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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3788..


Papers

Mr Smyth presented the following paper:

Land (Planning and Environment) Act-Direction pursuant to subsection 37 (1)-Review of Territory Plan relating to Block 1, Section 80 Watson.

Mr Stefaniak presented the following papers:

Criminal Justice-Statistical Profile-ACT Criminal Justice-June 2001 quarter.

Law Reform Commission-Report No 19-Bail-ACT Law Reform Commission.

Law Reform Commission

Report

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General): I seek leave to make a statement in relation to the Law Reform Commission report.

Leave granted.

MR STEFANIAK: I am pleased to table for the information of members the ACT Law Reform Commission's report on the laws relating to bail. It has been a long time in coming. It represents the completion of the commission's review of the territory's bail laws.

The original reference to the commission was made in December 1997. The commission was asked to review the provisions of the Bail Act of 1992 to determine whether they were suited to the public interest, in particular to the interests of victims of crime, and to report on desirable changes to existing laws, practices and procedures. In response to the reference, the commission formed a working group comprising representatives from the Magistrates Court, the Supreme Court, the Legal Aid office, the AFP and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Following on from that group's deliberations, a discussion paper was prepared and released for public comment. The suggestions for reform were then referred to the Criminal Law Consultative Committee for further examination. That committee includes representatives from the Bar Association, the Law Society, government agencies and others concerned with criminal law and procedure. Despite a number of contentious areas, and bail certainly can be a contentious area, I am advised that the committee ultimately supported the main thrust of the proposals contained in the report.

Mr Speaker, I would like to thank all the people involved for their contribution to the report. It has indeed been a lengthy contribution over a period of time.

Recommendations of the report include reversing the presumption in favour of bail for very serious offences such as murder, crimes involving the use of a deadly weapon, or major drug trafficking-that is a good one; making it an offence to breach bail conditions; expanding the criteria to be considered when deciding whether to grant bail; enacting provisions to deal with judgment debtors; and allowing bail hearings to be heard by audio-visual link at the discretion of the court.


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