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Monday, 2 June 2003
Page: 15737

Mr Murphy asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 25 March 2003:

(1) Is it the case that; (a) two independent, eminent medical specialists examined former Senator, Dr Malcolm Arthur Colston in May 1999 and both concluded that Dr Colston had only months to live and, (b) the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) concluded that, in light of the medical evidence, Dr Colston was terminally ill and unfit to stand trial.

(2) Can he confirm that the DPP commenced a third review of Dr Colston's case in July 2002 in relation to his state of health and his capacity to stand trial on 28 charges of defrauding the Commonwealth; if so, why has it taken the DPP over nine months to establish the veracity of Dr Colston's claims in respect of his state of health and his capacity to stand trial.

(3) Did the DPP tell a Senate Legislation Committee on 20 November 2002 that he expected to have an answer to the review before the end of last year; if so, what is the reason for the delay.

(4) Is there anything that he or the DPP can do to expedite the resolution of this serious matter of public interest.

Mr Williams (Attorney-General) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) (a) Yes. (b) Yes.

(2) Yes. I refer to my answer to Question on Notice 1334 (12).

(3) The Director of Public Prosecutions stated that he anticipated that he would be able to make a decision before Christmas but that this was dependent on receipt of material. See (2) above.

(4) The review will be completed as soon as possible.