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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 10 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3191..

Answers to questions

Stirling—block 13 section 22

(Question No 1625)

Mr Seselja asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 21 August 2007:

(1) Was failure of a builder to comply with a rectification order concerning Block 13 Section 22 Stirling referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions in August 2005 and the case did not proceed because the statute of limitations expired; if so, what were the circumstances surrounding this case that led to the expiry of the statute of limitations;

(2) Could anything have been done to enable the case to be heard within the prescribed timeframe;

(3) What delays occurred because material was not supplied in a timely manner by Government departments, agencies or authorities;

(4) What information was sought or required by the Director of Public Prosecutions and not supplied within the required time frame;

(5) What action could have been taken, and by whom, to ensure that the matter was dealt with within the required time frame.

Mr Corbell: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) The failure of a builder to comply with a rectification order in respect of Block 13 Section 22 Stirling was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions on or about 12 August 2005.

The case was similar to an earlier case in which a claim had been made in the ACT Administrative Appeals Tribunal ("ACTAAT") that a rectification order could not be made in similar circumstances.

The Office was requested to defer commencing the prosecution until the ACT AAT proceedings had been finalised. That occurred on 24 October 2005 when the Tribunal upheld the builder's appeal.

The ACT Construction Operations Registrar then appealed that decision to the ACT Supreme Court. The appeal was heard by Chief Justice Higgins who, on 13 September 2006 dismissed the appeal. His Honour also held that the fact that a certificate of compliance under section 15 of the Building Act 1972 had been issued, estopped the Registrar from issuing a rectification order. A similar certificate had been issued in the case of the Stirling property. Thus, when the decision became available no further action was contemplated.

While the limitation period under section 192 of the Legislation Act 2001 had expired by the time the proceedings had been completed, the decision of the Supreme Court meant that the rectification order would have been held invalid in any event.

(2) It would have been possible for a summons on information to have been issued prior to expiry of the limitation period and not to have been served until the proceedings

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