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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 23 September 2010) . . Page.. 4437 ..


territory courts by audio and audiovisual links in jurisdictions which do not have model legislation endorsed by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General in 1997.

Jurisdictions who have adopted the model legislation can, in taking evidence from witnesses located in another jurisdiction, rely on the legislation in that jurisdiction to ensure that powers in relation to court procedures are supplemented. In this regard, the fact that the Victorian legislation does not have the same, or even a similar operation to the model legislation, means that an ACT court purporting to take evidence from Victoria does not have the support it needs from the Victorian legislation to make that an effective activity. For example, there is nothing in the Victorian legislation that of itself would enable a person to be prosecuted for perjury in respect of evidence that is given by that person while they are located in Victoria for the purposes of a proceeding in an ACT court.

The amendments will extend the scope of the existing legislation by providing that the location in Victoria, or another place not covered by the uniform scheme where evidence is being taken, is regarded as part of the ACT court for the purposes of conducting the proceeding. Accordingly, ACT laws relating to evidence, procedure, contempt and perjury will apply.

The bill also amends the Supreme Court Act to ensure that a judge, in a trial by judge alone, must take into account any warnings that would, under the commonwealth Evidence Act, have had to be given to a jury in the case. Currently a judge must take into account any warnings that would, under a territory law, have had to be given to a jury in the case. But because the commonwealth Evidence Act is not captured within the definition of a territory law in the Legislation Act, the bill amends the definition of territory law in section 68C of the Supreme Court Act to expand its scope to include the commonwealth Evidence Act.

Amendments are also made to clarify that the judge in a judge-alone trial must also take into account a direction or comment that in a jury trial they would be required to give or make to the jury. This ensures that the same evidentiary rules apply to proceedings, regardless of whether they are conducted before a judge or before a judge and jury.

The bill also makes a minor amendment to streamline the administrative procedure for indexation of jury payments. Section 51 of the Juries Act is amended to allow the prescribed scale of jury payments to be made by ministerial determination through disallowable instrument. Determining the prescribed scale through disallowable instrument will allow for the scale to be indexed annually in a more efficient manner whilst maintaining an appropriate level of Assembly scrutiny through the tabling of a disallowable instrument. I thank Mr Rattenbury and the Greens for their support of this bill and I commend it to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.


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