Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 1993



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 1993

Other title

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





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 - Thursday 21 October 1993_ Mr Manzie: Mr Deputy Speaker, he has been going on and on and he has not said anything. Mr BELL: Mr Deputy Speaker, different situations apply in the different states. Earlier this evening, the Attorney-General made some silly, broad-brush statements that did him no credit whatsoever. He said that he wanted the same rights for Territorians that other Australians enjoy. I have just indicated to the Attorney-General that ... Mr Manzie: That you don't want it. That is fine. You have told everyone. Mr BELL: Will you shut up? By referring to the nature of those rights of arrest in the different jurisdictions, I have just pointed out to the Attorney-General that they vary considerably from state to state. I trust the Attorney-General will be able to explain that when he rises to his feet. The policy issue behind the amendment that stands in my name has been referred to already in part by my colleague. Proposed new section 441 authorises an arrest without warrant. Typically, we are talking about the rescuer situation and this is where we are ad idem. The offence is being committed. It is the Fiona Green type of situation. We want people to feel that the law will protect them if they become involved in that situation. That is really the central issue. We do not believe that a citizen's power of arrest should be confused with a citizen's power of investigation. If John Citizen sees an offence being committed and grabs the perpetrator, he should not be under any civil or criminal penalty when he does so. We have no problem with that, particularly in the Fiona Green type of situation. What about the situation where John Citizen encounters a tall, thin man with lank, shoulder-length black hair, a foul body odour, yellow teeth and a deathly pallor and believes it is the person who ... Mr Ortmann: You have been looking in the mirror again. Mr BELL: ... attacked Fiona Green, and he grabs that person? I have real doubts about anybody other than a trained police officer being able to do that. Mr Ede: I think that they could have arrested Max. Mr BELL: I will consider that in a moment, but I want to explain precisely to the Attorney-General the reasons why we are introducing our amendment. We want citizens to have a power of arrest when they are in a situation that demands immediate action. We do not believe that citizens ought to be encouraged to do their own investigation and follow it up with an arrest. If a citizen has reasonable grounds for believing that they have found Fiona Green's assailant, they should ensure that the person is followed and get in touch with police officers. Over the last 100 years or so, police forces have developed a vast array of skills and equipment. It is the police who are trained and able to carry out arrests of that kind in those situations. For that reason, we propose our amendment. When we learnt that the government wanted to legislate in this way, we prepared our own bill to ensure that the Attorney-General cannot get away with saying that we are not interested in giving citizens the power of arrest. It is the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Bill 10 216

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.