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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (1 May) . . Page.. 1288 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

justified, having regard to section 22, for adults, and section 23, for children. What does this mean? The language implies a further search for grounds for refusing bail. It is not clear that the officer or court must assess the reasons in favour of granting bail. The tone is about finding reasons in sections 22 and 23 to counter the special and exceptional circumstances.

I do not believe that this will have no effect. It is a poor argument for changing the law. The potential consequences of this change include opening the way, in exceptional circumstances, for victimisation, and unknown costs to the public purse and greater impacts on people we must still presume to be innocent.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (12.09): Mr Speaker, I think I just heard Ms Tucker say that there was no evidence to support this bill. Operation Anchorage has now been running for about nine weeks. During that time, 139 persons have been apprehended. Sixty-five per cent of those had previous charges for burglary or receiving stolen goods and 20 per cent, or 27 persons, were already out on bail. Seven were arrested twice during that time, and one individual was arrested four times. I would have thought those statistics clearly say that this bill should go through.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (12.10), in reply: I thank members for their comments, especially the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Stanhope, for his very detailed comments. I was very happy to hear Mr Stanhope mention the Law Reform Commission. These amendments, or things similar to them, have been talked about for some time. In working up these amendments, I worked fairly closely with the Chief Magistrate, who was on the Law Reform Commission. I also kept in contact with Justice Crispin, who also was on the Law Reform Commission.

In fairness to Mr Chenoweth, I read very carefully the Canberra Times comment. I also mentioned to him on several occasions that I was doing this. I note that he refers to the federal government not going ahead with the heroin trial and some problems in relation to where people would be housed. They are the two matters that he is reported in the Canberra Times as mentioning. That report is reasonably consistent with discussions I had with him in relation to this bill.

Mr Speaker, this bill is very much a commonsense response to a practical problem. As Ms Tucker conceded, the Bail Act 1992 is by no means perfect. The Law Reform Commission is looking at other areas of it, and Justice Crispin advises me that, hopefully fairly soon, they will have some additional comments in relation to other parts of it.

There is certainly a very pressing need. Ron Cahill has mentioned a number of times that the courts feel constrained by the legislation, with its presumption in favour of bail, except in those two circumstances which Ms Tucker mentioned-domestic violence and where someone has been convicted, has been sentenced and has appealed. Those are cases where the test of special and exceptional circumstances is applied. So there is some precedence for the courts to work on.

This legislation is not dissimilar to legislation in other parts of the country. Victoria and Western Australia, for example, have similar legislation. I looked very closely at that. Victoria deals with indictable offences. Indictable offences there are offences with

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