A young man who swore near a Newtown kebab shop late on a Friday night has escaped without a fine, after a court ruled in his favour.

Alec Kitching, of Leichhardt, admits he was “cheeky” when asking a police officer if the Daily Telegraph he was reading while waiting for his meal was where he got his “intel”.

During the exchange, in March 2017, Alec also pointed out the police riot van was in a bus zone.

When police ordered him out of the premises, CCTV recordings showed him saying: “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve got my fucking feet on the ground.”

The carpenter – who never managed to even get the kebab he had ordered and paid for – was subsequently issued with a $500 fine for offensive language, which he appealed.

Magistrate Quinn of Newtown Local Court found that while Alec swore, it was not intended to offend: instead it was used as a normal part of his language.

In her ruling she said that while it is “disgraceful” that police are sworn at, “everyone in Newtown would be locked up” if swearing were taken more seriously.

Alec says it’s a relief not to have a criminal record for both future employment prospects and other opportunities.

“It was such a stressful process – and I would have lost around five days’ work through the court appearances,” he says. That work would have earned him more than $1500.

The 25-year-old initially represented himself before getting a lawyer through Marrickville Legal Centre’s Youth Legal Service – which would have meant he would have to have cross-examined four police officers.

“It made a world of different having someone to speak with and advise me in which direction to take the case,” he says.

Alec is now considering pursuing a career in law.

Anyone in NSW who is 25 or under – or a guardian – can get free legal advice through the Youth Legal Service, based at Marrickville Legal Centre. The Centre can be reached on 9559 2899.

MARRICKVILLE LEGAL CENTRE & YOUTH JUSTICE COALITION PLT VOLUNTEER
Job Type: Practical Legal Training Volunteer
Level: Graduate

Address:
338 Illawarra Road
Marrickville NSW 2204

Marrickville Legal Centre is looking for a motivated PLT student with a demonstrated commitment to social justice, who can volunteer with the centre 3-5 days per week for a minimum of 60 days

Role and Context of the Position

Marrickville Legal Centre (MLC) provides access to justice through the provision of legal services, law reform, and community legal education, particularly for people who are disadvantaged by their social and economic circumstances.

This role offers a PLT student the opportunity to work on a major research project in addition to assisting the Youth Legal Service with its day to day operations.

The Research Task

MLC auspices the New South Wales Youth Justice Coalition (YJC http://www.yjc.org.au/), which is a network of youth workers, children’s lawyers, policy workers and academics who work to promote the rights of children and young people in NSW and across Australia.

In 1990, the YJC published the Kids in Justice Report: A Blueprint for the Nineties. After much lobbying and advocacy work from YJC members, this ground-breaking report eventually led to the NSW Young Offenders Act 1997.

In 2020 YJC will be running a symposium in association with the Sydney University Institute of Criminology to commemorate the publication of the Kids in Justice Report. The symposium aims to examine to what extent law, policy and practice on youth justice issues has changed over the past thirty years.

MLC is seeking a practical legal training student with a demonstrated passion for law reform and research. The successful applicant will play an instrumental role in the planning and development of the 2020 symposium.

One of the main tasks associated with this role will be to undertake a research audit of youth justice policy since the publication of the Kids in Justice Report 30 years ago. The audit will outline significant reforms, shifts in practice and identify any key areas that still need to be addressed with a focus on the minimum age of criminal responsibility, overrepresentation of Indigenous young people and young people in care and protection systems and conditions in detention. The completed audit will play a key role in laying the ground for the symposium proceedings and may lead to publication opportunities.

The successful applicant will be supported by YJC members from a range of government and non-government organisations. Access to all information and resources needed for research will be provided, including links to original report authors.

Kids in Justice: A Blue Print for the Nineties can be found here: http://www.yjc.org.au/resources.html

The Youth Legal Service

The PLT will also have the opportunity to work with MLC’s Youth Legal Service, which provides advice, casework and advocacy for young people across NSW. Ideally the successful candidate will be available to assist with the Youth Legal Service’s evening advice clinic, held every Monday evening in the Sydney CBD. The PLT will perform two main tasks: intake and paralegal work. This includes interviewing clients and taking initial instructions, performing conflict checks, making client appointments, legal research and supporting solicitors with follow up legal tasks.

