Military Justice Legislation Amendment Bill – Second Reading – Video 5

Military Justice Legislation Amendment Bill – Second Reading – Video 5

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to seeing this bill continuous passage through the house Mannat speaker I called dr. Duncan weep well thank you madam Speaker and I must say it was with some interest that I said on the Select Committee which considered this bill I was of course somewhat familiar with Military Justice but only a very cursory manner and whilst the minister refers to those instances where soldiers perhaps been pulled up for not having their shoes shined and the like and then of course it’s very much at the summary and we’re their commanding officer will no doubt take the steps that he or she feels it’s appropriate and in mete out some disciplinary measure what we’re really concerned with here though is much more serious offending and it is absolutely appropriate that soldiers and other military personnel have exactly the same rights when they are subject when they’re accused of what are essentially crimes as any other citizen having said they’re it’s also important to recognize that we do need courts martial we need separate courts to deal with these matters for a number of reasons some of the crimes themselves will be military crimes crimes like desertion and in other situations the crimes will occur in circumstances where the ordinary courts don’t really have jurisdiction such as where the matter appears overseas and similarly the context of these crimes makes it appropriate that a most instances are they should be dealt with by military court having said that there is provision within the framework for these medicine to be dealt with within the ordinary courts one of the things that came out of this examination was the importance of the commanding officer in this overall framework both is essentially when in respect of the accused having a prosecutorial role essentially acting as as a police officer would and recognizing the potential offending and making sure that due process was accorded that prosecution was taken only fortunately I’m and appropriately but also what came out was also the fact that commanding officers has an important part to play in respect of victims of crime and as we’ve just heard the victims of crime in the Armed Forces are often armed force personnel themselves so the the commanding officer clearly has a very important function to play in protecting the welfare of those victims and one of the really good things about this act this legislation this bill is that it brings the the rights of victims into the military justice arena so we have a framework with a commanding officer is usually the person appointed as the representative of the victim and also able to receive information on behalf of the victim of this crime now the Privacy Commissioner did raise some issues there they were carefully considered by the committee in terms of the victim being notified of that information before the commanding officer was but on balance it was considered that the the framework is set out in the legislation was appropriate but it’s important to recognize that what this does is that make sure that if if the offender is imprisoned then the victim has the right to be notified of things like the release and release on bail or release after sentence or or indeed escape or even at the death of the convicted offender so that that runs parallel as it should with the civilian framework and we’ve also heard about the onus question the onus question is an important one because I’m in the civilian system innocence through case law become very clear that when a defense is raised the defendant does not have to prove the defense they have to raise it they have to point to facts which may give rise to it but it’s not the onus does not fall on them to prove on balance of probabilities of otherwise the elements of that defense rather the onus falls on the prosecution to all aspects of the offending including that there is no defense on the facts as presented now the simply by dint I guess of history though that had diverged from military law military law had not kept a pace with it and it wasn’t really appropriate for that kind of uncertainty to exist in this framework so what we have here is a tidying up of that and making clear that the civilian law and respect of owners in defenses applies as well in hand in hand with those goes where as Mr O’Connor was pointing out the question of fitness to stand trial and it’s interesting to see these two pieces of legislation going through the house and the coordination that’s been necessary to make sure but I think the outcome is a sensible one that once the supplementary order paper has taken note of both pieces of legislation we’ll have an inquiry into fitness to stand trial first whether or not that person is mentally capable or not and only after that occurs would you get into the question of the effects themselves the other thing that this this legislation does is tidy up a whole lot of other pieces of bits and pieces it is another piece of maintenance in that regard notice of appointments of judges the chief of defense doesn’t have to notify those they’re not even appointed by the Chiefs of Defense so that’s a useful tidy up and also military members of tribunals are the ability to have get to military members was also here in this legislation I mean the ability to substitute military members to those tribunals a little bit like a jury and but I was informed in it committee not quite much smaller so a few more stringent rules perhaps around these military tribunals so there also is a very useful tidy up but it’s good to see that we do have here the two pieces of legislation coming into alignment the two systems and alignment madam Speaker I came in this bill to the house I call Chris pink thank you madam Speaker it’s a pleasure to rise perhaps

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