Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 11 May 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) .- The wording' of this clause suggests that the Government are deliberately seeking to legislate to set forth that if a case is not taken up within three years the'- party concerned shall not be prosecuted.' Why should we put s limit of three years upon the period, such as 'is. here proposed ? The Committee is being asked to go out of its way to agree to a very short limit in respect of what may be very serious offences.

Senator Pearce -Eyerything will have been revealed within three years after the termination of the war, because the whole business will then have been wound

Senator GARDINER - Nevertheless, it would appear as if this Committee is to deliberately acquiesce in the insertion of 'a new section in' our defence legislation, by which we shall be relieving from all anxiety a person who may have committed a very serious offence. If that is the ' intention of the Minister (Senator Pearce)' it is wrong, and I oan be . no party to it. Senator Elliott has cited a case of a man- who committed an offence and escaped, from Britain, but who, twenty years later,, was apprehended and sent back to England, was tried, and was hanged. The lapse of all that time in his case did not . obliterate the offence. I am not disposed to assist in any form of legislation by which a person who has committed what may be a grave offence will bo able to say after three years, " Now I am free., and the . whole affair is off my mind."

Senator Duncan - Ifthe offence has been committed outside of Australia the case may be dealt with at any time, while if it has been committed inside Australia it should be known within three years.

Senator GARDINER - If this clause is agreed to, "can those persons who may have committed serious offences be punished by our civil Courts?

Senator Pearce - Yes.

Senator GARDINER - That being so, I am prepared to allow the clause to pass.

Suggest corrections