Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5107 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

the administration of sentences imposed in the ACT. This diversity of sources results in a failure to provide easily accessible references to the principles and procedures of sentencing and the consequent risk of error in sentencing decisions. It's difficult to ensure a consistent approach to complex issues across such a large number of statutes.

The proposal that I'll be introducing to address this is to consolidate existing legislation into two acts and to provide opportunities to ensure that the community not only has easy access to all the sentencing legislation, but also has an improved understanding of the legislation generally. It will be a much more sensible and effective approach to take into consideration the proposals contained in this bill as part of the sentencing review, and this is what has occurred. This enables proper community consultation. It's vital that key stakeholders in the broader community properly consider any significant change to the criminal law. The approach that has been adopted and continues to be adopted by my government ensures that there is adequate opportunity for the community to express its views on the proposed reforms.

A number of Mr Smyth's proposals also fail to comprehensively address the issues raised and don't address other related issues. For example, paragraph (c) of proposed section 338(1) refers to enabling the provision of rehabilitation programs, and paragraph (d) refers to the establishment of a framework for the delivery of custodial and other corrections programs. The bill doesn't do either of those things, presumably leaving it to be done separately by other legislation. Some of the proposals in Mr Smyth's bill simply restate the existing law. For example, the explanatory statement for proposed section 366A of the Crimes Act acknowledges that it only acts as a reminder of the existing laws. Courts already have the power to direct that periods of supervision ordered by ACT Corrective Services under sections 402 or 403 of the Crimes Act be terminated if appropriate.

Proposed section 28E of the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Interim) Act 2001 creates a criminal offence of contravention of a non-association or place restriction order. Paragraph (a) of proposed section 28E (2) provides that an offender associating unintentionally with a person in contravention of a non-association order where the offender immediately ends the association is not guilty of an offence. This is already the position at law in accordance with the principles of criminal responsibility applicable to breaches of court orders-that is, no intent equals no breach. Paragraph (b) of proposed section 28E(2), which allows a defence of reasonable excuse for the contravention of a non-association or place restriction order, is also inconsistent with concepts of criminal law relating to these types of orders and has the potential of undermining the sentencing court by allowing these court orders to be breached if the offender has what is shown to be a reasonable excuse.

Contrary to what is stated in the explanatory statement, the bill would also create very significant financial consequences. The Sentence Administration Board would require additional support and the requirement under proposed section 97A of the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Interim) Act 2001 for every sentenced offender to be appointed by the Director of Corrective Services in writing a case manager would have a very significant resource impact. The current definition of "sentenced offender"in the dictionary to the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Interim) Act 2001 includes a person convicted or found guilty of an offence by a court, sentenced for an offence, and includes a parolee. This requirement for the appointment of a case manager would include people who are fined

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .