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Military Court of Australia Bill 2012

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2010 - 2011 - 2012

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

MILITARY COURT OF AUSTRALIA BILL 2012

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of the Attorney-General,

the Hon Nicola Roxon MP)



MILITARY COURT OF AUSTRALIA BILL 2012

GENERAL OUTLINE

1.                    The Bill establishes the Military Court of Australia (Military Court) under Chapter III of the Constitution and provides for, among other things, the structure, jurisdiction, practice and procedure of the court.  Amendments of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 and a number of other Acts that are consequential to the establishment of the Military Court are included in the Military Court of Australia (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012.

2.                    The Military Court established by this Bill will assist in maintaining and reinforcing discipline, thereby enhancing operational effectiveness in the ADF.  It will permanently replace the interim measures in the Military Justice (Interim Measures) Act (No. 1) 2009 and Military Justice (Interim Measures) Act (No.2) 2009 , which re-established the pre-2007 system of courts martial and Defence Force magistrates.  Those interim arrangements were put in place following the decision of the High Court of Australia in

Lane v Morrison (2009) 239 CLR 230, which unanimously found that the provisions of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 that created the Australian Military Court were invalid. 

3.                    The Military Court will be a superior court of record comprising judicial officers who, by reason of their experience or training, have an understanding of the nature of service in the ADF.  The Bill allows judicial officers in the Military Court to hold dual commissions in other federal courts on the same terms and conditions and, consistent with the Constitution, provides tenure for judicial officers to the age of 70.  The Bill requires appointments to the Military Court to be made in consultation with the Minister for Defence.   

4.                    Like other federal courts, the Chief Justice of the Military Court will have direct responsibility for the administration of the Court.  The Bill provides for the Registrar of the Federal Court to assist the Chief Justice in the management of the administrative affairs of the Military Court. 

5.                    The responsibility of the Registrar of the Federal Court to assist the Chief Justice in management of the administrative affairs of the Military Court makes clear the single administration arrangements which will operate.   It is expected that the Military Court will use the existing infrastructure of the Federal Court of Australia for administration. 

6.                    The Bill also allows the Chief Justice to make arrangements with the Chief of the Defence Force for members of the ADF to provide administrative assistance and a liaison role to the Military Court.  The presence of these ADF members will emphasise the military justice focus of the Military Court.

7.                    The Bill provides mechanisms for the Chief Justice to make arrangements with other courts, agencies and organisations to provide office facilities and administrative services.   

8.                    While the Military Court is expected to hear matters primarily in Australia, the Bill will allow the Military Court to determine whether it is necessary to try a matter overseas.  In considering whether it should sit overseas, the Bill will require the Military Court to consider (among other things) whether doing so is in the interests of justice.  If it is necessary but not



possible for the Military Court to sit overseas, a court martial or Defence Force magistrate will provide a deployable residual system of military justice.

9.                    The Bill confers original jurisdiction on the Military Court to try serious service offences under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  Less serious service offences, which comprise the vast majority of service offences, will continue to be tried by summary authorities.  The Military Court will also have jurisdiction to try less serious service offences which would otherwise be heard by a summary authority, on the election of the accused person or on referral by the summary authority, and to hear appeals from a court martial or Defence Force magistrate sitting overseas where it is necessary but not possible for the Military Court to deploy.

10.                The Bill provides that all charges in the Military Court will be tried otherwise than on indictment and therefore without a jury.  Neither military nor civilian juries have traditionally been used in the military justice system, except for a brief period where military juries were used under the Australian Military Court system. Instead, the existing court martial system uses a panel of military officers or a Defence Force magistrate sitting alone.  A jury in a Chapter III court could not be similarly restricted to Defence members and a civilian would not necessarily be familiar with the military context of service offences.  Within a Chapter III Court, trial by a judicial officer, who by reason of experience or training understands the nature of service in the ADF, is the best solution to ensure that the finder of fact appreciates the military context of alleged offences.  Additionally, where the Military Court sits overseas, a requirement to empanel a civilian jury would create practical barriers to the prosecution of offences.  

11.                The original jurisdiction of the Military Court will be exercised by a single Federal Magistrate in the General Division, except where the proceeding relates to either a serious service offence prescribed in Schedule 1 to the Bill, or an appeal from a court martial or Defence Force magistrate or, alternatively, the Chief Justice directs otherwise.  A single Judge in the Appellate and Superior Division will try charges of serious service offences prescribed in Schedule 1 and charges which the Chief Justice has directed be heard in the Division.  Appeals from a court martial or Defence Force magistrate will be heard by a Full Court in the Appellate and Superior Division.

12.                Serious service offences prescribed in Schedule 1 generally include:

(i)        offences essential to maintaining discipline and morale in the ADF, such as offences relating to operations against the enemy, mutiny and desertion

(ii)      offences so serious in nature that they require the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution’s consent for prosecution in the military justice system, for example, murder and sexual assault, and

(iii)    serious offences which fall within the higher range of maximum punishments.

13.                The Bill sets out procedures for instituting proceedings in the original jurisdiction of the Military Court as well as procedures for the conduct of such proceedings during the pre-trial and trial stages.  These are modelled on proceedings before a court martial or Defence Force Magistrate under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 and procedures developed for the cartel jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia.  It includes a system of pre-trial hearings and disclosure obligations on the parties, to reduce the length of trials by ensuring that any issues that are not in dispute are identified at an early stage.  This will narrow the range of issues that will have to be dealt with at trial so that the Military Court can concentrate on issues genuinely in dispute and deliver military justice outcomes in a timely manner.

14.                The Bill also confers jurisdiction on the Military Court to hear appeals from judgments of the Military Court at first instance.  The appellate jurisdiction of the Military Court will be exercised by a Full Court or a single Judge in the Appellate and Superior Division.  The Bill sets out procedures for making appeals in the Military Court and for the conduct of proceedings in an appeal, as well as the Military Court’s powers on appeal.  The Bill also allows for appeals to the High Court in restricted circumstances.  The appeal mechanisms in the Bill will benefit members of the ADF through enhanced consistency and certainty in decision-making under authoritative precedents on defence force disciplinary matters.

15.                The basic structure of the Military Court, and the kinds of charges to be heard in each of its Divisions, is represented in Diagram 1 below.

Diagram 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



16.                The Bill will give the Military Court powers to make orders for the custody and bail of accused persons before the Military Court.  These are similar to the powers available to the Federal Court of Australia in the exercise of its criminal cartel jurisdiction.  They include the power to order bail subject to specific conditions, the power to vary or revoke bail orders, and the power to make orders for the forfeiture of securities when an accused person fails to comply with a bail undertaking.

17.                The Bill also sets out the general practices and procedures of the Military Court.  Many of these provisions are consistent with the practices and procedures of the Federal Court of Australia.  This includes rules on evidence and the use of video and audio links. The Military Court, like other federal courts, will have the power to make court rules to prescribe the practice and procedure to be followed in the Court.  



FINANCIAL IMPACT

18.                Establishing the Military Court will have no net impact on underlying cash.  It will require a transfer of funding from the Department of Defence to the Attorney-General’s Department portfolio, with additional funding in the start up year to cover the costs of implementation.

 

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

19.                This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

Overview of the Bill

20.                The purpose of Australia’s military justice system is to support command in reinforcing discipline and enhancing operational effectiveness.  Military discipline which supports the authority and effectiveness of commanders is of vital importance in the operation of the ADF.

