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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4973..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

report on recommendations which are agreed to by government and how they have progressed those recommendations. We were not happy with how this reporting occurred in this annual report and hope to see an improvement in that.

I note that other agencies are doing so really well. From memory, Urban Services or Chief Minister's-one of them that I was looking at just last week-was a good example of how to do it by listing the recommendations and the government response and giving a quite clear description of how those recommendations are being progressed. I commend this report to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Law Reform Commission

Report on bail-government response

Debate resumed from 19 June 2003, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR STEFANIAK (10.41): Mr Speaker, it is timely to discuss the report of the Law Reform Commission on bail. I certainly hope that the government will be bringing forward its bill very early in the new year. In fact, I would hope to see that being done on Thursday. That would be timely as it would allow us to look at it over the break.

Bail is incredibly important. It is incredibly important for a number of reasons. It is a very important right and privilege under our criminal justice system. In recent times there have been a number of problems in all Australian jurisdictions in relation to just how to approach the issue of bail. I note that the issue crops up quite often in jurisdictions even more robust than ours.

Until 1992, the law was not anything like codified in the ACT. Basically, it was very much up to the individual court official-judge, magistrate or whatever-to decide whether to grant bail. I do not think that the 1992 act particularly helped. I think that it went far too far in favour of granting bail to persons charged with serious offences in circumstances which were not necessarily reasonable for the community and even the good administration of justice.

Some of the problems in terms of balancing the needs of the community with the legitimate rights of the persons charged and the need for a fairly robust approach were highlighted in a case I had the misfortune to be involved with in relation to the kidnapping by Patrick Hudd, who had a series of very violent crimes to his record, of a 17-year-old boy who was his stepson by way of a de facto relationship with a Nancy Nomchong.

The police had grave concerns. The kidnapper was committed to the Supreme Court for trial by, I think, Warren Nichol, who, I thought rather sensibly, remanded the accused in custody. The accused appealed. Mr Justice Kelly, after hearing the case, granted him bail. There were real fears as to violence. Sadly, some 48 hours later, Hudd breached his bail, kidnapped Nancy Nomchong and blew her back away when officers from the New South Wales police force in Sydney were attempting to rescue her in a siege situation.


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