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Wednesday, 28 October 1914

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - The Minister has just enunciated the strange doctrine that there is no principle involved in this matter, but there is a most serious principle involved. The whole forces of the Commonwealth will be set to work to establish a case against an unfortunate individual, and the longer the time between the commission of the alleged offence and the trial the less likely it is that he will be in a proper position to defend himself. The Government should have no advantage over the accused. If any party is to have an advantage it ought to be the accused, because he has no one to help him, and his witnesses may disappear, as the population of Australia is in a continual state of flux. I have known cases where individuals were put to serious inconvenience, and their liberties actually endangered, by the trial of a case against them being unduly delayed. There ought not to be the delay of a single moment more than is necessary. If I had my way, I would make the time one month, but, at the most, it ought to be six months. I would suggest to Senator Gould that he should move to make it three months, which is quite long enough.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - This refers to paltry offences. A goat might trespass on Commonwealth land at Port Darwin, and the authorities there might want to send down to the Government to know whether they should prosecute or not.

Senator STEWART - They could do it by telegraph. We ought to carry out the idea which originated hundreds of years ago, that the course of justice shall not be delayed.

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