21.                The Bill establishes the Military Court under Chapter III of the Constitution.  The new Military Court will permanently replace the interim measures in the Military Justice (Interim Measures) Act (No. 1) 2009 and Military Justice (Interim Measures) Act (No.2) 2009

22.                The Bill provides for the structure, jurisdiction, practice and procedure of the Court.  The Bill confers original jurisdiction on the Military Court to try serious service offences under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  The Military Court will be a superior court of record comprising of judicial officers who, by reason of their experience or training, have an understanding of the nature of service in the ADF.  The Court will have two Divisions - the General Division and Appellate and Superior Division. 

23.                This Bill operates in conjunction with the Military Court of Australia (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012, which makes amendments to the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 and other Acts consequential to establishment of the Military Court.

Human Rights Implications

24.                The Military Court of Australia Bill 2012 engages the following rights:

  • the right to a fair trial under Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’).  Although the trial of service offences are not criminal proceedings as such, this Statement includes assessment as if requirements under Article 14 of the ICCPR relating to criminal proceedings have been engaged.  It includes consideration of access for justice for persons with disabilities under Article 13 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘CRPD’)

·          freedom from arbitrary detention under Article 9 of the ICCPR

·          the right to humane treatment in detention under Article 10 of the ICCPR, and

·          the right to privacy under Article 17 of the ICCPR.

Right to a fair trial

Fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal

25.                Article 14(1) of the ICCPR provides for the right to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal in the determination of any criminal charge against a person, or of a person’s rights and obligations in a suit at law. 

26.                The DFDA creates service offences for the purpose of maintaining discipline in the ADF.  The DFDA complements, and does not replace, Australian criminal law.  However, this right is engaged because serious service offences will be an offence against the law of the Commonwealth and conviction may attract punishments including fines, imprisonment or military detention.

27.                The Bill advances the protection of the right to a fair trial by establishing a permanent Court in accordance with Chapter III of the Constitution to hear charges of serious service offences.

Equality of arms

28.                The right to a fair trial is aimed at ensuring the proper administration of justice, by upholding, among other things, the right to a fair and public hearing. The requirement of a fair hearing relates to the principle of equality of arms. 

29.                The Bill provides for fair processes for determination of service offences consistent with the civilian criminal law system.  It sets out the procedures for instituting proceedings and their conduct during the pre-trial and trial stages.  The Bill includes a system of pre-trial procedures, including hearings and disclosure of the case for the prosecution.  An ADF member who is subject to proceedings in the Military Court will know the charge they face and the evidence on which the charge is based. 

30.                The Bill gives the parties reasonable opportunities to present their case.  The Evidence Act 1995 will apply to proceedings in the Military Court and covers admission of evidence in proceedings.  Accused persons will be entitled to legal representation at either the cost of the accused or be provided with a legal officer through the Director of Defence Counsel Services.

Right to a public hearing

31.                The Bill requires the Military Court to generally exercise its jurisdiction in open court.  This provides for visibility of the operation of the military justice system for service personnel and the public more generally, and facilitates public scrutiny of proceedings.  Consistent with current Australian criminal procedure, interim and pre-trial matters, and matters prescribed by the Military Court Rules, may be dealt with by a Judge or Federal Magistrate of the Military Court in Chambers. 

32.                Article 14(1) of the ICCPR provides that the press and the public may be excluded from all or part of a trial for reasons of morals, public order, national security, the privacy of the parties, or when in the opinion of the court publicity would prejudice the interests of justice. 

33.                Similar to other federal courts, the Military Court will have the power to exclude the public (or specified persons) where the Military Court is satisfied that their presence would be contrary to the interests of justice or would prejudice national security .  The Military Court will also have power to order that whole or part of a record of proceedings not be published on specified grounds, and outlines procedures for this to occur.  Any such determination by the Military Court to conduct its proceedings in private or make orders for non-publication of proceedings will occur based on the individual circumstances of each case.

34.                The Military Court will provide reasons for judgment.  The Bill requires a record of proceedings to be kept by the Military Court, and enables access to copies of records of proceedings by parties. 

Competent, independent and impartial tribunal

35.                The Bill provides the necessary independence and constitutional protections for an impartial judiciary in the Military Court.  It provides that persons currently serving in the ADF would not be eligible for appointment as a Judge or Federal Magistrate of the Military Court.

36.                As a Chapter III Court, the Military Court will be independent from the military chain of command.  Consistent with other federal courts, the Chief Justice of the Military Court will have responsibility for the administration of the Court.

37.                The Military Court will be able to enforce its orders.  The Bill includes offences by witnesses before the Military Court.  The Court has the same powers as the High Court to punish contempt of its power and authority.

Presumption of Innocence

38.                Article 14(2) of the ICCPR provides every individual charged with a criminal offence the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

39.                Notwithstanding that service offences are not considered criminal offences, the criminal standard of proof for service offences in the Military Court will apply to require charges to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Minimum guarantees in criminal proceedings

Article 14(3) of the ICCPR provides for minimum guarantees in criminal proceedings.

40.                Notwithstanding that service offences are not criminal offences, the Military Court will operate consistently with the minimum guarantees outlined in Article 14(3).  Compliance with Articles 14.3(b), (c), (e), (f) and (g) are matters that federal courts have held to be fundamental to justice in civilian courts, and are implicit in systems provided for under the Bill.  The DFDA and its subordinate legislation provide for an accused person to be provided with a charge and particulars in writing.  Case law within Australia has imported a requirement for the accused to be notified of the charge and its particulars in an understood language. 

41.                All qualified legal practitioners would have the right to appear in the Military Court representing the accused.  Where an accused was impecunious or chooses not to retain private legal representation, the accused would receive legal assistance through the Director of Defence Counsel Services (see amendments in the Military Court of Australia (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill).  The Evidence Act 1995 will apply to proceedings in the Military Court and includes the privilege against self-incrimination.

Right of review

42.                Article 14(5) of the ICCPR provides that everyone convicted of a crime shall have the right to his conviction and sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal according to law.

43.                Notwithstanding that service offences are not criminal offences, the Bill provides for avenues for appeal that are consistent with federal criminal appeals.  It confers jurisdiction on the Appellate and Superior Division of the Military Court to hear appeals from judgments of the General Division of the Military Court, including decisions on sentence, and sets out processes for the conduct of such proceedings and the Military Court’s powers on appeal.  Appeals from a judgment of the Full Court of the Military Court will lie to the High Court with special leave from the High Court. 

Punishments following conviction

44.                The Military Court established by the Bill will be able to impose punishments of imprisonment or detention on persons convicted of a service offence.   

45.                Consistent with Article 15 of the ICCPR, the Bill prevents the Military Court from imposing a punishment on a convicted person that exceeds the maximum penalty specified in the provision creating the service offence under the DFDA for which they were convicted. 

46.                Article 13 of the CPRD requires State parties to ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others, including through the provision of procedural and age-appropriate accommodations, in order to facilitate their effective role as direct and indirect participants, including as witnesses, in all legal proceedings, including at investigative and other preliminary stages.

47.                The Bill will allow the Military Court to make orders where it finds an accused person unfit to be tried in a trial of a charge of a service offence or it acquits an accused person of a service offence because the person was suffering mental impairment at the time of engaging in the conduct constituting the service offence.  The orders that the Military Court may make are to either:

  • release the person, or release the person subject to certain conditions (such as that a person attend a person or place for treatment), or
  • make any other order it considers necessary having regard to the best interests of the accused person, the safety of any other person to whom the order relates and the safety of the community generally.

48.                The Bill requires that any such orders be for a specified period not exceeding three years.  In making an order, the Military Court will have power to order examination of expert witnesses.  For example, a psychiatrist may be called to give evidence relating to the best interests of an accused person.

