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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (30 April) . . Page.. 212 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

The amendments to section 349 are part of a package of amendments to the enforcement powers of the court. The Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill 1998 will amend the Supreme Court Act to provide the Supreme Court with the power to order a forced entry by the sheriff. This Bill will provide consistency in relation to forced entry as far as is appropriate between the Magistrates Court (Civil Jurisdiction) Act and the Supreme Court Act.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (10.57): Mr Speaker, I present the Crimes (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Some members of the Assembly will be familiar with this legislation. I introduced a Bill in the same terms in this place last year. Unfortunately, on that occasion the Assembly did not support the Bill. I am reintroducing the legislation to provide a further opportunity for the Assembly to consider the two quite significant amendments to the sentencing principles contained in the Crimes Act 1900 which it would effect. Those principles were inserted into the Act in 1993 by legislation introduced by the previous Labor Government. That legislation was influenced by a report on sentencing that was prepared by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 1988. A main aim of the legislation, as explained by the then Attorney-General in his presentation speech, was "to promote consistency in approach amongst sentences and to state clearly the principles upon which sentencing decisions are made".

Until 1993 there were no statutory provisions dealing with the determination of a sentence in the ACT. When the courts made a decision about sentencing, they were bound by common law principles. When the 1993 Bill was debated I supported, with some qualification, the codification of this area of the common law. I said it would be helpful to have a clear statement of the principles to be taken into account in relation to sentencing.

Since the amendments came into effect two problems have become apparent and the present Bill aims to overcome those problems. The problems have occurred because, in two areas, the 1993 statement of sentencing principles appears to have departed from the common law. The result is that courts may, from time to time, be required, depending on the particular circumstances of a case, to impose a more lenient sentence than if the common law continued to apply. The aim of the present amendments is to make it clear that the sentencing principles in the Crimes Act are a reflection of common law principles.

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