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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 February 2015) . . Page.. 373 ..

The current drafting of the forensic procedures act risks forensic samples not being obtained in time simply because there is a lack of male medical practitioners qualified to carry out forensic procedures. The amendment ensures that evidence is collected in a timely and appropriate manner to ensure that the most reliable evidence is provided in sexual assault cases and other serious matters. A number of safeguards have been included to ensure that any limits on human rights are proportionate and justified. Clinical Forensic Medical Services also have an obligation to act consistently with human rights under section 40B of the Human Rights Act.

Amendments will also allow the court to order the Director-General of the Community Services Directorate to bring a young detainee before the court for a civil proceeding and return them afterwards. The power will only exist if the young detainee consents to being brought before the court, as the amendment does not compel the young person to be brought before the court.

Examples of the way this amendment may be used include if a domestic violence protection order or forensic procedure order is sought against the detainee, or where the detainee is a witness who is the subject of a subpoena.

Nothing in this amendment will negate existing safeguards young people have access to when they attend civil proceedings. Part 7A of the Court Procedures Act 2004 provides a range of protections and support for young people who are involved in court proceedings, including ensuring that they are given enough information, that they understand the proceedings and that the court can only hear a proceeding in relation to a young person who is represented by a lawyer.

These amendments are similar to existing provisions for adults and allow a mechanism to transport young detainees to and from custody when they need to attend a civil proceeding.

In addition to the amendments I have already mentioned, the bill makes a number of minor amendments to criminal legislation to ensure efficiency and consistency within the criminal justice system.I am proud to be part of a government that has brought forward these important reforms. As the Attorney-General noted on its introduction, this bill makes tangible steps in promoting many of the government’s policies, and I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.32): This bill makes several amendments to crimes legislation and I would like to comment on some of the main changes in the legislation. Firstly, I am supportive of the amendments to the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act which will ensure that an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who is a suspect, serious offender or volunteer under the act will be provided with an interview friend. Interview friends typically provide support to Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander people who are in custody for a police interview. The aim is to ensure that they are treated fairly, respectfully and legally during the interviews and to provide support and assist with cultural issues. This is a legal requirement that was first implemented in response to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

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