49.                An order should not be made for imprisonment of a person under these provisions.  Appropriate a rrangements would be made for a person to be taken to a mental institution where necessary.  The Bill gives power to t he Military Court to vary or set aside an order made by the Military Court on application of either the person to whom the order relates or the DMP. 

Freedom from arbitrary detention

50.                Article 9(1) of the ICCPR provides that everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.  No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.  No one shall be deprived of his or her liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.

51.                The Bill will give the Military Court powers to make orders for the custody and bail of accused persons before the Military Court.  Powers include the power to order bail subject to specific conditions, the power to vary or revoke bail orders, and the power to make orders for the forfeiture of securities when an accused person fails to comply with a bail undertaking.  

52.                The provisions are consistent with provisions in federal and State and Territory criminal law.  Bail can be reconsidered during the course of proceedings.

Right to humane treatment in detention

53.                Article 10 of the ICCPR provides the right to humane treatment for individuals deprived of their liberty.  Article 2 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment also places a burden on each State to prevent acts of torture.

54.                The Military Court may only impose punishments specified in the Bill.  Persons sentenced to detention will be treated humanely in accordance with the existing provisions of the DFDA and the Defence Force Discipline Regulations 1985 .

55.                Imprisonment would be in a civilian prison under the same conditions as any federal offender.

56.                The Military Court may also impose a punishment of detention in a military detention facility.  Military detention is designed to deter and punish but primarily to be corrective and is not awarded where discharge from the ADF is intended.  Military detention is provided in accordance with Part XA of the DFDA.  Under the Defence Force Discipline Regulations 1985 , detention facilities must be approved by service chiefs on an annual basis.  Inspections occur regularly for facilities.  The Defence Force Discipline Regulations 1985 include access to medical assistance.



Right to privacy

57.                Article 17 of the ICCPR prohibits arbitrary or unlawful interference with an individual’s privacy, family, home or correspondence, and protects a person’s honour and reputation from unlawful attacks.  The right to privacy may be subject to permissible limitations, provided that those limitations are aimed at a legitimate objective and are reasonable, necessary and proportionate to that objective.

58.                The Bill requires the Military Court to exercise its jurisdiction in open court.  The open court process is a key component of the right to a fair trial and aims to demonstrate that proceedings have been conducted fairly and that accused persons have been dealt with justly.

59.                The legitimate objective of ensuring an open court process may limit the right to privacy of individuals who are involved in proceedings before the Military Court.   However, the limitations are reasonable, necessary and proportionate. 

60.                The Court will have power to make protective orders regarding witnesses similar to the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Protection of the privacy of vulnerable witnesses is provided consistent with the Evidence Act 1995 and, in relevant circumstances, the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1991 (ACT) .

61.                The Military Court will have similar protections for personal information as other federal courts.

Conclusion

62.                The Bill is compatible with human rights because it advances the protection of human rights, in particular for the right to a fair trial and freedom from arbitrary detention.  It also ensures protection of the right to privacy.  To the extent that the Bill may also limit human rights such as aspects of the right to privacy, those limitations are reasonable, necessary and proportionate.



NOTES ON CLAUSES

Part 1 - Preliminary

Clause 1 - Short title

1.                    This clause provides for the Bill to be cited as the Military Court of Australia Act 2012 .

Clause 2 - Commencement

2.                    This clause provides for the commencement of each provision in the Bill, as set out in the table.  Item 1 in the table provides that sections 1 and 2 which concern the formal aspects of the Bill, as well as anything in the Bill not elsewhere covered by the table, will commence on the day on which the Bill receives Royal Assent. 

3.                    Item 2 in the table provides that sections 3 to 192, which concern the structure, jurisdiction, practice and procedure of the Military Court, commence on a single day to be fixed by Proclamation.  The day to be fixed by Proclamation must not be before the day the Military Court of Australia (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2012 receives royal assent.  This is because the amendments contained in that Act are necessary for the effective commencement of the operation of the Military Court.  Item 2 also provides that if sections 3 to 192 do not commence within the period of 6 months beginning on the day this Bill receives Royal Assent, they will commence on the day after the end of that period. 

4.                    The same commencement date also applies to Schedule 1 to the Bill (item 3).  This will allow time for amendments to be made to Schedule 1 to the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997 to include the Military Court as a prescribed agency for the purposes of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 .

5.                    Subclause (3) provides that proceedings are not to be instituted in the Military Court before the commencement of Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Military Court of Australia (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 201 2 .

6.                    Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Military Court of Australia (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012 contains amendments to the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 consequential to establishment of the Military Court.  Coinciding commencement with this Act will ensure effective operation of the system prior to institution of proceedings in the Military Court.  

7.                   A period of 10 months is provided to allow sufficient time for the appointment of judicial officers to the Military Court, for the implementation of administrative arrangements for proceedings in the Military Court (including the establishment of Military Court Rules) and to allow the Department of Defence to educate military personnel about the role of the Military Court in the military justice system and their rights in relation to the new Court.

Clause 3 - Definitions

8.                    This clause defines various terms used in the Bill.  To facilitate the exercise of jurisdiction under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 , clause 3 defines a number of terms in the same way as they are defined under that Act.

9.                    Registrar is defined in this clause to mean the Registrar of the Federal Court appointed under section 18C of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976.   The Registrar has powers and functions under Division 4 of Part 3 of the Bill.

Clause 4 - Crown to be bound

10.                This clause provides that the Crown is bound by the Bill in each of its capacities.  However, the Crown is not liable to be prosecuted for an offence under the Bill.

Clause 5 - Operation of this Act

11.                 This clause provides that the Military Court of Australia 2012 Bill will apply both within and outside Australia.  This supports the authority of the court to sit at a place outside Australia or in any of its external territories.  The application of the Bill outside Australia will operate in circumstances where the Military Court determines that it is necessary and possible for it to sit at a place outside Australia, in accordance with clause 51.

Clause 6 - Application of Commonwealth laws to proceedings determined outside Australia

12.                This clause provides that Commonwealth laws which will apply to Military Court proceedings have effect outside of Australia for when the Military Court sits overseas.  Examples of Commonwealth laws that apply to Military Court proceedings include (but are not limited to) the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 , the Evidence Act 1995 , the Crimes Act 1914 and the Criminal Code Act 1995 .  Certain parts of the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1991 of the Australian Capital Territory will also apply to proceedings in the Military Court. 

13.                Clause 6 ensures the extraterritorial operation of some Acts (or provisions thereof) that the Bill expressly states are applicable to Military Court proceedings, for example certain provisions of the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1991 (ACT) (clause 172).  Some Acts already apply beyond Australia (for example, see section 3A of the Crimes Act 1914 and section 9 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 ). 

14.                This clause is intended to evince a clear and unambiguous intention that any other Commonwealth Acts which apply to Military Court proceedings in Australia but would not apply overseas by virtue of clause 5 or by a provision in the Act itself, have effect outside of Australia for when the Military Court sits overseas.    

Clause 7 - Geographical jurisdiction for offences

15.                This clause provides that section 15.1 of the Criminal Code (extended geographical jurisdiction—category A) applies to an offence against the Bill.  This means that, where the conduct constituting an alleged offence against this Bill occurs wholly outside Australia, a person does not commit the offence unless the person is an Australian citizen at the time of the alleged offence.

