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House of Representatives

Law and Justice Legislation Amendment (Video Link Evidence and Other Measures) Bill 2005

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Attorney-General, the Honourable Philip Ruddock MP)

General Outline and Financial Impact

General Outline

The primary purpose of this Bill is to create new video link evidence provisions that apply to proceedings for terrorism and other related offences and proceeds of crime proceedings relating to those offences. These new provisions will facilitate the prosecution of terrorism offences by ensuring that, in the absence of compelling reasons to the contrary, important evidence from overseas witnesses that are unable to travel to Australia can be put before the court using video link technology.

The Bill also amends the Foreign Evidence Act 1994 to facilitate the use of foreign material as evidence in proceedings for terrorism and related offences and proceeds of crime proceedings relating to those offences. These changes complement the new video link evidence provisions. This will assist in circumstances where it is not possible for evidence to be given by video link.

Other features of the Bill are:

amendments to section 4AAA of the Crimes Act 1914 to make it clear that Judges of the Federal Court and Federal Magistrates, who exercise a conferred non-judicial function or power under a Commonwealth law relating to criminal matters, exercise the function or power in their personal capacity,
an amendment to section 23B(1) of the Crimes Act 1914 to expand the definition of 'tape recording,'
amendments to Part 1D of the Crimes Act 1914 to facilitate inter-jurisdictional matching of DNA profiles over the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database,
amendments to the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 to rectify an oversight in the Proceeds of Crime (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2002 ,
amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to enable the Director of Public Prosecutions to seek payments out of the Confiscated Assets Account to reimburse third parties who conduct future examinations,
amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to rectify the unintended consequence of a change to the Proceeds of Crime Regulations that inadvertently changed the status of some examiners and meant that some examinations may have been conducted without proper authority, and
an amendment to section 22 of the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 so that a warrant can be obtained to retrieve a tracking device installed under an authorisation.

Financial Impact

There is no financial impact flowing directly from the provisions of this Bill.

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