Page 5279 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

ACT community is rightly concerned about developments among criminal gangs in the ACT. We are working closely with ACT Policing to make sure it has the resources and tools to effectively deal with the risks presented to community safety by this behaviour.

The government has a number of concerns about the practical implications of this bill. This bill does not adequately enable ACT Policing to effectively combat the activities of organised criminal groups in the ACT. The ACT needs law reform proposals which actually address serious and organised crime. We need to focus on the specific tools and resources ACT Policing requires to do its job. These approaches should be targeted at and criminalise activities, not associations. That is what this bill purports to do.

The bill allows the Supreme Court to make an interim control order relating to a member of a declared criminal organisation. An interim control order restricts the association of two or more people. It remains in force until whichever of the following happens first: the end of 72 hours after it takes effect, a final control order is made, or the application for a final control order is withdrawn or dismissed.

An interim order must be made in the absence of the person subject to the order. However, the order takes effect when it is served on that person. In practice, the person will not know about an application against them until the court has already made the order and it is in force. An interim order must be in place for the court to make a final control order against a person. A final control order restricts a person from association with another controlled member of a criminal organisation for a period of up to three years. A court hearing to decide whether to grant a final order must occur with 72 hours of the interim order being served on the person.

Practically, it will be difficult for the Supreme Court to list a matter to be heard within 72 hours of the person subject to the interim order being served. It will also be challenging for ACT Policing to prepare for a hearing for a final order in this very short time. As the person who is subject to the interim order is not aware of that order until it takes effect, in practice a person will have less than 72 hours to seek legal advice and prepare for the hearing of the final order. This is a substantial flaw of the bill. The bill creates a significant imposition on a person’s ability to seek adequate legal advice and reduces the opportunity for natural justice.

The bill also includes a range of provisions relating to a criminal intelligence monitor. The criminal intelligence monitor is given various responsibilities by the bill, including to cross-examine a witness at a hearing to decide whether information is criminal intelligence information; to present questions to the Chief Police Officer to answer in a criminal intelligence application hearing; to represent the interests of each respondent in a hearing to decide a criminal intelligence application; and to make submissions to the court about the appropriateness and validity of a criminal intelligence application. Without a criminal intelligence monitor, part 5 of the bill is unworkable. However, the bill does not compel the executive to appoint a criminal intelligence monitor. It provides guidance to the executive on what may be included in any regulations made relating to part 5 of the bill. But if a criminal intelligence

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video