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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 March 2021) . . Page.. 741 ..

contemporary approach to the way the courts can notify an accused person that their bail has been extended. Like the amendments in the bill as introduced, these proposed additional amendments will improve the operation of provisions supporting our criminal justice system. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (4.36): I seek leave to move amendments Nos 1 and 2 circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

MR RATTENBURY: I move amendments Nos 1 and 2 circulated in my name together and table a supplementary explanatory statement to the amendments [see schedule 1 at page 763]. As I have flagged in the previous comments, this bill makes minor technical amendments to the provision of several acts to improve the efficacy and clarity of criminal justice legislation.

I want to speak specifically here about the amendments around bail. They are an attempt to address an issue highlighted by a recent decision in the ACT Magistrates Court and relate to provisions of the Bail Act to deal with the service of notices to continue bail. The amendments follow consideration of these provisions in light of the decision in Elder v Metyang that the court has a mandatory legal obligation to immediately, personally, serve an accused person with a notice to continue bail.

The primary purpose of bail is to ensure that an accused person reappears in court, either to face charges or to be sentenced. The purpose of a notice to continue bail is to notify the accused person of the place, date and time to which the proceedings are adjourned or postponed and/or to notify the accused person that proceedings are adjourned or postponed to a yet to be determined place, date and time.

The decision in Elder highlighted an inconsistency between an expressed legal requirement to immediately serve notices to continue bail personally and the established practice of the law courts registry to post notices to continue bail to an accused person in some circumstances, including where an accused person is absent from proceedings due to illness or accident. It also highlighted that the methods of service available for notices to continue bail were unduly limited and did not reflect contemporary methods of communication. The government will shortly amend the bail regulation to provide for more flexible and contemporary methods by which bail notices can be communicated.

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