Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 840 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
discriminates against their case or prejudices their case, their chance of remedy on appeal is significantly enlarged by virtue of that fact. But you can imagine circumstances where being able to bring a person into a court would be disruptive to the work of the court.
Another example, which Mr Rugendyke made reference to, is where we have an extremely dangerous person, a very high profile prisoner, for example, an international terrorist who has been arrested in the ACT and is having to appear in court. That has never happened, fortunately, and it is not likely to happen very often. But if it were the case that a person of that kind were there and we had to engage in a significant security risk in transporting him or her from the Remand Centre all the way into town for an appearance, perhaps on several occasions, the cost to the community and the risk to the safety of all those involved of having to make that decision would be quite significant. The court may well decide that it is in the best interests of the administration of justice that that person not appear live on that occasion. That would be rare, but it could occur.
Another example is of a person who was drug affected or seriously mentally ill and was highly disruptive to the work of the court. The court may have a number of matters before it on that day - - -
Mr Hargreaves: The court's right is more important than the individual's right here, is it?
MR HUMPHRIES: No.
Mr Hargreaves: It is more important for the court than the individual's right? You are taking a bloke's right away, a right of choice.
MR SPEAKER: Order, please! You have had your say.
MR HUMPHRIES: No, Mr Hargreaves. The important point here is that we are not detracting from the right of a person to appear in court. Appearance is a term which in a court means to have representations made to the court in the way that they see fit. Most people appear in courts not live at all; they appear by way of counsel. In this case, we are saying that you have the additional right to be able to be face to face with the judge, to be able to put your arguments directly to the judge or magistrate, and that can be conveyed by audiovisual link. I would suggest to members that the additional right to be actually physically present in the court on the limited number of rare occasions where the court might see fit not to grant that right is a very small right.
Mr Hargreaves: It is an infringement.
MR HUMPHRIES: It is an infringement of that right, yes, but it is a small infringement. The right of the court to be able to administer justice and the right of others to get access to justice because the system is not disrupted are other rights which have to be weighed up in the balance. If a seriously mentally ill person or drug affected person was appearing before the court and the court was of the view that that person's behaviour was so disruptive as to disrupt the work of the court, to prevent other people from being safe in those circumstances or whatever, it may take the view on occasions