Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

Other title

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





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 Mr Stone: The Attorney-General cannot stop the DPP from bringing a prosecution. M r EDE: No, I did not say that. You are not listening. I agree with that. However, the government appears to be saying that the Attorney-General can stop a case from proceeding, whilst it is saying also that the Attorney-General cannot force the DPP into commencing an action. How can these 2 requirements coexist? One is the DPP determining that a prosecution will proceed, and the government is saying that the Attorney-General cannot stop him, yet it is saying also that the Attorney-General has the power to start or stop cases. M r Perron: Let me explain. M r EDE: That is what you said earlier. M r PERRON: I am saying that the Attorney-General has powers in his own right, notwithstanding the powers of the Director of Public Prosecutions. M r Ede: Parallel. M r PERRON: Parallel. While the Director of Public Prosecutions may commence an action to prosecute and the Attorney-General cannot stop him, if the Director of Public Prosecutions decides not to prosecute in a matter, perhaps because he believes it would be a waste of time, the Attorney-General has the power to commence a prosecution in that matter. That provides a very real protection in the system. It means that, if someone believes that the DPP has acted with favouritism or whatever in not launching a prosecution, or if some purpose would be served in that the community wants to see the case prosecuted because of its nature, even though the DPP may say a prosecution would have a low chance of success and that he will not waste resources, the Attorney-General is able to determine that, because of the nature of this case or the community interest, he will prosecute it even if it has a very low chance of success. Thus, the Attorney-General is able to do that. That is what we are saying. Imagine the situation if the Ombudsman could become involved and make judgments about the DPPs rights to prosecute? I believe what every lawyer in town would do would be to send the person to be prosecuted to the Ombudsman as soon as the DPP indicated that he would prosecute - indeed even before he had made the decision - to get the Ombudsman on his back immediately. It would become standard practice simply to confuse the situation. By involving the DPP and the Ombudsman in argument over it, the case would be delayed by weeks or months. They would involve the Ombudsman by laying a formal complaint with him. The lawyer would even draft the complaint to ensure that the Ombudsman could not simply reject it. Thus, the Ombudsman would have to investigate the complaint and write to the DPP. There would be public servants running back and forth. I believe such an arrangement has the potential to be used quite mischievously and wastefully. M r BELL: That is the argument you would use for any investigation by the Ombudsman. As you should be well aware, the Ombudsman has a power to reject complaints that are frivolous and vexatious. M r Perron: Yes, he does. 3595

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain the names, voices and images of people who have died, as well as other culturally sensitive content. Please be aware that some collection items may use outdated phrases or words which reflect the attitude of the creator at the time, and are now considered offensive.

We use temporary cookies on this site to provide functionality.
By continuing to use this site without changing your settings, you consent to our use of cookies.