16.                This may be relevant where the Military Court determines that it is appropriate for it to sit at a place outside Australia, in accordance with clause 51.  Relevant offences against this Bill occurring outside Australia may include offences by witnesses failing to appear before the Military Court as required by a subpoena (clause 169).  However, this offence will not apply to persons who are not Australian citizens at the time of the alleged offence.    Exempting foreign nationals from offences under the Bill will assist with the making of arrangements between Australia and the host nation for the Military Court to sit overseas.

Part 2 - Military Court of Australia

17.                Part 2 of the Bill creates the Military Court under Chapter III of the Constitution.  It provides for the constitution of the Military Court, including provisions for the appointment of Judges and Federal Magistrates to the Military Court and their assignment to the Divisions of the Military Court.  This Part is generally consistent with Part II of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 and Schedule 1 to the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 .

Division 1 - Introduction

Clause 8 - Guide to this Part

18.                This clause sets out a guide to Part 2 of the Bill.  The guide will assist readers to understand the purpose and content of the Part, and to more easily navigate through the Part to find relevant provisions. 

Division 2 - Creation of Military Court etc.

Clause 9 - Creation of Military Court etc.

19.                This clause creates the Military Court as a superior court of record.  The Military Court consists of a Chief Justice, other Judges and Federal Magistrates.

Clause 10 - Divisions of Military Court

20.                This clause provides that the Military Court has two Divisions: the Appellate and Superior Division, and the General Division.  All proceedings in the Military Court must be instituted, heard and determined in either the Appellate and Superior Division, or the General Division.

21.                Judges, including the Chief Justice, of the Military Court will be assigned to the Appellate and Superior Division while Federal Magistrates of the Military Court will be assigned to the General Division (clause 13).  Judges and Federal Magistrates may exercise the powers of the Military Court only in their respective Divisions (clause 54).  Clause 54 specifies that certain matters are to be dealt with in the General Division and the Appellate and Superior Division respectively, in the exercise of the Military Court’s original jurisdiction.  The Military Court’s appellate jurisdiction will be exercised in the Appellate and Superior Division (clause 98).

Division 3 - Judges and Federal Magistrates

Clause 11 - Appointment

22.                Subclauses (1) and (2) provide for the appointment of Judges and Federal Magistrates to the Military Court by the Governor-General by commission.  A Federal Magistrate may be appointed on a part-time basis (subclause (7)).  This is consistent with clause 1 of Schedule 1 to the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 , which allows for the appointment of Federal Magistrates on a part-time basis and is intended to allow flexibility in managing the workload of Federal Magistrates.

23.                Paragraph (3)(a) of the Bill sets out criteria for judicial appointments to the Military Court consistent with appointments to other federal courts.  To be eligible for appointment as a Judge or Federal Magistrate of the Military Court, a person must be or have been a judge or federal magistrate of another federal court or a judge or magistrate of a State or Territory court, or have been enrolled as a legal practitioner of the High Court or of the Supreme Court of a State or Territory for not less than 5 years.

24.                Paragraph (3)(b) establishes criteria specific to judicial appointment to the Military Court, consistent with other specialist courts, such as the Family Court of Australia.  This paragraph provides that a person must not be appointed as a Judge or Federal Magistrate of the Military Court unless, by reason of experience or training, the person understands the nature of service in the Australian Defence Force.  While the criteria around experience and training could be met by demonstrating prior service in the ADF or the Reserve, it is not intended that this be the only way in which an applicant may gain the relevant experience or training which would make them suitable for appointment to the court.   

25.                A specific criterion for appointment to the Military Court is essential to ensuring that the Military Court is recognised by commanders, service personnel and the public as a specialist body capable of understanding the service context of offences as well as the unique nature of military service.  Experience or training which leads to an understanding of the nature of service in the Australian Defence Force will ensure a proper appreciation of the professional ethos and culture of the ADF within which the impact of offending can have a different effect to that of equivalent offending in a civilian context.

26.                The wording of this clause mirrors the Family Court of Australia appointment criteria in the Family Law Act 1975 .  In this way, the clause identifies possession of qualifications or experience directly relevant to the exercise of jurisdiction in a particular area of law, but does not require ADF service for appointment to the Military Court.  This criterion is intended to require more than a passive observation, a general interest or familiarity, or mere study of the military. 

27.                 Paragraph (3)(b) further provides that a person must not be appointed as a Judge or Federal Magistrate of the Military Court unless the Defence Minister has been consulted in relation to the appointment. 

28.                The appointment criterion is designed to enhance confidence in the Court and its appointees within the ADF.   

29.                Subclause (4) ensures the independence and impartiality of the Military Court by providing that persons currently serving in the ADF would not be eligible for appointment as a Judge or Federal Magistrate of the Military Court.  Additionally, once appointed, judicial officers will no longer be eligible for recruitment into the ADF, which is provided for by amendment to the Defence Act 1903 in the Military Court of Australia (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill.

30.                In accordance with section 72 of the Constitution, and consistent with all four other federal courts,  subclauses (5) and (6) provide that a person is not eligible for appointment to the Military Court if he or she has attained the age of 70, but judicial officers appointed to the Military Court will have tenure to the age of 70.  This provides the necessary independence and constitutional protections for an impartial judiciary in the Military Court.

Clause 12 - Judges and Federal Magistrates may hold office of another court

31.                This clause provides that Judges or Federal Magistrates of the Military Court may hold dual commissions as judges in other federal courts or as Federal Magistrates in the Federal Magistrates Court, respectively.

Clause 13 - Assignment to Divisions

32.                This clause assigns the judicial officers of the Military Court to particular Divisions mentioned in clause 10.  It provides that Judges of the Military Court (including the Chief Justice) are assigned to the Appellate and Superior Division, and Federal Magistrates of the Military Court are assigned to the General Division.  This reflects the intention for certain matters to be heard in each Division, as set out in Parts 5 (Original jurisdiction) and 6 (Appellate jurisdiction).

Clause 14 - Assignment to particular locations

33.                Subclause (1) provides that Judges and Federal Magistrates of the Military Court will be assigned to sit at a particular location in their commission of assignment.  Subclause (2) provides that, while a Judge or Federal Magistrate may sit at another location on a temporary basis, he or she must not sit or cannot be required to sit at another location on a permanent basis unless the Judge or Federal Magistrate, the Chief Justice and the Attorney-General consent.

34.                Subclause (3) provides that the Chief Justice has the same protection and immunity when deciding whether to give this consent as if he or she were making that decision as a member of the Military Court.  This means that judicial immunity applies to the Chief Justice in making this decision. 

35.                Subclause (4) provides that the Federal Court of Australia does not have jurisdiction with respect to a matter relating to the consent of the Attorney-General or the Chief Justice. This is similar to subsection 12(6B) of the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 in respect of powers of the Chief Federal Magistrate to assign a Federal Magistrate to a particular location or registry.

Clause 15 - Resignation

36.                Consistent with section 72 of the Constitution, this clause provides that a Judge or Federal Magistrate may tender his or her resignation from the Military Court in writing to the Governor-General.  Subclause (2) provides that the resignation takes effect on the day on which it is received by the Governor-General or a later day if specified in the resignation.

Clause 16 - Removal from office

37.                This clause provides that a Judge or Federal Magistrate of the Military Court may be removed from office only by the Governor-General, on an address from both Houses of the Parliament in the same session, on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.  This is also consistent with section 72 of the Constitution. 

Clause 17 - Style

38.                This clause provides that a Judge or former Judge of the Military Court is entitled to be styled ‘The Honourable’, and a Federal Magistrate of the Military Court is to be styled ‘Federal Magistrate ( name )’ or ‘( name ) FM’.  This is consistent with section 6 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 and clause 2 of Schedule 1 to the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 .

