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Committee of Privileges Report on Referral Regarding a Statement by the Member for Blain



Committee of Privileges Report on Referral Regarding a Statement by the Member for Blain

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Tabled Paper 468


Tabled Papers for 14th Assembly 2020 -; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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2 Following the appointment of Commissioner Riches, the ICAC determined that the investigation would be discontinued. On 13 September 2021, having been advised of the discontinuation of the ICAC investigation, the Committee considered the next steps for its investigation. The Committee agreed to the elements required to be proved to make out the offence of contempt by misleading the Assembly. Having considered the allegations made and the elements of the offence, the Committee determined that the allegations were not capable of amounting to an offence against the Assembly, and even if one took a different view of whether there was a prima facie case, the possibility of proving all three elements was too remote to warrant further investigation. The Committee therefore agreed to discontinue its inquiry and report to the Assembly. Provisions relating to contempt proceedings Section 25 of the Legislative Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act 1992 (LAPPA) enables the Assembly to impose a penalty of imprisonment or fine for an offence against the Assembly determined by the Assembly to have been committee by the person. The LAPPA does not define what may be an offence against the Assembly but sets an essential element for all offences: 5 Essential element of offences Conduct (including the use of words) does not constitute an offence against the Assembly unless it amounts, or is intended or likely to amount, to an improper interference with the free exercise by the Assembly or a committee, of its authority or functions, or with the free performance by a member of the member's duties as a member. May states: Generally speaking, any act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in the performance of its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any Member or officer of such House in the discharge of his duty, or which has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce such results may be treated as a contempt even though there is no precedent of the offence. It is therefore impossible to list every act which might be considered to amount to a contempt, the power to punish for such an offence being of its nature discretionary.1 Standing Order 232 requires the Committee of Privileges to observe certain procedures when considering an allegation of contempt, including also following the procedures set out in Standing Order 210. Having considered the requirements of Standing Orders, the Committee considered the following steps for the conduct of its inquiry: 1. Identify the elements that need to be proved for the alleged contempt to be made out. 2. Identify the extent to which the allegation comprises such an offence and the evidence for the allegation. 3. Notify the person alleged to have committed the contempt of the particulars of the alleged offence (SO 232(1)), provide copies of Standing Orders 210 (SO 210(3)) and 232 (SO 232(12)) and seek submissions from the person (SO 232((2)(a)). 4. Consider the submissions and determine what witnesses and other evidence is to be called. 1 Quoted in HoR Practice, p 733