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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2444 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

just how extensively they considered this. The Law Reform Commission is hardly a body made up of a lot of rednecks.

In New South Wales there are now proposals-I'm not sure if they've actually put it into legislative form-which would make it virtually impossible for anyone who is alleged to have committed a crime of murder, for example, to get bail in any circumstance.

This bill merely reverses the presumption for those serious offences such as murder, treason, drug offences, serious domestic violence and restraining order breaches and offences with a weapon, which obviously includes the violent assaults, armed robberies and indeed violent sexual assaults.

As I said, I am grateful for Parliamentary Counsel's assistance in relation to this matter. My bill, which is a little bit longer than what's actually in the Law Reform Commission report, faithfully puts into effect their intentions. The first three clauses are just machinery provisions; it then gives a definition of what actually are applicable bail criteria; it substitutes in the existing section a new subsection (b) in terms of offences mentioned in the new section 8AB and 8AA and lists the other remaining sections which are already in the act.

Similarly, clause 5 sets out the circumstances where section 8 and the other provisions mentioned apply. As my explanatory statement sets out, it remakes a couple of existing sections without any intended change in meaning and does the necessary legislative things there. It also sets out the current relationship between sections 8, 9 and 14.

It puts in new sections 8AA and 8AB, and that is a presumption against bail for certain serious offences and lists that the court or authorised officer must not grant bail to a person to whom this section applies unless satisfied, despite the gravity of the offence with which the person is accused, it would be appropriate to grant bail having regard to the circumstances mentioned there. Again, that is simply changing and reversing the current presumption in favour of bail for those offences. It then goes through that.

The bill then continues, Mr Speaker, and introduces some further definitions to ensure that there is absolute clarity. It then deals with some further sections which are relevant to this section which and need to be mentioned as well.

For example, clause 8 recognises the fact that we have a new section 8AA, which is the presumption against bail for certain serious offences and of course regurgitates once again the other areas which are relevant, which are section 9 and section 9A. Naturally, they don't apply because that is bail for serious offences committed whilst a charge for another is either pending or outstanding-in other words, people who commit further offences whilst currently before the court either on charges or already on bail. Obviously, that is not affected by this particular section.

Mr Speaker, this is an important change to our law. The Law Reform Commission obviously did not take it lightly. It consulted very, very widely and came up with a very learned recommendation which brings us much more into line with what is

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