Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 Debate adjourned. TABLED PAPER Interim Report of the Review Committee on Police Investigations and Rights of Persons Suspected or Accused of Crime Mr MANZIE (Attorney-General): Mr Speaker, I table the first Interim Report of the Review Committee on Police Investigations and Rights of Person s Suspected or Accused of Cri me.. Honourab 1 e members woul d reca 11 that, in 1988, this Assembly passed amendments to the Police Administration Act and the Bail Act following the decision of the High Court in Williams v The Queen. These amendments allow the police, following arrest, to detain a person for a reasonable period in order that the person may be questioned or investigations carried out. At the time the amendments were debated in the Legislative Assembly, a number of concerns were expressed within the community and this Assembly in respect of the application of the new law. Accordingly, the then Chief Minister announced the establis,hment of the Police Powers Review Committee which would review the legislation and the wider issue of police powers and the rights of suspects. The review committee was to consist of nominees of the Law Society, the Police Commissioner and the Attorney-General, as well as an independent person. At the time of the announcement of the committee, the. then Chief Minister indicated his intention that the committee would report to. him at the expiration of 2 years from the commencement of the 1 egi slat ion. He further indicated that. the review commi ttee would have an ability to make interim reports and that these reports would be tabled in the Legislative Assembly. Since the establishment of the committee, its membership, including the position of chairman, has changed from time to time. In September 1989, the Solicitor-General replaced Mr Ian Barker QC as chairman of the committee. It w,s envisaged that this change would make .it easier for meetings of the committee to be held and, indeed, 4 meetings have since been held at which a large number of issues have been resolved. In terms of the provision. of a comprehensive ~eport on the 1988 amendments, the commit tee took the vi ew, as refl ected in the i nteri m report which I have tabled today, that a comprehensive report could not be produced until 1991. The reasqns for thij, which the government accepts, are contained at page 3 of the interim. report which states: A peri od of 2 years has not provi ded a suffi c i ent databank for a considered analysis of the ,use of the investigatory detention power. In particular, it is worthy tq note that only now criminal matters which are involved in this are coming before the Supreme Court for trial. The committee needs to consider any comments on adjudications by the Supreme Court upon the use of the power in order to prepare a comprehensive report to government. The interim report provides information on the operation of the investigatory detention power to date, the history of the committee and its activities, including its consideration of the legislative initiatives such as listening devices, police powers associated with drug legislation, forfeiture of proceeds provisions and the new domestic violence laws in the Northern Territory. 8756
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