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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 836 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

procedure has a right to appear in person before that tribunal, to stand or sit before the tribunal and present themselves in person. We simply wish to ensure that that person is under no misapprehension about their right to appear in person. That is what we are seeking to achieve here; nothing more than that. We do not believe that these amendments in any way derogate from or actually affect the import of this legislation.

The Attorney has given some indication that there is a cost implication here in terms of the cost of transportation of remandees from the Belconnen Remand Centre to the Magistrates Court. We are, of course, always mindful of costs in terms of access to justice, the cost of justice and the delays in justice. There are certain fundamental principles, particularly in relation to those people who have been denied their liberty. I accept the point that the Attorney is making about costs; but if it is a question of the cost of transporting from time to time a prisoner from the Belconnen Remand Centre to the Magistrates Court as opposed to that person's right to appear in person before that magistrate, then I am on the side of that person's right to appear in person before his judge.

MR RUGENDYKE (12.06): I rise to support initially the Bill as tabled by Mr Humphries. I see it as an important advancement of our justice system to utilise closed-circuit television and modern technology. I see it as a great saving to our community to be able to put this type of technology in process. Mr Speaker, when I look to Mr Stanhope's amendments, I see that there is an issue of civil liberties and civil rights - the rights and civil liberties of people in the Belconnen Remand Centre in relation to being able to have some control over their own destiny. I wonder whether anybody has actually bothered to ask any remandees whether they think their civil rights and liberties have been advanced by these amendments.

I think it is appropriate in my speech to give an overview of my experience of how the amendments would impact on the rights and liberties of Belconnen remandees in a practical sense. Remandees who are to appear before court on a remand matter are transported in the back of a paddy wagon from the Belconnen Remand Centre to court in Civic. Prior to leaving the Remand Centre they pack up all their belongings, they vacate their unit and they are body-searched. On arrival at the court cells, they are body-searched once again, their property is taken from them and their cigarettes are locked in a locker.

Those remandees are then directed to what I guess is called the holding cell for the day. The holding cells are approximately the size of half the benches opposite. The holding cells are glass-fronted and they are looked down upon by the security officers performing the duties of security guards down in the cells. The floor is lino. The lino extends up and over a bench which the remandees will spend the day sitting on. They have absolutely no dignity when they need to use the toilet. They spend the day being watched by security guards.

There will come a time during the day when they will be called up to the court for their appearance. They will not see daylight. When they leave the cells, which are below ground, they are put into a cage at the back of a lift and conveyed through concrete corridors for their two-minute bail appearance. They then reverse the procedure, going

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