Clause 18 - Seniority

39.                This clause provides that the Chief Justice of the Military Court is senior to all other Judges and to the Federal Magistrates of the Military Court, while the other Judges have seniority according to        the dates on which their commissions took effect or the precedence assigned to them by their commissions.  This is consistent with section 8 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Clause 19 - Acting Chief Justice

40.                This clause provides that, whenever the Chief Justice of the Military Court is absent from duty or there is a vacancy in the office of Chief Justice, the next senior Judge who is available and willing to do so, is to perform the duties and may exercise the powers of the Chief Justice.  In doing so, that Judge is to be called the Acting Chief Justice of the Military Court.

41.                This is generally consistent with section 7 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  However, unlike that provision, this clause does not provide for an Acting Chief Justice whenever the Chief Justice is absent from Australia.  This is because the Chief Justice of the Military Court may be sitting in a place outside Australia in accordance with clause 51.

Clause 20 - Remuneration etc.

42.                Subclause (1) provides that Judges and Federal Magistrates of the Military Court are to be paid such remuneration (within the meaning of Part II of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 ) as is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.  This is subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 (subclause (2)). 

43.               Subclause (3) reflects subsection 9(2) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It ensures that the salary and annual allowances of Judges of the Appellate and Superior Division accrue daily and are payable monthly.

44.                Subclause (4) provides that a Federal Magistrate is the holder of an office of Justice of a federal court, for the purposes of paragraph 7(5B)(a) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973

45.                These provisions are consistent with clause 5 of Schedule 1 to the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 .  While different provisions are established under section 9 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 , the enactment of that section pre-dates the creation of the Remuneration Tribunal. These provisions are implemented so that remuneration for Judges of the Federal Court is determined under the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 .  This clause operates so that remuneration for Judges and Federal Magistrates of the Military Court is to be set in the same manner as the remuneration of Judges of the Federal Court and Federal Magistrates of the Federal Magistrates Court.

46.                Subclause (5) provides that Federal Magistrates are to be treated as Justices of a court of record for the purpose of determining their remuneration and other terms and conditions.  This is consistent with the position of Federal Magistrates in the Federal Magistrates Court, which is a court of record.

47.                In accordance with section 72 of the Constitution, subclause (6) provides that the remuneration of a Judge or Federal Magistrate of the Military Court is not to be diminished during his or her continuance in office.

  Clause 21 - Oath or affirmation and office

48.                This clause provides that a Judge or a Federal Magistrate of the Military Court must take an oath or affirmation of allegiance before proceeding to discharge the duties of his or her office, and sets out the form of that oath or affirmation.  This is consistent with section 11 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976.

Subdivision B - Other terms and conditions of Federal Magistrates

Clause 22 - Other terms and conditions of Federal Magistrates

49.                This clause explains that this subdivision sets out other terms and conditions that apply in relation to Federal Magistrates.

Clause 23 - Outside Work

50.                This clause provides that a Federal Magistrate must not engage in remunerated (paid) work which is inconsistent with the holding of judicial office.  In particular, paragraph (2)(a) prohibits a Federal Magistrate from practising as a legal practitioner.

51.                Subclause (3) ensures that any doctrine of constitutional incompatibility will apply to a Federal Magistrate.  For example, in Wilson v Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (1996) 138 ALR 220 the High Court held that there were certain functions that could not be conferred on a federal judicial officer.  This would be the case if the function were incompatible with the judicial officer’s performance of his or her judicial functions or with the proper discharge by the judiciary of its responsibilities as an institution exercising judicial power. 

Clause 24 - Leave

52.                This clause provides that recreation leave entitlements for a Federal Magistrate are those determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. 

Clause 25 - Other terms and conditions

53.                This clause provides for the Governor-General to determine other terms and conditions not specified in the Bill.  Any determination made by the Governor-General is a legislative instrument which must be tabled in Parliament and may be disallowed within 15 sitting days after the determination is tabled.  This disallowance mechanism is based on a similar mechanism in section 7 of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973

Clause 26 - Disability and death benefits

54.                This clause applies the disability and death benefit provisions in Division 2 of Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 in relation to Federal Magistrates of the Military Court.  Subclause (2) provides the following modifications to facilitate this application: each reference to a Federal Magistrate is to be read as a reference to a Federal Magistrate of the Military Court, cross-references to other clauses in the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 are replaced by references to equivalent provisions in this Bill, and the definition of prior judicial service includes service as a Federal Magistrate of the Federal Magistrates Court. 

55.                Subclause (3) replicates section 9G in Division 2 of Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 that establishes a special appropriation for the payment of disability and death benefits.  The establishment of a special appropriation is necessary as it is not possible to predict when such benefits will need to be paid. 

Subdivision C - Miscellaneous

Clause 27 - Certain references in other laws to Judge of a superior court etc. not to include Federal Magistrate

56.                Subclause (1) confirms that the expressions ‘Judge of a superior court’ and ‘Judges of a superior court’, in any other law of the Commonwealth, do not include a Federal Magistrate of the Military Court (which is a superior court of record).  Section 48C of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 is an example of where this expression occurs.

57.                Similarly, subclause (2) confirms that references, in any other law of the Commonwealth, to a period during which a person served as a Judge in a superior court do not include references to a period during which the person served as a Federal Magistrate of the Military Court.  Section 34B of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 is an example of where this expression occurs.

58.                This provision will clarify, for the avoidance of doubt, the application of such other laws of the Commonwealth to persons who are serving or have served as a Federal Magistrate of the Military Court.  The Military Court is a superior court of record.  However, where a Federal Magistrate of the General Division consents to exercise non-judicial functions and powers in their personal capacity under other Commonwealth laws, they are not to be taken to be a Judge of a superior court for that purpose. 



Part 3 - Management of the Military Court

59.                Part 3 of the Bill provides for the management of the Military Court.  Direct responsibility for the management of the Court, including management of its financial affairs, is vested in the Chief Justice.  Part 3 also provides for the Registrar to assist the Chief Justice in the management of its administrative affairs.

60.                Clause 3 of the Bill defines the Registrar to mean the Registrar of the Federal Court of Australia appointed under section 18C of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  This makes clear the single administration arrangements which will operate.  The Military Court is expected to make use of the existing infrastructure of the Federal Court of Australia.  Part 3 provides a mechanism for the Chief Justice of the Military Court to make these arrangements and to make arrangements with other agencies, organisations and the Chief of the Defence Force. 

61.                The provisions of Part 3 are generally consistent with Part IIA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 and Part 7 of the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 .

Division 1 - Introduction

Clause 28 - Guide to this Part

62.                This clause sets out a guide to Part 3 of the Bill.  The guide will assist readers to understand the purpose and content of the Part, and to more easily navigate through the Part to find relevant provisions.

Division 2 - Management responsibilities of the Chief Justice etc.

Clause 29 - Management of the administrative affairs of the Military Court

63.                This clause gives the Chief Justice responsibility for the management of the administrative affairs of the Military Court.  This is in addition to the Chief Justice’s responsibilities for managing the business of the Military Court (clause 53).  Subclause (2) gives the Chief Justice broad powers necessary for administering the Military Court, including the powers to enter into contracts and acquire and dispose of personal property.  These powers are expressly limited so that the Military Court may not enter into contracts which involve more than $250,000 without the Attorney-General’s approval.  A higher amount may be prescribed by regulation.  These provisions are consistent with section 18A of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Clause 30 - Arrangements with other courts

64.                This clause allows the Chief Justice to make arrangements with other courts for the performance of certain procedural functions on behalf of the Military Court and such other non-judicial functions as the Military Court considers appropriate.  It is expected that these functions would be performed by the Federal Court of Australia under an arrangement with the Military Court.  If a function is performed in accordance with an arrangement under this clause, the function will be deemed to have effect as if it had been performed by the Military Court.  These provisions are consistent with section 90 of the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 .

