Crime Policy 1991

CRIME

Criminal Records Bill 1991 (NSW) (CM. 27.3.91)

That:

  • CCL calls for the extension of the scheme to cover convictions involving sentences of up to 30 months imprisonment, as applied in Britain, Commonwealth of Australia and Queensland legislation.
  • CCL calls for the introduction of stepped expungement periods so that persons with lesser sentences may have the benefit of expungement before 10 years (eg. British scheme of 5, 7 and 10 years); and Legislation ensuring the expungement of arrest records for persons who are not charged be introduced.

Investigation of criminal offences - right to interpreter (CM. 24.07.91)

While the right to an interpreter (s.23N) is the only 'right'; not qualified by police powers to defer granting such rights (s.23L), the threshold test is too high. At present, a person only has a right to an interpreter when: An investigating official believes that a person under arrest ... is unable because of inadequate knowledge of the English language ... to communicate orally with reasonable fluency in that language. The notion of 'reasonableness'; should be removed and the right to an interpreter granted in all cases where the suspect is not completely fluent in English.

Cautioning Of Person Under Arrest (CM. 24.7.91)

All persons under arrest should be given notice of their rights in writing. For people not fluent in the English language, s23F of the Crimes Act should be amended so that:

  • The qualifying word 'reasonable'; should be removed before a transaction is given; and
  • The right to both a written notice of rights in their native language and an oral
    translation, should be placed in the legislation for non-English speakers.

Electronic Recording of Police Interviews with Suspects (CM. 30.1.91)

That the NSW Government introduce legislation setting out the rules for taping interviews in NSW, including the rights of persons being questioned to have access to legal advisers, friends, interpreters and medical treatment and that full consultation with interest groups take place prior to introduction.

Powers of Entry onto Property (CM. 28.8.91)

The Council calls upon the AG to refer to the NSW Law Reform Commission the issue of powers of non-police government officials to enter private property in order to consolidate the laws along the lines of the search warrant powers consolidation powers in the Search Warrants Act.

Regulatory Offences (CM. 24.7.91)

The CCL supports the adoption of a regulatory offences scheme in lieu of some criminal law offences which are now dealt with in the criminal courts. In such a scheme the alleged offender would have the alternative of paying a fine or going to court to challenge the grounds for the issue of the infringement notice, with civil methods only used to recover the money (ie. gaol not an option).

Such a scheme could apply, for example to distilling offences under the Distillation Act ss. 10, 12, 34, 73a, 74, 76 which carry penalties of up to $5,000. Many migrants fall foul of these prohibitions on distilling when they make their traditional spirits at home. Person charged under such provisions are dealt with in the commonwealth Local Court and can go on to appeal to the District Court.