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Thursday, 7 November 1935

Senator BRENNAN (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - I move -

That the words " apparently of the age of seventeen years or upwards " be left out.

In my second-reading speech I pointed out that this new clause which is not exactly germane to the general provisions of tlie act bad been inserted largely as the result of opinions expressed by learned judges. I- have been supplied with the particulars of one case in which the accused was convicted of stealing part of a postal article but was released upon his entering into a bond to come up for sentence when called upon within two years of such release. Some months later he was convicted under a State law on a charge of unlawful possession and four charges of larceny. He was then brought before the court for sentence in respect of the original conviction. When imposing sentence the judge expressed the view that the accused appeared to have no intention of leading an honest life and that he would have been ordered to be detained in a reformatory prison during the Governor-General's pleasure had the judge jurisdiction to make such an order. Under the Victorian law. the judge has jurisdiction to order an indeterminate sentence. This provision was inserted in the clause to give the court jurisdiction which at present it has not, when dealing with young offenders, though it is not necessarily^ confined to young offenders. The words " apparently of the age of 17 years or upwards" appear in the Victorian act, on which this clause is modelled, because children's courts have been established in that State to deal with offenders up to the age of 17 years. Under the Victorian act also, regard may be had to the antecedents, character, associates, age, health and mental condition of the person convicted. As no good purpose will be "served by retaining the words " apparently of the age of 17 years or upwards" I ask the committee to accept the amendment to leave them out.

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