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New Plan For Criminal Infringement Notices In The Act

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May 15, 2016

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A new proposal as part of an ACT Discussion paper may see Police given the power to issue Criminal Infringement Notices (CIN) for level two drink driving offences. You can be charged with a level two PCA, commonly known as drink driving, if you are the driver of a vehicle and your blood alcohol concentration is between 0.05 and 0.079. The proposal outlines if you are a first offender charged with this offence, you may be given a CIN that includes a fine, demerit points, and a default disqualification period. The […]


Nightclub Violence

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May 2, 2016

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Canberra is taking a very different course to Sydney in the nationwide fight against early-morning, alcohol-fuelled violence around inner-city nightclubs. While both the NSW and ACT governments are shaking up licensing laws, the ACT has steadfastly refused to copy NSW in introducing mandatory minimum sentences for one-punch assaults that lead to death. ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said, “We know that increasing penalties does not prevent violence. People don't think about the penalty they're going to get when they're drunk and punch somebody." Mr Corbell has instead unveiled a revamp of liquor […]


Policy on Police Pursuits

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April 12, 2016

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Engaging in a police pursuit, also known as offence under "Skye's Law" named after a young girl killed in a police pursuit, is an extremely serious offence where a term of imprisonment is realistic even if you have no prior criminal record and are otherwise a person of good character. The seriousness with which Courts regards such offences is a product of the clear danger posed to innocent members of the community. Because of the danger, there are carefully considered and detailed policies in place to guide Police Officers in deciding […]


ACT Infringement Notice changes

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April 11, 2016

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You might be familiar with the infringement-notice system for certain traffic matters. Where years ago you had to go to court for just about everything, including minor speeding matters for instance having smooth tyres or even a vehicle that created “undue noise”, now we have a relatively comprehensive system of traffic-infringement notices, issued on the spot by police. These allow, simply by the payment of the relevant fine, for the disposal of the matter. No longer do so many minor matters, most often speeding tickets, clog the courts – and force […]


Pill Testing

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March 24, 2016

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Emotions have run high about the issue of drugs in our community for a long time – with deeply held views often in conflict. The Howard Government held to a “zero-tolerance”, “tough-on-drugs” policy while other administrations in the states and territories instituted a “harm-minimisation” approach, including safe heroin-injecting rooms and the birth of drug courts, diverting offenders into rehabilitation rather than the harsher penalties provided under criminal law. The new battleground is the plethora of music festivals and what should be done about the multitude of drugs being found in searches […]


Letter to Editor, Canberra Times

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July 17, 2015

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There is a middle ground in the current debate around sentencing drivers with drugs in their system – and it is on our doorstep. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Current ACT law does not adequately provide for the cases of people who still have drugs in their bodies but are not affected by them at the time of driving. Drink-driving and drug-driving are different. The level of alcohol in drivers is measurable, and studies have demonstrated the effect of those levels on driving. Different levels of alcohol attract […]


Domestic Violence and Electronic Tagging

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June 23, 2015

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With the naming of Rosie Batty as Australian of the Year, domestic violence offences have been brought to the forefront of government agenda and media scrutiny. These type of offences have become increasingly visible in the public eye, moving away from the ‘silent’ crime it once was. In recent weeks, there has been a call, led by Ms Batty, for the government and judiciary to consider using electronic tagging devices to monitor perpetrators of domestic violence. At a cursory glance, it sounds like a good idea and it has been praised […]


Defence Disclosure in ACT

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May 22, 2015

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The ACT Government has proposed a revamp of court procedures that have the potential to impact heavily upon a citizen’s right to a fair trial. The proposals require an accused person to: Tell the Prosecution what legal and factual issues the accused person has with the Prosecution’s expert evidence. Give the Prosecution advance notice of the expert reports that the accused person may seek to use at trial. While noting that such a change might be justified on the basis of avoiding delay and noting also it would be easy to […]


Regulated drug availability in NSW

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January 15, 2015

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Leading legal figures have put forward a radical proposal to curb the influence of black-market drug operations in Sydney and abroad. The plan, devised by the New South Wales Bar Association's criminal law committee, is designed to provide a regulated system where drugs are legally available. It is important to acknowledge that the committee consists of highly-respected legal figures that have prosecuted and defended criminal matters. It stands to reason that their opinion is based on years of handling drug-related matters in New South Wales courts. The shock suggestion comes in […]


Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Courts

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January 5, 2015

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Domestic violence is a problem that is not easy to solve. Despite concerted efforts from police, the government, judges and magistrates to name just a few, the problem doesn’t appear to be getting better. Far too frequently, it ends in tragedy. We are constantly greeted by shocking headlines in newspapers about cases where domestic violence results in serious injuries or even death. Even more shockingly, it is often claimed that better intervention by authorities may have saved the victim’s life. That may be true. Police resources are stretched, and officers have […]

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