The Case Of Hugh Rich

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Hugh Rich, born Olaf Dietrich, was intelligent, handsome and charming, but was flawed with a detrimental down side. A ferocious man, who has been imprisoned by his wild ego, is described by police as having “intelligence without wisdom and brains without judgement”. He had the world at his fingertips, and the ability to achieve great success. Instead he chose to become a career criminal, and took a lethal road.
Born in a German refugee camp in 1952 Dietrich came to Australia with his parents when he was nine. He was an early school leaver, who sought casual employment at an early age. He married at 18 and had a daughter. However, things took a sharp turn for the worst, when business turned bad and he was declared bankrupt. Throughout his
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Dietrich was tried in Victorian County Court on three counts, one of which was importing into Australia more than a trafficable quantity of heroin. The trial lasted approx. 40 days, and throughout these days, he was unable to afford legal representation and was made to go to trial without counsel, having exhausted all attempts.
Dietrich applied to Legal Aid Commission of Victoria, where his claim was rejected on the grounds that he was not willing to plead guilty to the charges. In response to this, he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. Dietrich was also rejected by the Supreme Court of Victoria.
The Country Court Judge followed previous practice and forced Dietrich to go to trial without representation. He was acquitted on two of his charges, however, he was found guilty on the importation charge. He sought to appeal to the Supreme Court but was denied; thus he took his case to the High Court. Previously there was no law in place regarding legal representation of people on trial. This impacted on Dietrich, as there was no law specifying that he needed legal representation for a fair trial. He therefore did not receive a fair trial due to
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It was decided that the practice of forcing an indigent accused to face trial without legal representation should cease immediately. This practice abused the right of the accused to not be tried unfairly. Australia now recognises the right to not receive an unfair trial. Depending on the circumstances, if an accused remains unrepresented, this could mean that the accused did not or could not receive a fair trial. There is no right in Australian law for an indigent accused to be provided counsel at public expense. In this case, it was found that the judge made a mistake in not adjourning the case to enable Dietrich to attempt to attain representation. Judge therefore ensured that his trial was not fair. Failing to adjourn or stay a case when a person is unrepresented may lead to an unfair trial.Dietrich was given leave to appeal and have his case reheard in Victoria. Due to the fact that he had already served his full sentence, the retrial never proceeded and he was set free. Ultimately, his conviction was overturned and a nationwide precedent was established that an accused must have a lawyer in major trials.
Dietrich was given leave to appeal and have his case reheard in Victoria. Due to the fact that he had already almost served his full sentence, however, the re-trial never proceeded and he was set

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