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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 281 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

they had been charged with an indictable offence, and that is simply not what the legislation says. It is simply not the case. The government's persistent claim that there was not a single circumstance in which any person could be required to undergo a DNA test unless they had committed an indictable offence, a serious offence, is simply not the case. The government left a loophole in the legislation by the omission of the word "serious" from section 29.

I think it is regrettable that the amendment I moved was not made at the time of the debate. I am moving the amendment I moved previously. I move it this time with the fortitude of advice in relation to the particular issue provided by Craig Everson. I am sure the Attorney is very aware of Craig Everson's standing in this town as a senior criminal barrister, one of the most learned and experienced criminal barristers operating in the ACT. Mr Everson is under absolutely no doubt that section 29 of the forensic procedures legislation permits the carrying out of a forensic procedure on a person who has not been convicted of or is not suspected of an indictable offence. I could read Mr Everson's opinion for the edification of members. I have circulated it. I hope members read it, but I would like to take the opportunity to table a copy of the advice, Mr Speaker, if I may do so.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: I present the following paper:

Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000-Opinion by Craig Everson, dated 13 September 2000.

The clear and unequivocal advice of Mr Craig Everson, whose expertise in these matters cannot be gainsaid or questioned, is that there are circumstances-perhaps they are extreme, and perhaps they are not simple-in which a person could, for instance, be DNA tested for something as simple as selling lottery tickets without a permit. That might be an extreme example, but, nevertheless, it flies in the face of the categorical assurance which the people of Canberra were given by the Chief Minister that there were no circumstances, absolutely none-he repeated it time and time again-in which any person within the ACT could be subjected to a DNA test unless they were suspected of an indictable offence, and that is not the case.

If any member of this place voted on that bill on the basis of the Chief Minister's assurances that there were simply no circumstances in which you could be DNA tested unless you had been suspected of an indictable offence, they were misled and they cast their vote on this provision on the basis of advice that was not correct. This is an opportunity now to close this loophole. This is a very simple amendment. It simply adds the word "serious" to section 29. I am quite sure that if the Attorney were to be honest about this he would simply acknowledge that the word "serious" was inadvertently left out of the section and it simply needs to be put back in.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (5.27): Well, that is not my advice and I have asked the department to look at this. They looked at Mr Stanhope's amendment very carefully. I have read the section a few times. I think I can see where both Mr Stanhope and the learned counsel are coming from, but when you read the full section I think it becomes fairly clear.

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