Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3534..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
do not apply to a proceeding if the hearing of the proceeding has started before the amendments in part 3 commence. It is intended that the new amendments will apply to all cases that are on foot, unless a hearing has already commenced. It will not be relevant when the charges were laid or the offence occurred, but if a hearing or sentencing proceeding has commenced then the new provisions will not apply.
Amendment agreed to.
Proposed new clause 34 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Court Legislation Amendment Bill 2008
Debate resumed from 26 June 2008, on motion by Mr Corbell:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (9.13): The bill contains a new and improved method for commencing criminal proceedings in the Magistrates Court called a court attendance notice. It is issued at the time of charging and contains the following information: the name of the person; the offence to which it relates; the outline of the particulars in the offence and, unless a warrant is issued for the arrest of the person or bail refused, the time and date to appear in court and consequences if the person fails to attend.
The bill also allows reference appeals to be heard by the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court, and I will come back to that in a second. The bill reduces the requirement for a written statement admitted as evidence to be a statutory declaration. It amends the Supreme Court Act to give effect to a recent High Court decision regarding the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal and also amends the Director of Public Prosecutions Act to allow the DPP to have a non-legal practitioner's member of staff appear at the callover list. That is pretty sensible because that is what the private profession has been doing for quite a while.
I think the CAN system is a more efficient process. It has certainly been used in New South Wales for a number of years, as the attorney alluded to in his presentation speech, and it will enable better use of police and court time. The proposed 12-month trial, I understand, is to allow flexibility so we will see how that actually operates.
Reference appeals—they have been allowed for the Supreme Court, but they have not been allowed for the Magistrates Court—may resolve questions of law in criminal proceedings, which may assist future prosecutions. Effectively, it is a judgement which becomes a precedent. That is irrespective of the outcome of the original proceedings. It makes it clear that a reference appeal option is not actually limited to matters where a plea of not guilty has been entered. That, I suppose, is a positive thing.