US military authorities have now published the new Particulars of Charge against David Hicks on the Internet.
Contrary to my previous post, they make a quite damning and convincing case that Hicks was an Al Qaeda fighter not a Taliban one (assuming the Particulars can be proven, and they are certainly very detailed, much more so than the previous ones which I had also read). The Particulars are quite different from the alleged facts previously in the public arena, most of which emanated from the Hicks camp. Consequently, in my view Hicks is prima facie properly designated an unlawful enemy combatant (rather than a POW) and can properly be charged with attempted murder. Speculating on likely outcomes is inappropriate.
In my view, the proper stance for any Australian government at this point is simply to insist that he be brought promptly to trial, and to protest that some of the rules and processes of the military commissions are unjust and unacceptable. I don’t, however, object per se to admission of hearsay evidence of sufficient probative value (after all, European civil law admits such evidence as a matter of course), nor even evidence obtained through some coercive means (subject to Bunning v Cross or similar evaluative processes). I have no problem at all with the argument that people who volunteered to fight with a murderous terrorist organisation like Al Qaeda, especially where they chose to do so in full knowledge of the September 11 events and Al Qaeda’s alleged involvement in them (and that is the case against Hicks), deserve to feel the full weight of the law and do not have a persuasive claim simply to be released and repatriated to Australia.