Page 1245 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2015

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This work also goes hand in hand with the exciting developments of the University of Canberra public hospital, new scope for development on the UC campus, and residential growth in the new suburb of Lawson. It builds on major investments already made in the area, such as the arts centre and the medical centre. Through the creation of the new portfolio, this government have yet again put more impetus behind the urban renewal agenda for Canberra. The record already speaks for itself, and the future vision is one we are proud of and one we are proud to share with our community.

Discussion concluded.

Courts Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

Debate resumed from 19 February, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.13): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill, but this decision was only reached after very careful consideration and wide consultation. I thank everybody who assisted with that process. Many aspects of this bill are non-controversial or technical in their nature, but there are some provisions with far-reaching ramifications and important philosophical and legal points to be addressed. Noted in the justice and community safety committee’s scrutiny report are those concerning coronial investigation scene orders and orders binding trial judges. We have received the minister’s response to those comments and accept the response.

The more problematic clause relates to an important fundamental principle of justice—those provisions associated with pre-trial disclosures. The bill inserts new division 8.3 into the Court Procedures Act to mandate the pre-trial disclosure of expert evidence. The scrutiny report notes:

The question whether a defendant should be required to make any kind of pre-trial disclosure of her or his case-theory, or of evidence to be adduced, is far more complex and has provoked strong disagreement between and among judges and practitioners.

The scrutiny report outlines many of the salient points in the argument and offers some valuable insights. From a public defender’s perspective, Mr John Nicholson QC is quoted as saying in 2000 when these changes were being made in New South Wales:

… there has been a burden upon the prosecution when alleging criminal conduct against a person before a court, to prove its allegation without assistance from the person accused. This concept required the prosecution to advance its case even if ignorant of any answer the accused person might seek to make at trial …

This statement reflects on the position stated in 1972 by Justice Brennan:

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