One word can make all the difference in writing—particularly where law is concerned.
Recent legislation, hastily drafted and rushed through parliament to combat outlaw motorcycle gangs in Queensland, has been found to be on shaky ground due to the use of ‘is’ instead of ‘was’.
Three Hell’s Angels, standing accused of drug trafficking, apparently resigned from the gang and handed in their patches nine days before the proposed legislation was passed into law.
During the bail hearing, the defence maintained that the bail aspect of the laws apply only to an accused person who is a member of a motorcycle gang not one who was.
The Supreme Court Justice found that the accused were no longer ‘participants in a criminal organisation’ and, as the laws had to be read on their ‘plain grammatical meaning’, ruled against the prosecution.
Back to the drawing board folks! And, this time, perhaps some editing assistance may be of value. We all need it.
A bit back, I blogged on a similar note: sloppy punctuation may cost you.