly from there to court each day and that they be allowed out of their cells for 10 hours each day when not in court.
The judge also ordered that they not be shackled or subjected to any other restraining devices other than ordinary handcuffs while being transported.
He said they should not be strip-searched after returning from court and that they be treated as ordinary remand prisoners.
The men are currently classified under the highest security rating of any prisoners in Victoria.
Justice Bongiorno also ordered that Victoria’s Department of Justice make the changes he ordered by March 31 or the trial would be stayed indefinitely and he would consider releasing the men on bail.
“Removal of the source of unfairness in this trial requires either that the accused’s conditions of incarceration be drastically altered or that they be released on bail,” he said.
The trial has been told the 12 intended to undertake “violent jihad” in Australia and had formed a terror cell.
They had discussed killing then prime minister John Howard and had identified railway stations and football grounds as likely targets.
The accused, who have all pleaded not guilty are: Abdul Nacer Benbrika, 47; Abdullah Merhi, 22; Shane Kent, 31; Majed Raad, 23; Aimen Joud, 23; Ahmed Raad, 24; Fadl Sayadi, 28; Ezzit Raad, 26; Hany Taha; Shoue Hammoud, 28; Bassam Raad, 26; and Amer Haddara, 28.