Tuesday 15 November 2016

Rationality or Religion - Reflections on the Criminal Justice System

Friday 9th December

It gives us great pleasure to present as our guest speaker this evening Judge Brian Knox
Brian Knox is a former judge of the NSW District Court (2005- July 2016) where he worked in the civil, child care and criminal jurisdictions of the Court.

Prior to that he was NSW Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor appearing in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal and the NSW Supreme Court while working in the office of the NSW DPP (2003-2004). Before that he was a barrister and then Senior Counsel at the NSW Bar (1989-2002).
His talk, Rationality or Religion - Reflections on the Criminal Justice System starts with the evolution of law from religious beginnings and then addresses the emphasis placed on a practice of insisting on 'contrition' and repentance in the context of criminal law which to the speaker is all a bit dubious. 
As in so many areas of the criminal law we spend a lot of time blaming people. The way it works really is a throwback to concepts of original sin and Old Testament concepts of divine wrath.
Those moralistic, punitive concepts and approaches underpin the law. They are easier for those in authority to pursue rather than focusing on evidence based approaches to what works for the wider societal good , in particular, the need for different kinds of education.

Amongst the questions that Judge Knox will answer are:

How and why have our laws evolved from the biblical texts?
What influence do those texts have on the laws of the past and present?
What is and what should be the influence of the church, monarchs, government and the people on our laws?
Are punishments of value and are they successful? Do they deter?
How and why should they be applied?
What is the impact of circumstance on criminality?

Entry to this event will be $5.00 for supporter members of Sydney Atheists and $10.00 for non supporter attendees. Annual Supporter membership is only $20. To become a supporter member, please go to:http://www.sydneyatheists.org/p/donations-and-membership.html
Early bookings and payments can be made at www.trybooking.com/NWLD
Our talk events are held at the Function Room at Club Redfern:
2nd Floor, 159 Redfern St
If you are a member of our Meetup group, please RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/sydneyatheists/events/231239223/