More information about the Youth Legal Service can be found here: https://www.mlc.org.au/youth

Level of Responsibility

PLTs are supervised by a solicitor for the duration of their placement. After an orientation period, all PLTs undertake a broad range of information, referral, administrative, and legal work under supervision. The ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate capacity to take initiative and work independently.

Application Details

It is desirable that the applicant will commence the role in July for a minimum of 3 days per week. Flexible days and hours are available by negotiation.

Please provide your resume, details of two referees, your academic record, and a cover letter highlighting your commitment to social justice and interest in youth law reform issues.

Enquiries and applications may be directed to Katie Green at kgreen@mlc.org.au

The closing date for applications is Monday 1 July 2019

Highlights from Bankstown Poetry Slam and Marrickville Legal Centre’s ‘Social Justice Slam’ on 17 May 2019.

In May we saw how social justice is expressed through the arts. Social Justice Slam, a partnered event with Bankstown Poetry Slam, gave us an opportunity to view social justice through the lens of 10 spoken word artists. Around 300 attendees were treated to some stimulating literary talent who demonstrated the power of poetry in highlighting social issues. We heard some thought-provoking poetry from talented artists including Dai Moret, Lungol Wekina, Sharnay Mkhayber, Doug Belton and more.

Keynote speaker Amani Haydar – lawyer, Archibald Prize finalist and advocate for people experiencing domestic violence – concluded the evening with some inspired words on her own relationship with the arts and our justice system, and how they intertwine.

The arts is a meaningful tool for communicating social justice and injustice, whether by words, visual expression, music or otherwise. Marrickville Legal Centre are thrilled to have taken part in such an influential event with lasting potential to compel the wider community to improve access to justice for all.

With the winter solstice just passed, Sydney springtime is around the corner. So get your trainers out and put your active wear to use by walking or running for Team MLC in the annual Blackmore’s Sydney Running Festival!

We’re aiming to raise more than $10,000 by Sunday 15 September to help us deliver legal services to vulnerable people. Running, walking or rolling for Team MLC is a great way to be active, raise money to help people access justice, and a once-a-year opportunity to cross Sydney’s beautiful coat-hanger on foot with no traffic.

Participants can choose to run or walk in:
Sydney Marathon
Half Marathon
Bridge Run – 10km
Family Fun Run – 3.5km

WHAT CAN WE OFFER IN RETURN?
Raise over $200 and we’ll send you an official Marrickville Legal Centre shirt or tote bag

Raise over $500 we’ll refund your entry fee

A dedicated Fundraising Coordinator – here to help you with your fundraising efforts.

If you’d like more information before signing up, please call Maeve on 02 9051 1530.

Marrickville Legal Centre acknowledges the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora nation as the traditional owners of the land upon which this event takes place. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded, and pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging.

Back in 1979 a small group of law students with a vision for better access to justice occupied a small room in the Marrickville Town Hall. Their aim was to provide free legal assistance to individuals in the local area, especially for the growing migrant community. Since then Marrickville Legal Centre has extended its reach beyond Marrickville and the Inner West, to Sydney’s South West, Southern & Northern suburbs – a catchment that covers over 1.5 million people. Not to mention two state-wide legal services!

Marrickville Legal Centre is proud to present its 40th Anniversary Gala to celebrate 40 years of achievement for our local community with:

  • The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG

  • Eric Avery

  • Parliament on King

  • Dabke performance

  • And more to be announced!

Reserve your ticket for this Friday 23 August and rub shoulders with MLC’s esteemed alumni, staff, members, volunteers, and friends as we celebrate the achievements of the Centre and individuals who paved the way for the community legal sector.

Join us for an evening that celebrates the legacy of Justice For Us All.

No person will be turned away for lack of funds.

For all enquiries please contact Maeve at mredmond@mlc.org.au.