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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2281


Senator SPINDLER (8.17 p.m.) —I move:

Clause 4, page 8, after proposed section 3H, insert the following section:

Notice to occupier of premises entered pursuant to warrant

"3HA.(1) An issuing officer shall prepare and furnish an occupier's notice to the person to whom the officer issues a search warrant.

"(2) An occupier's notice furnished in relation to a search warrant:

  (a)must be in or to the effect of the prescribed form; and

      (b)must specify:

     (i)the name of the person who applied for the warrant; and

     (ii)the name of the issuing officer who issued the warrant;

    (iii)the date and the time when the warrant was issued; and

     (iv)the address or other description of the premises the subject of the warrant; and

  (c)must contain a summary of the nature of the warrant and the powers conferred by the warrant; and

  (d)must contain a clear statement of the occupier's rights under this Part.

"(3)A person executing a search warrant must:

  (a)upon entry into or onto the premises, or as soon as practicable after that, serve the occupier's notice on a person who appears to be an occupier of the premises and to be of or above the age of 18 years; or

  (b)if no such person is then present in or on the premises, serve the occupier's notice on the occupier of the premises, either personally or in such other manner as the issuing officer may direct, as soon as practicable after executing the warrant.".

The bill currently provides for the occupier of the premises to be furnished with a copy of the warrant, but we do not believe that this is sufficient to adequately inform the occupier of the powers which attach to the warrant and his or her rights subject to that warrant. We believe that all occupiers have the right to be provided with that information. Thus our amendment provides that the police should provide, in addition to a copy of the warrant, a notice which specifies the warrant's details, the powers which it confers and a full statement of the occupier's rights, including the right to be present during the search, to have a receipt for the goods seized, not to be strip searched and to be present during any examination of goods off the premises.

  These are rights that we consider self-evident, but we must face the fact that a lot of people are not aware of them. People are presumed to know the law, but in fact a lot of them do not. It behoves this parliament and the government to ensure that people are able to enforce their rights. The first condition to being able to do that is to know them. I think it is a very elementary request to suggest that people are given a statement of their rights in that situation which, as has been said before, can be extremely traumatic for people.