Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 There was a concern that proposed paragraph (ea) in the bill might inadvertently catch other persons, such as administrative staff of the court, who were discharging a responsibility in relation to the conduct of a coroners inquest or preliminary hearing - for example, treatment of a witness by court staff. The amendment makes it clear that the exempted action is the action of a coroner, magistrate or justice only, as the case may be. Amendment agreed to. M r PERRON: Mr Chairman, 1 move amendment 28.2. This amendment is to make it quite clear that the activities of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which are to be excluded from the Ombudsmans jurisdiction, are those which constitute his powers and functions under the Director o f Public Prosecutions Act. For example, if the Director of Public Prosecutions acted in connection with a prosecution but outside his statutory powers, this amendment means that the matter could be investigated by the Ombudsman. Likewise, matters relating to the administrative operations of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, such as the procurement of goods and services, are intended to remain within the Ombudsmans jurisdiction. Note that complaints about inordinate delays may still be investigated by the Ombudsman. I believe that is very important. Mr Chairman, while I am on my feet, I will read one line from the Director Public Prosecutions Act to members because the member for MacDonnell was a little doubtful that the Attorney-General has all these powers, notwithstanding that section 21(3) of that act states: This act does not derogate from a function of the Attorney-General. Thus, as I understand it, the Attorney-General has all his powers in regard to prosecutions and so on, notwithstanding... M r Bell: Read section 28(2) M r PERRON: I read section 28(2). You have misunderstood me. The powers of the Attorney-General to direct the DPP are limited, I understand, to directions of a policy nature. He cannot direct him in a specific case. The Attorney-General cannot say to the DPP that he will not prosecute a particular case. The DPP has the right to decide that for himself. If the DPP says that he will not prosecute a case, the Attorney-General can say that he will prosecute it, but he cannot direct the DPP in that respect. However all his powers to prosecute or, presumably, to drop prosecutions remain. M r BELL: It is a matter of construction as to the terms of the Director o f Prosecutions Act. I am not convinced that you are right but, even if you are right, it is an argument in my favour because the more the powers of the Attorney-General and the powers of the DPP are assimilated, the more the powers of the DPP are able to be scrutinised by the parliament. Therefore, anything that the parliament is able to scrutinise, any administrative action of a department or authority in terms of the Ombudsman's Act, the Ombudsman can scrutinise as well. Thus, we can demand of the Attorney-General reasons for prosecuting or not prosecuting, as we will in respect of the Breedon case, and it should be possible for the Ombudsman to require those reasons. I believe it is important to clarify what the Ombudsman actually does. 3593