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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1027..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I have been given a graph which I am very happy to table. It shows the decline of expenditure on policing during Labor's years in office. Under this government it has climbed steadily. I am happy to table that for the information of members. I present the following paper:

ACT Policing-Indexed expenditure-Copy of bar graph for the years 1989 to 2001.

Drug trafficking charges against student

MR HIRD: My question is addressed to the Attorney-General, Mr Stefaniak. What is the current situation with respect to a student who has been charged with drug trafficking within the territory?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. To assist Mr Hargreaves in respect to his last supplementary question, if you back the bill I am introducing tomorrow, Mr Hargreaves, you might see a drop like that for a few offences. That is the Bail Act.

In answer to the question by my colleague Mr Hird, there was considerable media interest in this matter last week. As indicated, a person who had been charged with very serious drug offences-

MR SPEAKER: Watch sub judice, Mr Attorney.

MR STEFANIAK: I am aware of that. The offences included possession of a traffickable amount of heroin. This person may have been able to avoid a prosecution had this person been deported. The Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs would have deported that person, a student whose visa had expired, unless the person was either in custody or the DPP issued a criminal justice stay certificate pursuant to the Commonwealth Migration Act. As that person was granted bail by the ACT Supreme Court last week, the only way of ensuring that the person remained here in Australia to face the charges against her was for such a certificate to be issued. Where the DPP issues a stay certificate he certifies that arrangements have been made to meet the costs of a person who is an unlawful non-citizen while that person remains in Australia for the purpose of being prosecuted.

I think understandable concerns were voiced last week at the prospect that the student might be deported if funds were not available to enable the DPP to meet any costs arising from the issue of a certificate. I can assure you, Mr Hird, that on Monday the DPP issued a criminal justice stay certificate in relation to that student so that she will remain in Australia to be prosecuted for the serious offences with which she has been charged.

At this stage it is not possible to estimate the costs, if any, which will need to be met by the DPP as a result of the issue of that certificate. This will depend on the extent to which the accused person has other sources of sustenance. In any event, as already noted, the costs are unlikely to exceed the cost to the territory had that person remained in custody until and throughout her trial. This government will ensure that criminal justice agencies such as the DPP are resourced so that there is no prospect that persons charged with


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