Page 2208 - Week 06 - Monday, 11 May 2009

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Courts—prosecution errors
(Question No 133)

Mrs Dunne asked the Minister for Corrections, upon notice, on 24 March 2009:

(1) What was the nature of the administrative error or blunder, as reported in the article titled Error throws criminal cases into turmoil, which was published in The Canberra Times on 18 February 2009.

(2) How many criminal prosecutions were affected by the error.

(3) What is the nature of those prosecutions.

(4) Will any of those prosecutions be annulled as a result of the error; if so, what is the nature of the prosecutions to be annulled.

(5) What advice has the Minister sought from the Department of Corrective Services in relation to the matter.

(6) What advice has the department provided to the Minister.

(7) What actions has the Minister and the department taken to ensure the error is not repeated in future.

Mr Hargreaves: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) Between June 2006 and January 2009, officers from ACT Corrective Services carried out their functions, concerning the supervision of offenders in good faith, unaware that they did not have the correct delegation and appointment as required by new legislation, the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 and the Corrections Management Act 2007.

(2) The Attorney-General advises that 29 matters were withdrawn by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(3) I am advised by the Attorney-General that this issue affects a small number of offenders who:

a) were convicted by the ACT Courts for a criminal offence during this period;

b) were alleged to not have complied with the conditions of their order; and

The issue does not affect the Court's original sentence.

(4) The Attorney-General has advised that no original order has been cancelled by the ACT Courts as this issue only concerns non-compliance by sentenced offenders.

(5) (6) Ministers requested and received a full briefing of the situation.

(7) Actions covered:

a) A comprehensive audit of all delegations and appointments was undertaken.

b) On 24 November 2008 and 6 January 2009, the CEO of JaCS appointed and delegated officers from ACT Corrective Services in line with the appropriate legislation.

c) On 20 February 2009 the CEO of JaCS provided retrospective delegations for staff from ACT Corrective Services in relation to the breach actions which occurred between 2 June 2006 and 6 January 2009.

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