Clause 31 - Arrangements with agencies and organisations

65.                This clause allows the Chief Justice to make arrangements with Commonwealth and State and Territory agencies or other organisations for the performance of certain procedural and non-judicial functions on behalf of the Military Court. In some locations it may not be possible for arrangements to be made with an existing court, for example because there are no appropriate court facilities or services provided in that location.  In these circumstances it is expected that the Chief Justice will make arrangements with another agency or organisation for the provision of services on behalf of the Military Court.  If a function is performed in accordance with an arrangement under this clause, the function will be deemed to have effect as if it had been performed by the Military Court.  These provisions are consistent with section 18BA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 and section 91 of the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 .

Clause 32 - Arrangements with the Chief of the Defence Force

66.                Subclause (1) allows the Chief Justice to make arrangements with the Chief of the Defence Force for members of the ADF to provide administrative assistance in relation to proceedings in the Military Court and/or to act as a means of liaison between the Department of Defence and the Military Court in relation to administrative arrangements of the Military Court.  Administrative support by service personnel could take the form of escort or orderly duties to assist in the conduct of trials.  It is expected that a senior military officer position will be created within Defence to act as a means of liaison between Defence and the Military Court to address administrative arrangements between the ADF and the court.  Selection of suitable personnel is the responsibility of the ADF.

67.                The wearing of military uniform by administrative assistants will be at the discretion of the Chief Justice.  The utilisation of uniformed ADF personnel in administrative assistance roles provides a visible means of promoting the service nature and identity of the Military Court to service personnel and the Australian public. To ensure the independence of the Military Court, the ADF members will not carry out any judicial functions.

68.                Subclause (2) provides that members of the ADF providing administrative or liaison assistance to the Military Court in accordance with an arrangement made under subclause (1) are subject to the direction and control of the Chief Justice and the Registrar and are not subject to the direction or control of any other person or body.  This is important to ensure the independence of the court, consistent with Chapter III of the Constitution.

69.                Subclause (3) provides that an ADF member is not subject to military command or to the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 in relation to the provision of administrative or liaison assistance to the Military Court in accordance with an arrangement under subclause (1).  This is because the Military Court is created as an independent court under Chapter III of the Constitution.  However, in relation to any other matter, the ADF member remains subject to military command and the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .

70.                Subclause (4) provides that members of the ADF are bound by the Code of Conduct (within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999 ) in providing administrative or liaison assistance to the Military Court in accordance with an arrangement under subclause (1).

71.                Subclause (5) provides that the Registrar may determine, in accordance with the procedures established under subsection 15(3) of the Public Service Act 1999 , whether a member of the ADF has breached the Code of Conduct in providing administrative or liaison assistance to the Military Court in accordance with an arrangement under subclause (1).  Subsection 15(3) of the Public Service Act 1999 provides that such procedures must comply with basic procedural requirements set out in Commissioner’s Directions and must have due regard to procedural fairness.

72.                Subclause (6) provides that, where the Registrar determines that a member of the ADF has breached the Code of Conduct in providing administrative or liaison assistance to the Military Court, the member is taken not to have acted in accordance with the arrangement made under subclause (1), to the extent of the breach.  This has the effect of excluding the operation of subclause (2) and (3), which means the member of the ADF would be subject to military command and the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 in relation to his or her conduct constituting that breach.  Such conduct may constitute an offence against section 60 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 , which prohibits acts that are likely to prejudice the discipline of, or bring discredit on, the ADF.  The determination by the Registrar of a breach of the Code of Conduct would not, however, compel defence disciplinary action.

73.                Subclause (7) substitutes certain phrases in the Code of Conduct so that they can be read appropriately for the purposes of subclauses (4), (5) and (6).  It provides that: ‘an APS employee’ is to be read as referring to a member of the ADF who is providing administrative or liaison assistance to the Military Court in accordance with an arrangement under subsection (1); ‘APS employment’ is to be read as referring to the provision of such administrative or liaison assistance; and ‘an APS employee’s Agency’ is to be read as ‘the Statutory Agency referred to in section 18Q of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 ’.  APS employees of the Military Court would be part of the existing statutory agency under the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 for the purposes of the Public Service Act 1999 (see Item 22 of Schedule 3 of the Military Court of Australia (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012).

Clause 33 - Arrangements for sharing courtrooms and other facilities

74.                This clause provides for the Chief Justice to make arrangements with another court for the Military Court to sit in rooms of another court, to share registry facilities of another court or for the court to provide registry services to the Military Court.  This provision is consistent with section 92 of the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 .

Clause 34 - Delegation of administrative powers of Chief Justice

75.                This clause allows the Chief Justice to delegate all or any of his or her powers under clause 29 to any one or more of the Judges or Federal Magistrates.  This provision is consistent with section 18W of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 and section 117A of the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 .

Division 3 - Registries

Clause 35 - Establishment of registries

76.                This clause provides for the Attorney-General to establish such registries of the Military Court as the Attorney-General thinks fit.  It is expected that the Attorney-General will establish such registries as are required according to workload and needs of the Military Court.  This is consistent with section 34 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 and section 98 of the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 .

Division 4 - Registrar

Clause 36 - Functions and powers

77.                This clause gives the Registrar the power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for the purpose of assisting the Chief Justice.  In particular, this will ensure that the Registrar can assist the Chief Justice in conducting the administrative affairs of the Military Court.  This clause also establishes the independence of the Registrar, in the performance of the Registrar’s function and powers, so that the Registrar is subject to the direction and control of the Chief Justice but not any other person or body in relation to the performance of a function or the exercise of a power under this Bill or the Military Court Rules.  These provisions are consistent with section 18D of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

78.                Subclause (6) clarifies that the functions and powers conferred on the Registrar under the Bill are in addition to the functions and powers conferred on the Registrar by any other law of the Commonwealth.  Clause 3 defines the Registrar to mean the Registrar of the Federal Court of Australia appointed under section 18C of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  The Registrar of the Federal Court of Australia has powers and functions under the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976

Clause 37- Delegation of powers to Registrars

79.                This clause allows certain procedural powers of the Military Court to be exercised by Registrars, which includes the Registrar and Deputy Registrars, at the direction of the Military Court.  This includes powers to dispense with service of any process, make orders in relation to substituted service, pre-trial disclosures, the adjournment of a hearing, exempting a party from compliance with the Military Court Rules, or any other power of the Military Court prescribed by the Rules.  A Registrar has total independence in relation to the manner in which he or she exercises these powers, and is not subject to the direction or control of any person or body.  However, an exercise of these powers by a Registrar is subject to review by the Military Court.  If a Registrar considers that it would not be appropriate for him or her to exercise any of these powers, or an application is made for the Military Court to determine the matter, he or she must refer the application for the exercise of the power to the Military Court.  These provisions are based on section 35A of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Division 5 - Other officers and staff of the Military Court

Clause 38 - Officers of the Military Court

80.                This clause provides for the officers and the Registry staff of the Military Court, apart from the Registrar.  This includes Deputy Registrars, the Sheriff and Deputy Sheriffs of the Military Court.   These officers are to be appointed by the Registrar.  All officers of the Military Court other than the Registrar and the Deputy Sheriffs are to be subject to the Public Service Act 1999 .  Deputy Sheriffs may be Commonwealth, State or Territory officers. 

