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Australian David Hicks and other detainees still held at Guant�namo Bay, Cuba, have been victims of their own legal rights. That was the message of the U.S. ambassador to Australia, Robert McCallum, to reporters at a Valentine’s Day press conference. McCallum, who previously served as the Justice Department’s No. 3 official, said Australians were “understandably angry” at how long it’s taken to bring Hicks to trial, according to The Australian newspaper. (Hicks, who is alleged by the U.S. government to have trained with al-Queda in Afghanistan, has been at Guant�namo more than five years.) Al-Queda had trained its recruits in what McCallum called “lawfare,” or the use of American laws and judicial systems to their advantage, according to The Australian. The result, according to McCallum: lengthy appeals brought by “imaginative and talented attorneys.” “That is worthy of a sequel to 1984,” said Joshua Dratel, a lawyer for Hicks. He noted that his client didn’t see a glimpse of a courtroom for the first 2 1/2 years of his detention. -LEGAL TIMES Character witness A retired farmer who was charged with felony assault for wielding a shotgun near a gasoline thief got support from the thief as he pleaded guilty to stealing gas and a car radiator. “I committed a crime and, you know, he did what he probably thought was right to . . . resolve the situation,” Christian Harris Smith said during his sentencing in Isanti County, Minn., District Court. The charges against farmer Kenneth Englund have been reduced. But his attorney, Brian Toder, denied his client pointed the gun at anyone. “Even if he did, that’s reasonable force. He’s with a guy who he thought was a drug-crazed meth-head.” -ASSOCIATED PRESS

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