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Wednesday, 27 November 1935

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) , - There are one or two minor points upon which a word or two might be said. The words " without just cause " simply mean that the person charged must satisfy a police, stipendiary or special magistrate, that he has not been guilty of an offence under this section without good reasons. If honorable senators will turn to proposed new section 81a, sub-section 2, they will find the wording somewhat different. It enacts that if any person "without lawful authority or excuse " does certain things he shall he guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for two years. There is no reference in that proposed new subsection to the onus of proof being upon anybody. Presumably the Government would supply it on the question of lawful authority, but it would be upon the person charged to show that he had an excuse for his action; so that without inserting the words " proof whereof shall lie upon him " as in the proposed new sub-section now under consideration, exactly the same purpose is effected. As to the other issue raised by Senator Leckie, I do not wish to mention all the possibilities attaching to the inclusion of the words " without just cause ". That would be a matter for the magistrate to decide. I assume that if after the laying of a charge, the relevant documents passed properly out of the possession of the person charged, he would be able to give a satisfactory reason for refusing or ailing to allow inspection or the taking of copies of documents. In such circumstances the magistrate would probably regard the answer as satisfactory.

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