81.                Subclause (3) provides that a person may be an officer of both the Military Court and the Federal Court.  Subclause (4) provides that subclause (3) has effect despite anything in this Bill or the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 This will facilitate the making of arrangements for sharing registry or other services provided by the Federal Court.

82.                Subclause (5) stipulates that the Deputy Registrar cannot be a member of the ADF.  This is to ensure the independence of the Military Court.

83.                There is nothing in the Bill that prevents a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff from being a member of the ADF.  This is because the Sheriff and Deputy Sheriffs would not exercise any judicial functions, and would only carry out administrative work in the Military Court.  While carrying out those functions, members of the ADF would be subject to the direction and control of the court.  They would be subject to military command and the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 in all other respects.

84.                These provisions are generally consistent with section 18N of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Clause 39- Functions of officers other than the Registrar

85.                This clause provides that officers of the Military Court have the duties, powers and functions which are given to them by the Bill, the Military Court Rules or the Chief Justice.  In carrying out these duties, powers and functions t he officers of the Military Court may be assisted by members of the ADF in accordance with an arrangement made between the Chief Justice and the Chief of the Defence Force under clause 32.

Clause 40 - Deputy Registrars

86.                This clause establishes the independence of Deputy Registrars, in relation to the performance and exercise of his or her functions and powers, from any person or body other than the direction and control of the Chief Justice, other Judges or Federal Magistrates authorised by the Chief Justice and the Registrar.  The Registrar’s control over Deputy Registrars may include making arrangements for Deputy Registrars to perform certain functions in particular matters or classes of matters.

Clause 41 - Functions of the Sheriff and Deputy Sheriffs

87.                This clause sets out the responsibilities of the Sheriff of the Military Court.  These include the service and execution of process of the Military Court, dealing with federal, state and territory, and military police in this regard, the detention of persons committed to the Sheriff’s custody and discharging such persons when so directed by the Military Court.  This clause is modelled on section 18P of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Clause 42 - Actions by or against the Sheriff or a Deputy Sheriff

88.                This clause provides for a procedure to be followed where the Sheriff or a Deputy Sheriff is a party to a proceeding in the Military Court.  It provides for all processes that would normally be directed to the Sheriff to be directed to a disinterested person appointed by the Military Court.  This procedure follows section 113 of the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 .

Clause 43 - Staff of the Military Court

89.                This clause provides for there to be such staff of the Military Court as are necessary and for these staff to be engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 .

90.                APS employees of the Military Court would be part of the existing statutory agency under the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 for the purposes of the Public Service Act 1999 (see section 18Q of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 ).       

Clause 44 - Engagement of consultants etc.

91.                This clause allows the Registrar to engage consultants with suitable qualifications and experience to perform services for the Military Court.  This provides flexibility to the Registrar, for example, to ensure the court has the capability to handle particular non-judicial work for the Military Court where specialist expertise is required which may not be otherwise available to the Military Court.  These provisions are consistent with section 18R of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Division 6 - Miscellaneous administrative matters

Clause 45 - Seal of the Military Court

92.                This clause provides for the seal of the Military Court and for the Attorney-General to determine the design of the seal.  The seal of the Court and a stamp bearing the design of the seal must be affixed to documents as provided for in the Bill or by the Military Court Rules.  These provisions are consistent with section 36 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Clause 46 - Writs

93.                This clause provides for the formal requirements of writs, commissions and processes issued by the Military Court.  That is, they should have the seal of the Military Court affixed to them and be signed by the Registrar, a Deputy Registrar or authorised person.  The signature of the Registrar or a Deputy Registrar may be an electronic signature applied to the document by an authorised person.  These provisions are consistent with section 37 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Clause 47 - Annual report

94.                  Subclause (1) provides for the Chief Justice of the Military Court to give the Attorney-General a report on the management of the administrative affairs of the Military Court as soon as practicable after the end of the financial year.  Subclause (2) requires the report to be tabled in Parliament.

Clause 48 - Proceedings arising out of administration of Military Court

95.                This clause allows for proceedings to be instituted by or against the Commonwealth in relation to matters arising out of the management of the administrative affairs of the Military Court.  This includes any proceedings relating to anything done by the Registrar under Part 3.  This clause is consistent with section 18X of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Clause 49 - Oath or affirmation of office

96.                This clause provides that the Registrar and each Deputy Registrar of the Military Court must take an oath or affirmation of allegiance before proceeding to discharge the duties of his or her office, and sets out the form of that oath or affirmation.  This is consistent with section 18Y of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976.

Part 4 - Jurisdiction of the Military Court: general

97.                Part 4 of the Bill includes various provisions on the exercise of jurisdiction in the Military Court generally.  This includes the Military Court’s power to punish contempt, the Chief Justice’s responsibilities for arranging the Military Court’s business and the general obligation to exercise jurisdiction in open court.  These provisions are generally consistent with comparable sections in Parts II and III of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 , discussed further in Division 1.  Other provisions in Part 4, such as the Military Court’s powers to determine its place of sitting, contained in clause 51, are specific to the Military Court.

Division 1 - Introduction

Clause 50 - Guide to this Part

98.                This clause sets out a Guide to Part 4 of the Bill.  The guide will assist readers to understand the purpose and content of the Part, and to more easily navigate through the Part to find relevant provisions. 

Division 2 - Arrangement of business of the Military Court etc.

Clause 51 - Place of sitting

99.                This clause provides the Military Court with the power to determine its place of sitting.  

100.            Subclause (1) provides that the Military Court will sit at a place in Australia to hear and determine a proceeding or part of a proceeding.   Australia is defined in clause 3 to include the external Territories.  Subject to the discretion of the judicial officer, Military Court trials in Australia could be heard anywhere in Australia, including on ADF establishments (providing visibility of the operation of the military justice system for service personnel) or in a federal or State or Territory courtroom facility. The Military Court can sit at a place outside Australia where the Military Court determines, in accordance with this clause, that it is both necessary and possible for it to sit at a place outside Australia to hear and determine the proceeding or the part of the proceeding. 

101.            Subclause (2) provides that the Military Court may sit at any place outside Australia to hear and determine a proceeding or a part of a proceeding in respect of a charge of a service offence where it is necessary to do so, in the interests of justice, and the accused person or the DMP has applied for it to do so.  The ability for the Military Court to sit overseas is an essential feature of the court to maintain discipline in deployed environments.  Specific issues which may make it necessary for the Military Court to sit in a place outside Australia might include prosecution or defence witnesses who might be foreign nationals (civilian or military) who are unable or unwilling to come to Australia to give evidence, physical evidence being located outside Australia or a host nation or coalition partner that might expect a matter to dealt with in the theatre of operations.

102.              In determining an application for the court to sit outside Australia made under subclause (2), subclause (3) requires the Military Court to take a number of matters into account in determining what is in the interests of justice: namely, where the service offence occurred, the location of the accused person and any witnesses, the ability of witnesses to give evidence in Australia and submissions from the accused and the DMP

103.            If the Military Court determines that it is necessary in the interests of justice to sit at a place outside Australia, subclause (4) requires the Military Court to then determine whether it is possible to do so.  In this regard, the Military Court must consider: the security of that place, any relevant Australian or foreign laws, any arrangements in place between Australia and the host nation, the international legal basis for the presence of both the ADF and the Military Court in that country and submissions from the accused person and the DMP. The agreements or arrangements in place between Australia and the host nation could include Status of Forces Agreements or other international arrangements which provide for the exercise of jurisdiction over deployed forces for the purposes of military discipline.  If the country in question does not have a recognised or functioning government in place and the presence of the ADF is based upon a United Nations Security Council resolution, this would also be a relevant consideration. 

