Page 448 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 8 March 2011

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The fifth amendment to the Criminal Code will include an alternative verdict provision for the indictable drug trafficking offence at section 603. The amendment will allow the Supreme Court to consider the alternative possession offences in the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989 and the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008 in circumstances where a defendant has been found not guilty of the section 203 code offence. By allowing the Supreme Court to consider these alternative verdicts at the time of trial, it will provide for a more expedient outcome for the defendant and for our criminal justice system.

The sixth amendment is to section 324 of the Criminal Code. This amendment, which will redefine the “stolen property” definition as it applies to the section, is necessary to ensure that the section captures the criminal behaviour that it was intended to capture by the Assembly at the time of enactment. Section 324 creates the offence of unlawful possession of stolen property. However, as the section presently stands, it does not capture people who are subsequent receivers of property, apart from the first receiver and the person who appropriated the property. This result is contrary to the intent of the Assembly. The offence was intended to capture a person who has property, or who gives possession of that property to a person not lawfully entitled to it when the property is reasonably suspected of being stolen property or property otherwise unlawfully obtained. This amendment will give effect to that intention.

The final consequential amendment is to the Prostitution Act 1992. The amendment will result in the reintroduced bestiality offence being included as a disqualifying offence to prevent a person who is convicted of a bestiality offence from running a commercial brothel or escort agency.

While these amendments contained in the bill are detailed and technical, they are important. They enshrine the values which our community expects us to protect, maintain and develop. Finally, as these amendments were raised with me by key criminal justice stakeholders and community members, I would like to offer my thanks and those of the government to all those people for their ongoing contribution to the ACT’s criminal justice system. The government encourages and attributes great value to the ongoing dialogue it has between ourselves, the criminal justice stakeholders and the broader community. I thank the members for their comments and support for the bill and commend it to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Environment Protection Amendment Bill 2010

Debate resumed from 28 October 2010, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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