Page 255 - Week 01 - Thursday, 17 February 2011

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managed compensation framework for premium payers and injured crash victims in Australia and provide inbound insurers with a predictable claims environment.

I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

Criminal Proceedings Legislation Amendment Bill 2011

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.33): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

In 1993 the Supreme Court Amendment Bill 1993 was passed by the Legislative Assembly to introduce section 68B to the Supreme Court Act 1933. The provisions created an opportunity for an accused person in a criminal proceeding to elect to be tried by judge alone prior to the court first allocating a date for trial in circumstances where the accused has received legal advice and the election was freely made.

At the time of the introduction of these provisions, it was expected that the right for an accused to waive his or her right to a trial by jury and elect for a judge-alone trial would occur in limited circumstances. The intention of the provision was that it would apply to matters involving complex and lengthy legal issues or explanations of matters where large amounts of pre-trial publicity could be said to adversely affect an accused’s right to receive a fair trial. Indeed, this had been the experience elsewhere. At the time of debate of the amendments, there was reference to the very low election rates in New South Wales for commercial matters, whereas at the time of the introduction of the ACT bill, only one election had been made in the period 1979 to 1987.

As early as July 2007 and as recently as this year, there have been a number of public comments made with respect to the government’s intention to examine judge-alone trials. I indicated in 2008 my concerns with respect to the perception that judge-alone trials were becoming the norm when the intention of the legislation was that they were to deal with exceptional cases.

The issue of judge-alone trials was raised in the Department of Justice and Community Safety’s May 2008 discussion paper on reforms to court jurisdiction, committal processes and the election for judge-alone trials. The issue of judge-alone trials was included in response to a number of high-profile judge-alone trials in the ACT which resulted in acquittals.

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