Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 September 2022) . . Page.. 2639 ..
who have said that they have clearly fallen “short of community standards”, do you still maintain that an independent review it is not required?
MR RATTENBURY: I think the circumstances that Mr Hanson has described show the justice system working exactly as it is intended to. There is significant accountability in place for judges. If there is a view from the Director of Public Prosecutions that a sentence is inadequate or in some way inappropriate, that sentence or finding can be appealed against. There is direct and immediate accountability for judges built into the justice system. That is exactly how the system works. It is there for the independent Director of Public Prosecutions to form these views and to test these matters and for different judges to then review the finding of a judge that has already been made. This is the system at work.
I think this underlines the fact that, over many years, a strong system of accountability has been built up to ensure that, where some hold a view that the sentence is inappropriate, there is an opportunity for it to be reviewed. So I would make that as an initial comment.
Mr Hanson has made reference to calls for reviews. There have been calls for review of sentencing and there have been calls for review of the judiciary. Depending on who you are talking to, there are a number of different calls around. My view has been that I do not believe that we need a wholesale review of the judiciary or of sentencing. But I have also been clear that that does not mean that there are not particular areas of work that we can do. There have also been calls for review of bail. Everyone wants a bit of a review of everything at the moment.
The point is that there are pieces of work to be done—there is no doubt about that—but Mr Hanson sweeping statement that we need a review of all of this does not help us. What we actually need to do is to work through matters where there are particular concerns. This is exactly what the Director of Public Prosecutions is doing, where he is appealing particular matters where he has formed a view, in his independent role, that they warrant testing on appeal. (Time expired.)
MR HANSON: Attorney, in your view, what is an appropriate percentage in terms of the level of review? You are saying that 68 per cent shows that the system is working well. What is the appropriate level of appeals, in your view?
MR RATTENBURY: Again, Mr Hanson is using statistics in a way that suits his narrative, but I do not think that it is an accurate reflection. I do not have the numbers in front of me—I am seeking these at the moment—but we have to bear in mind that the number of matters that go to appeal is extremely low as a proportion of all the matters that go through the courts in the ACT in a year. The Director of Public Prosecutions will take on matters for appeal where he feels that it is warranted. The fact that there is that proportion in recent periods indicates that the DPP has been well founded in his decision to take up an appeal. As I say, I believe that is the system working, where there is accountability for judges.
In terms of characterising the many different narratives that are around at the moment, I think what people are looking for is accountability. I would argue that the appeals system provides that accountability. The ability of the independent Director of Public