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Worthy winners

When lawyers take on hard cases against all odds ranged against them and pursue their client's interests and rights in the face of personal attacks they are to be more than commended. They are doing what one would hope all right-minded lawyers would do in pursuing what they see as the interests of justice and fairness without regard to the personal implications.

It is therefore more than gratifying, and satisfying, to see the Weekend Australian award Australians of the Year to 2 lawyers who took on the Federal Government - and saw a just outcome for their endeavours.

The Australian reports "Haneef team defied injustice":

"The complicated professional relationship that can meld a solicitor and a barrister into a formidable legal team has rarely been better displayed than in the case of the two men who are The Weekend Australian's Australians of the Year.

Brisbane solicitor Peter Russo and barrister Stephen Keim SC have become national figures in their long, difficult fight to defend Indian-born doctor Mohamed Haneef, who was detained on terror charges last July.

They have displayed the determination and professional skill that makes exceptional men stand out from the crowd. Unbowed by political and social pressures, they took on the might of the federal government, the Australian Federal Police and, initially, public opinion to prove the charges against Dr Haneef were unfounded and that the decision to withdraw his Australian visa was flawed.

Should Dr Haneef return to Australia, as seems likely, and continue to provide medical care for the citizens of the Gold Coast, Mr Russo and Mr Keim will have cemented themselves among the leading human rights advocates this country has produced."


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