Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1857 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
This Bill inserts a new provision into the Act to provide that the defence may address the jury last in a Supreme Court trial. The enactment of this amendment will bring the ACT into line with the practice in other Australian jurisdictions.
While the amendment is seen as potentially beneficial to defendants, in giving them the opportunity of having the "last word" before the jury, it is supported by those representing both defence and prosecution interests - the ACT Bar Association, the ACT Law Society, the ACT Legal Aid Office and the Director of Public Prosecutions. While the Bill may mean that the defence is able to address the jury last, it contains a safeguard against possible abuse of that procedure. The Bill provides that where, in the closing address for the defence, relevant matters are asserted which are not supported by the evidence before the jury, the prosecution is able to address the jury in reply to any such assertions. This will only be able to be done with the leave of the court. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope) adjourned.
Leave to Present
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to present the Director of Public Prosecutions (Amendment) Bill 1998.
Leave not granted.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (10.37): I move:
That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Mr Moore presenting the Director of Public Prosecutions (Amendment) Bill 1998.
Mr Speaker, I am very disappointed not to be given leave to introduce this Bill. It is not as though there was no notice of this. Last week I tabled a legislative program, which is a very appropriate way of dealing with such issues. In doing so, I actually explained what this Bill was about so it was very clear to members what would happen.
Mr Speaker, on a previous occasion when I sought to table a Bill those opposite denied me private members time to introduce such legislation. I have accepted that. In the legislative program that I have presented to the Assembly matters are included that do not have government agreement. Indeed, a precedent has been set in previous Assemblies when other government members have tabled personal Bills - one example being Mrs Carnell.