Page 3524 - Week 09 - Thursday, 21 August 2008

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token, we do need to ensure fairness. We need to ensure that a strong case actually does get up. People who deserve to be convicted should be convicted. If there is any problem in the system in terms of evidence not being admissible because of some quirk, that needs to be fixed.

Mr Archer has a point there. I hope he has not, but if he does let us make sure we fix that up. I would have to agree with the attorney that unfortunately Dr Foskey’s amendment here, even though it is only a note—it is still quite persuasive—would indeed be like a red rag to a bull. It would tend to defeat the purpose of the exercise. You would find that 99.9 per cent of the time a court would in fact direct that the complainant actually has to come back and give evidence at the committal, which does go against the whole scheme.

I think this is fundamentally a good scheme. Let us see how it goes. Let us do the necessary amendments, if we have to, to make it better. Let us tweak any problems with it. Unfortunately on this occasion, Dr Foskey, I entirely agree with the attorney and we will also be opposing the amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (8.39): I seek leave to move amendments Nos 4 to 6 circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: I move amendments Nos 4 to 6 circulated in my name together [see schedule 3 at page 3549].

Government amendment 4 inserts new section 38AA into division 4.2 of the act. This new section defines relevant person for division 4.2 to clarify which relationships between a witness and an accused are recognised for the purpose of automatic protection under the special measures in the bill.

New section 38AA defines “relative” and provides a cross-reference to the Domestic Relationships Act 1994 for a definition of domestic relationship to aid the definition of relevant person.

In relation to my amendment No 5, new section 38B permits the court to arrange the courtroom to provide that complainants and similar act witnesses in sexual or violent offence proceedings are not required to view the accused or anyone else the court orders to appear while they are giving evidence in the proceeding.

Government amendment 5 replaces section 38C (1) to amend the circumstances in which the court can order the use of this protection dependent on whether the crime falls into the category of a serious violent offence or a less serious violent offence.

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