Page 2527 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 1 July 2008
remandees. In terms of these amendments another relevant clause to refer to is clause 94 (f), which reads:
(f) a child or young person may only be detained in custody for an offence (whether on arrest, on remand—
which is what we are talking about here—
or under sentence) as a last resort and for the minimum time necessary;
One of the big problems expressed to me, especially by police and, indeed, the DPP and other people involved in the court system, is that until now, and over the last few years, juvenile remandees have been treated quite differently from adult remandees, and that section 9D of the Bail Act has not been applied, especially by the Supreme Court. For members’ edification, section 9D relates to where a person has been charged or is put before the court for repeat offences, having already been bailed for similar offences—serious offences as defined in section 9D—and is back before the court for additional offences committed while they are on bail or while they are on some type of remand.
There is an automatic presumption that, unless there are exceptional circumstances, a person in that category should be remanded in custody. The intent of the Bail Act is that it is to apply not only to adults but to juveniles. Certainly, it has been brought to my attention on occasions that the court—especially the Supreme Court—has not been applying section 9D but has been applying section 68 of the previous act, which will be repealed by this provision.
In the briefings we were given, it was clearly the intention of this new act to bring this legislation into line with previous legislation, certainly in relation to things like sentencing, unless it is specifically detailed otherwise, and certainly in relation to things like remand, so that measures like the Bail Act will apply to young persons as well. Obviously, they will be detained in different circumstances, in different types of accommodation, and different types of provisions will apply to them. But our concern is that a section such as 94 (f) may well be used by a young remandee to get around the very clear provisions of the Bail Act.
This is something that has occurred in the past. We were certainly assured that the idea was to encompass all relevant sentencing and other legislation in applying the same law to everyone, with the obvious proviso that, when young people are detained, they are detained in different circumstances and in a different way from adults. Of course, that is a given.
I would certainly hate to see something like 94 (f) used when it comes to young remandees who breach section 9D of the Bail Act, or any other part of that act, so that they are treated differently from adult remandees—except, of course, that they would be remanded at the youth centre rather than at what will be the prison, which is obvious and is a given.
I want to make that point quite clear. I was certainly told in the briefings that the law would be the same for all. A loophole like that, where young people can be treated