LANDMARK CASE IN THE HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIAMajor Ting Li v Chief of Army (Defence Force of Australia)On Thursday 31st October 2013, the full bench of the High Court will sit and consider an appeal by Major Ting Li against his court-martial. The Major was an Australian Army officer of Chinese descent who worked as a military lawyer with Defence Legal in Canberra .In February 2010, Major Li was involved in a workplace incident with a senior Defence Department official Andrew Snashall, a civilian Director of the department.Major Li’s wife and her newborn baby were visiting the office of Defence legal when Mr Snashall made a racial slur in reference to Major Li, quote “I see you have been polluting the world with your genes”.Major Li remonstrated with Mr Snashall for those comments and a series of arguments then broke out between the two. Mr Snashall denied the claims and then lodged a complaint against Major Li for “causing a disturbance” in his office. Major Li was suspended from duty and ended up with a charge by the Australian Army.Following the court-martial, Major Li was reprimanded, fined $2000 and banned from entering any military establishment. He was then transferred to Sydney without his family.Major Li lodged an appeal with the Defence Force Disciplinary Tribunal which later dismissed the appeal. He next appealed to the Federal Court, which again found against him.Represented by Alexander Street SC, the case was taken to the High Court which has now granted special leave to hear the case.Major Li’s case has elements including wrongful dismissal of an employee, workplace discrimination, and an inference of racism. It could turn out to be a landmark decision by the High Court in terms of Australian legal history.
李少校在澳洲海軍當水手，1995年退役之後修讀法律，成為軍方律師。涉案另一方是Andrew Snashall, Director of Special Financial Claims, 軍中的文職人員，辦公室在李少校樓上。2009年7月李少校的妻子及嬰孩在李少校工作的地方遇見Snashall, Snashall講了這様一句侮辱性種族歧視的説話——"I see you have been polluting the world with your genes." 毫無疑問這是種族歧視的説話，李少校當時不哼一聲。導致李少校受軍事法庭審訊並定罪的事發生於2010年2月3日，李少校走入Snashall的辦公室找晦氣，因為對上一天Snashall見到李少校找他的下屬，Snashall斥責他騷擾他的職員。兩人在2月3日爆發口角，幾乎動武，要其他人勸阻分隔，證供對李少校極不利，多名證人見到李少校走入Snashall的辦公室不肯離開，Snashall叫他走他不肯走，Snashall唯有離開，但李少校亦步亦趨跟著，Snashall走回自己的辦公室關門，李少校頂著門不讓他關上。就是在這背景下Snashall投訴李的行為致使他被軍事法庭定罪，他被控以Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 第33條，因與Snashall衝突而created a disturbance。他在軍事法庭閉門聆訊被定罪，不服定罪上訴，去年由聯邦法院5位法官聽審，3比2駁回上訴，今年8月向聯邦最高法院(相等於香港的終審法院)申請上訴許可(special leave)，獲得批准，上訴正審於10月31日舉行。