Page 859 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2006

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Whether or not GM moratoria are justified for commercial release is a separate question to whether or not research is or is not able to be conducted here in the ACT. Quite clearly, research continues to be able to be conducted here in the ACT.

It is worth making the point that the ACT legislation originally contained a sunset clause which would have caused the moratorium to expire two years after it came into effect. As a result of an amendment moved by a crossbench member at the time, the act now provides for the moratorium to expire on the date fixed by the minister in writing. There is no automatic expiration of the existing moratorium. That has been a source of some confusion in the public debate on this issue. There is no set date for expiration of the moratorium. The moratorium remains in effect until a decision is made by the minister to revoke it. There are no plans by me and no policy decision by the government to revoke the GM moratorium.

Policing—hit-and-run incident

MR PRATT: My question is to the Attorney-General. I understand that the young man who was driving the car that killed Clea Rose, and who put a couple of constables under unnecessarily severe pressure, had been released from Quamby, after serving a previous sentence of approximately six weeks prior to the incident. I also understand that he had been brought before the court over that period on more than one occasion, charged with committing fresh offences, and was granted bail. Attorney, I am concerned how this particular person with his particular record was granted bail in this instance. Can you advise the Assembly as to why he was granted bail?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the shadow minister for police for the question. I think it does need to be understood that issues around the granting of bail are matters very much within the responsibility of the courts. There is a very clear separation of powers between the parliament—and, of course, between a minister for police and the operations of the Magistrates Court. I am more than happy, Mr Pratt, to seek to confirm the details of the circumstances relating to the matters that you claim are alleged. I cannot verify them—I simply do not know—and it is not the sort of information that I would normally expect a minister to have at his fingertips or be involved in, acknowledging that these are essentially matters for the courts. But I think it is a live, real and reasonable question—I do not say that it is not—in circumstances of recidivism of any sort or in circumstances where a person has been arrested and charged, perhaps not convicted, and bail is granted.

I think it is reasonable to understand the circumstances and the basis on which bail is granted. But in that circumstance, of course, it would be in a case where a matter had not proceeded to trial and the person was awaiting trial. The sorts of issues that are taken into account in relation to bail are, of course, well known and, to some extent, documented, and there are certain considerations that courts or magistrates will take into account. Some of them, of course, may not be public. I am not aware particularly if the young person is a juvenile. There are aspects of the Children’s Court and matters for children’s courts that are not public and not in the public domain, and for very good reason.

I am more than happy to make inquiries, Mr Pratt, but I cannot promise that I can provide the particular specifics of the detail that you seek, but I do not disagree that these are issues that are reasonable to be explored. They are matters of significant public

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