New protections for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Released 13/08/2015

Police officers will be required to notify the Aboriginal Legal Service before asking an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person to consent to a forensic procedure under new laws introduced to the ACT Legislative Assembly by Attorney-General Simon Corbell.

Mr Corbell said that the introduction of the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 today would provide further protections for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the justice system.

“Amendments in the Bill will bring forensic procedure protections into line with similar laws relating to the questioning of suspects by police,” Mr Corbell said.
“These mechanisms will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are significantly overrepresented in our criminal justice system, to access legal advice and to safeguard their welfare.

The Bill also makes a number of amendments to clarify non intimate forensic procedures undertaken on people who are unable to given informed consent. Amendments include:

  • An expansion of the definition of ‘incapable’ to include people who are temporarily incapable of giving consent to non intimate forensic procedures; and
  • the creation of an additional class of people known as a ‘close associate’ (domestic partner, carer, close relative or close friend) who can give consent on behalf of an incapable person for non-intimate forensic procedures.

“The bill strengthens the operation of the justice system by making a number of other technical amendments to legislation in the ACT to address criminal justice issues that have arisen,” Mr Corbell said.

“These amendments strengthen the criminal justice system by ensuring that the ACT is a safe, inclusive and respectful community that allows all people to participate in community life, while providing additional protections for vulnerable people.”

- Statement ends -

Section: Simon Corbell, MLA | Media Releases

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