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MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (10.46): Mr Speaker, I present the Magistrates Court (Amendment) Bill 1995, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This is the second of the two Bills which will allow certain categories of people to be detained at the Belconnen Remand Centre rather than in prison or in police custody. The Magistrates Court (Amendment) Bill 1995 includes two principal amendments.

The first amendment relates to those prisoners who have been convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment but who have lodged an appeal against conviction. In the past such persons were detained in the Belconnen Remand Centre while awaiting the hearing of their appeals. However, in a 1990 decision, doubt was cast on this practice by the Supreme Court. Consequently, an amendment to clarify any uncertainty has been included in the Bill. The category of prisoners who have lodged appeals does not extend to those who are appealing only against sentence, since they are not in the same position of protesting their innocence but are arguing only that the sentence imposed is too severe. Such prisoners will be detained in prison in New South Wales in the ordinary way while the matter is determined.

The Bill also provides for detention in a remand centre of a person who refuses to enter into a recognisance to be of good behaviour under subsection 547(2) of the Crimes Act 1900. That section deals with cases of apprehended breach of the peace where the person has uttered offensive or defamatory words, and it empowers a magistrate to order imprisonment either for three months or until the person agrees to enter into the required recognisance. Since the court's powers in the case of an apprehended breach of the peace are purely preventative rather than flowing from the commission of a criminal offence, I consider it appropriate that any detention should be served in a remand centre with other unconvicted persons rather than in prison. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Connolly) adjourned.

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