: DUAO - Vol 36(3)

DUAO - 2011 - Vol 36(3)

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Developments around the country

DownUnderAllOver is a round-up of legal news from both State and federal jurisdictions, and contains topical articles and short pieces from Alternative Law Journal committees around the country.

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Needles and syringes in gaol? Ask the prisoners

Stefanie Schweiger
ACT

At security checkpoint 2 of the Alexander Maconochie Centre (‘AMC’, the ACT gaol), I was asked by a prison officer if I support the implementation of a needle syringe program (‘NSP’) into the AMC, and if the answer was no, could I please add my signature to the officers’ petition.

The Public Health Association of Australia (‘PHAA’) was commissioned by the ACT government to engage in, investigate and report on models for the implementation of an NSP at the AMC. Its report, Balancing Access and Safety: Meeting the challenge of blood borne viruses in prison, was released on 19 July. In the report the PHAA recommends legislative changes to assist the implementation of a needle and syringe program in the AMC; establishing clear rules and procedures; designing an implementation plan to ensure optimal health and safety outcomes for prison staff, the broader community, and prisoners; and providing supportive measures such as an Aboriginal Health Worker for the NSP, secure syringe disposal bins, and monitoring developments in retractable syringe technology.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 207

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Bail Review (NSW) 2011

Lesley Townsley
New South Wales

In 2010 the Labor government in NSW released an exposure draft of the Bail Bill 2010 and the Review of the Bail Act 1978. This Bill included some significant changes to the current law, such as the removal of the s 32 criteria to be considered in bail applications. In its place a restrictive objects clause was drafted, which did not make any mention of the interests of an accused. In relation to this there were several submissions on the exposure draft expressing concern or criticism over these proposed changes.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 207

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Mandatory life sentences for cop killers

James Leaver
New South Wales

On 23 June, the Crimes Amendment (Murder of Police Officers) Act 2011 (NSW) commenced, inserting a new s 19B into the Crimes Act 1900. Section 19B(1) of that Act now provides that a court must impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the murder of a police officer if the murder was committed:

(a)    while the police officer was executing his or her duty, or
(b)    as a consequence of, or in retaliation for, actions undertaken by that or any other police officer in the execution of his or her duty,
    and if the person convicted of the murder:
(c)    knew or ought reasonably to have known that the person killed was a police officer, and
(d)    intended to kill the police officer or was engaged in criminal activity that risked serious harm to police officers.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 207

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High Court rules NSW ‘bikie’ legislation invalid

Greg Martin
New South Wales

In the matter of Wainohu v New South Wales [2011] HCA 24 (23 June 2011), the High Court of Australia held the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2009 (NSW) (‘the Act’) invalid by a majority of 6–1.

On 6 July 2010, the Acting Commissioner of Police for NSW applied to a judge of the Supreme Court of NSW for a declaration under Part 2 of the Act in respect of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club of NSW. The plaintiff, Derek James Wainohu, is a member of that club. If the Club was declared a criminal organisation, the plaintiff risked being made subject to a control order under Part 3 of the Act.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 208

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NSW turns off 38 speed cameras

Katherine Biber
New South Wales

In July 2011, the NSW Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat, released a performance audit into speed cameras. The report, Improving Road Safety: Speed Cameras, inquired into the Roads and Traffic Authority’s (‘RTA’) installation and use of cameras, and was a response to public concerns that the cameras were ‘revenue-raising’, rather than effective safety measures.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 208

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