Crime Policy 1989

CRIME

Committals (CM. 26.4.89)
That committal proceedings are an essential part of the administration of our criminal
justice system.

DNA Testing (CM. 27.9.89)
That the CCL recommends that:

  • Section 353A (2) of the Crimes Act (NSW) should be amended so that all non-consensual medical examinations and body cavity searches are conducted in a way that complies with the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission in its report on Criminal Investigation (1975: paras 130-133) and Privacy (1983: paras 172, 1107-1112);
  • Section 353A(2) authorises non-consensual blood tests on persons in custody accused of (any crime or offence). The test is authorised by a police officer of or above the rank of sergeant;
  • The Council proposes that all non-consensual medical tests, including tests done on persons in custody, in relation to gathering evidence for an offence, be conducted as follows: Existing powers of search connected with arrest and search warrants do not authorise officers to undertake non-consensual medical examinations;
  • s.353A (2) Crimes Act should be repealed;
  • Judicial authorisation must be obtained before any non-consensual medical test or body cavity examination; Authorisation may be made by a Magistrate or Judge, but not by a Justice of the Peace;
  • Authorisation may only be granted where there is reasonable cause to suspect that evidence of the commission of an offence, or the likely commission of an offence, will be obtained by that examination or test;
  • Authorisation for non-consensual tests or examinations may only be granted in cases where there is a 'serious offence' suspected. 'Serious offence'; is defined as an offence carrying a penalty of seven or more years imprisonment;
  • (This would cover sexual assaults, except for indecent assault). The Australian Law Reform Commission notes that body searches are more intrusive that telephone tapping, and so should have at least the same procedural requirements as telephone tapping (1983: bpara 1112);
  • There should be appropriate privacy guidelines relating to the storage and release of information collected during body tests, including DNA tests. The same privacy projections as set out in the Commonwealth Privacy Act would be appropriate, especially as any DNA data bank is likely to have national input and usage;
  • That it is the firm view of this Council that the safeguards should be no less in the case of persons under constraint and in custody.