Recent meetings of the Australian Linguistic Society (ALS) and the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA) voted unanimously to send a Call to Action to the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA), asking them to facilitate review and reform of current practices for admission and use of covert recordings as evidence in criminal trials.
The Call to Action is auspiciously dated 8 December 2017, exactly 30 years since the landmark High Court ruling of Butera 1987, used to this day as a precedent in countless trials to enable highly problematic use of covert recordings. It was accompanied by a paper that will appear in the Journal of Judicial Administration: Thirty years is long enough: It’s time to create a process that ensures covert recordings used as evidence in court are interpreted reliably.
The linguists have asked the AIJA to respond by the end of February 2018. Watch this space.