Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 1993



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 1993

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Parliamentary Record 21


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




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 - Thursday 21 October 1993 constructive way. I believe that I should read the letter because then honourable members will be able to understand why there was no reply: I note your letter of yesterday's date to the Leader of the Opposition in respect of the proposed amendment to the Criminal Code to deal with the question of the authorisation of arrests by other than police officers. I noted the article which appeared in the NT News on 28 September in which Mildren J is reported as concluding that the common law right of citizens to arrest people for felonies has been repealed by the Criminal Code. It was my intention to draw the issue to your attention so that it could be addressed. I am pleased that independently you have decided to address it. However, I am surprised that you seek urgency for this legislation or at least that, if you believe that urgency was necessary, once again you did not bother to inform the opposition until the bill was drafted. I have not had the opportunity to read the judgment in Hulley v Hill but would very much like to do so before this debate in the * Legislative Assembly. However, it would appear that your second-reading speech does not reveal a problem that requires urgent legislation of this type. I presume that store detectives are still detaining and charging shoplifters and likewise security guards are going about their business. I am not aware of store detectives being sued for false imprisonment in such circumstances to justify legislation in this manner. I note your second-reading speech makes no reference to the related question of civil liability for false imprisonment. Further, I am not satisfied that a power of arrest should be addressed by amendments to the Criminal Code. Any arrest is prima facie a trespass to the person of the arrested party. Specifically, any such arrest renders the arresting party liable to a suit for false imprisonment. In order to render the arresting party immune from such suit, it is necessary either to authorise such a risk by statute or to rely on the common law rule in respect of such arrest. Apparently Hulley v Hill raises questions about the abrogation of this common law rule in the Territory. The broad issue is not mentioned in your second-reading speech. The member for MacDonnell knows the issues. He has laid out in the letter that there is a problem. In conclusion, I remarked at recent sittings of the Legislative Assembly that your government seeks opposition support at the last minute in respect of amendments where urgency is sought on the original bill. This represents a new low. Yours sincerely, Neil Bell. There is nothing there that remotely begs an answer. It is a most unsatisfactory letter from the opposition spokesman on law when it is appreciated that I wrote a letter to him with normal courtesy and the intention of sending to him all the information he would need to enable his legal people to assess it as quickly as possible and try to make some decisions regarding the matter. Mr Ede: How long ago did you send the letter? 10 208

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