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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 890 ..

Mr Stanhope: Where is the Mental Health Tribunal held?

MR HUMPHRIES: It is held in the Magistrates Court building.

Mr Stanhope: Their hearings?

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes. I am astonished. This man is supposed to be the shadow Attorney-General. The court already has the power to exclude people from their presence. That is why that soundproof booth is there. It was built there for that purpose. I assume that my predecessor, Mr Connolly, approved its existence in the court building. Mr Stanhope conveniently finds something to talk about instead. In proceedings affecting Mr Eastman in recent years - there have been so many that I cannot recall which one it was - Mr Eastman was, in fact, excluded from the presence of the court. He was a party and he was excluded from the presence of the court. He was sent, I understand, to a room underneath the court and proceedings were relayed to him there so that he could not disrupt the work of the court. It has happened already.

I am not sure, frankly, what effect the amendments moved by Mr Stanhope would have on the existing power of the court to exclude people from its presence, including parties, including defendants in criminal matters. That power is already there, Mr Stanhope. We are not creating a new infringement on the rights of people; it is already there. I do not want to detain the Assembly any longer. I simply say that this power is a power which exists in every other jurisdiction which has legislated for electronic appearances, every other jurisdiction. I am not being some kind of totalitarian ogre because even Labor jurisdictions have done so. Mr Speaker, even Labor jurisdictions have done so. Therefore, it amounts to a standard across Australia which I would ask members of this place to support.

MR WOOD (5.12): Mr Speaker, the Eastman example - I think it was Mr Humphries who raised it - has actually drawn us off the path. We acknowledge that the courts have had the ability to take people out. Mr Stanhope's amendments are related particularly to the ordinary, innocuous bloke who is never going to cause trouble in court.

Mr Humphries: If he was ordinary and innocuous he obviously would not be in court.

MR WOOD: I will take the interjection, Mr Speaker. Like most of them, once those blokes get to court, they do not cause trouble in the court itself; is that not right?

Mr Rugendyke: Totally correct, Mr Wood.

MR WOOD: Totally incorrect?

Mr Rugendyke: Correct.

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