Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (7 August) . .
Thursday, 7 August 2014
MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
Crimes Amendment Bill 2014
Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (10.01): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
The Crimes Amendment Bill 2014 concerns the process by which the Supreme Court considers a report of an inquiry into a conviction. In the course of considering the report on the conviction of David Eastman, the Supreme Court recently heard arguments about the nature of its proceedings in dealing with an inquiry.
The amendments I am introducing today support the court review process by clarifying that the Supreme Court can receive submissions in considering an inquiry report and that its proceedings are judicial in nature. The bill achieves this by repealing section 431 of the Crimes Act.
Section 431 contains two main points: that a proceeding to which that section applies is not a judicial proceeding and that the court must not hear submissions in certain circumstances. During its consideration of the Eastman inquiry report, the Supreme Court found that these points apply only to the question of whether a report should be published. They do not apply to any other Supreme Court function in relation to an inquiry. In particular, they do not apply to the Supreme Court's function of deciding whether to quash a conviction.
This bill will therefore confirm the Supreme Court's decision that it could hear submissions about the Eastman inquiry report and that its proceedings were judicial in nature. The bill, if enacted by the Assembly, is proposed to operate from this day. This is to ensure that there is no further doubt about what impact section 431 has on the Supreme Court's consideration of the Eastman inquiry report.
In introducing these amendments, I will first give a brief summary of the inquiry process, including the roles of the government, the inquiry board and the Supreme Court. Once the background to the inquiry process is clear, I will explain how these amendments support the independence of the process. Nothing in this bill detracts from the Supreme Court's ability to act on an inquiry report, including the Eastman