104.            Where it is necessary but not possible for the Military Court to sit in a place outside Australia to hear and determine the proceeding or a part of the proceeding, subclause (5) provides that the proceeding is taken to be discontinued and the charge to have been withdrawn from the Military Court.  The note to this subclause clarifies that, in these circumstances, charges may be dealt with under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 by the residual court martial and Defence Force magistrate system (see General Outline of this Bill).  Under that Act, a court martial or Defence Force magistrate could then deploy to a place outside Australia to hear and determine the charge. 

Clause 52 - Manner in which Military Court may be constituted

105.            Subclause (1) provides that the Military Court, in exercising its original jurisdiction, may be constituted by a single Federal Magistrate, a single Judge or the Full Court.  Subclauses (2) and (3) provide that the Full Court consists of three Judges sitting together but if one of the Judges dies, resigns or otherwise becomes unable to continue as a member of the Full Court once a hearing has commenced, the Full Court may be constituted by the remaining two Judges with the consent of the parties.  These provisions are modelled on subsections 14 (1), (2) and (3) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

106.            Subclauses (4) and (5) respectively provide that the Military Court constituted by one or more Judges or a Federal Magistrate may sit and exercise the jurisdiction of the Court notwithstanding that the Court constituted by one or more other Judges or another Federal Magistrate is at the same time sitting and exercising the jurisdiction of the Court.  These provisions are consistent with subsection 14(6) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Clause 53 - Arrangement of the business of the Military Court

Responsibility of Chief Justice

107.            This clause gives the Chief Justice specific responsibility for arranging the business of the Military Court and, after appropriate consultation with other Judges and Federal Magistrates, the business of the Judges and Federal Magistrates who are to constitute the Military Court in any matter or any class of matters.  This would include assigning caseloads to particular Judges or Federal Magistrates, making arrangements to temporarily restrict a Judge or Federal Magistrate to non-sitting duties and to provide Judges and Federal Magistrates with access to judicial education, as part of the Chief Justice’s overall responsibility for ensuring the effective, orderly and expeditious discharge of the Court’s business.

108.            Subclause (3) provides that the Chief Justice has the same protection and immunity when exercising these powers or performing these functions as if he or she were exercising or performing those powers or functions as a member of the Military Court.  This means that judicial immunity applies to the Chief Justice in making arrangements to discharge the Court’s business so that he or she is protected from personal liability for exercising these functions. 

109.            Subclause (4) provides that the Federal Court does not have jurisdiction with respect to a matter relating to arrangements made by the Chief Justice in carrying out the business of the Court.  The Federal Court might otherwise have such jurisdiction under section 39B of the Judiciary Act 1903 .  This means that proceedings cannot be brought against the Chief Justice in the Federal Court for exercising or performing his or her powers or functions in this regard.

110.            These provisions are consistent with section 15 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Arrangements for Judges or Federal Magistrates who hold other judicial offices

111.            This clause makes provision for judicial officers in other federal courts to be made available by arrangement for work in the Military Court.  Such inter-curial arrangements will be made between the Chief Justice of the Military Court and the head of jurisdiction of the other federal court.  These provisions are modelled on subsections 15(2) and (3) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976

Clause 54 - Exercise of powers of Military Court in Divisions

112.            This clause provides that Judges of the Military Court must exercise the powers of the Court in the Appellate and Superior Division, while Federal Magistrates of the Military Court must exercise the powers of the Court in the General Division.  This corresponds to the assignment of Judges and Federal Magistrates to these respective Divisions (clause 13).  This clause reflects the intention for certain matters to be heard in each Division, according to the structure of the Military Court (clause 10) and subject to the responsibilities of the Chief Justice to manage the Military Court’s business (clause 53).

113.            Subclause (3) confirms that the validity of any exercise of power by the Military Court otherwise than in accordance with these arrangements is not affected.

Clause 55 - Military Court divided in opinion

114.            This clause provides that judgments of the Full Court are to be pronounced according to the opinion of the majority of Judges, where the Judges constituting the Full Court are divided in opinion for the purposes of any proceeding.  Where the Judges are equally divided in opinion, the opinion of the Chief Justice or the next most senior Judge is to prevail.  However, in an appeal from a judgment of the Military Court constituted by a single Judge or Federal Magistrate, a Full Court equally divided in opinion will affirm the judgment appealed from.  These provisions are consistent with section 16 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Clause 56 - Exercise of jurisdiction in open court and in Chambers

115.            Subclause (1) provides that the Military Court will generally exercise its jurisdiction in open court.  However, certain matters set out in subclause (2) may be dealt with by a Judge or Federal Magistrate in Chambers.  These matters are interim and pre-trial matters, and any other matter prescribed by the Military Court Rules.

116.            Subclause (3) allows a Judge or a Federal Magistrate to order that a proceeding in Chambers be adjourned into court.

117.            Subclause (4) allows the Military Court to order that a proceeding in open court be adjourned into Chambers if, apart from this subclause, the jurisdiction of the Military Court may be exercised by a Judge or Federal Magistrate sitting in Chambers in that proceeding.

118.            The Military Court may also make orders under subclause (5) to exclude the public or persons specified by the Military Court from a sitting of the Military Court, if satisfied that it is in the interests of justice or national security to do so.  National security is defined in section 8 of the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 to mean Australia’s defence, security, international relations or law enforcement interests.

119.            This clause is consistent with section 17 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

Division 3 - Other matters

Clause 57 - Making of orders and issuing of writs

120.            This clause gives the Military Court the power to make orders and issue writs, as appropriate, for matters in which it has jurisdiction.  See also clause 176 which provides that an order of the Military Court must be in writing or reduced to writing as soon as practicable.  This clause is consistent with section 23 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976

Clause 58 - Costs not to be awarded

121.            This clause provides that the Military Court cannot award costs in a proceeding except as provided in clause 109.

122.            This reflects the traditional position that the Crown neither pays nor recovers costs in proceedings for a charge of an offence.

123.            Clause 109 provides for the Military Court to award costs in respect of appeals.    

Clause 59 - Powers of Military Court extend to whole of Australia

124.            This clause provides that the process of the Military Court runs, and the judgments of the Military Court have effect and may be executed both within and outside Australia.  The provision is consistent with section 18 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 , in so far as it applies within Australia.   The extension of the Military Court’s powers outside Australia is necessary where the Military Court decides to sit at a place outside Australia to determine a proceeding or part of proceeding in respect of a charge of a service offence (clause 51).



  Clause 60 - Prerogative of mercy unaffected

125.            This clause provides that nothing in Part 4 or 5 abrogates or affects the prerogative of mercy.  This is consistent with section 31B of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 and also consistent with the way service offences are dealt with under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 , as stated in section 189 of that Act.

Clause 61 - Contempt of court

126.            Subclause (1) provides that, subject to any other Act, the Military Court has the same power to punish contempt of its power and authority as is possessed by the High Court in this regard.

127.            Subclause (2) specifies that the jurisdiction of the Military Court to punish contempt may be exercised by the Military Court as constituted at the time of the contempt.

128.            These provisions are consistent with section 31 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976

Part 5 - Original jurisdiction of the Military Court

129.            Part 5 of the Bill establishes the original jurisdiction of the Military Court.  This Part is modeled on Division 1A in Part III of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Division 3 of Part 5 deals with the conduct of proceedings in the original jurisdiction of the Military Court.  Division 4 of Part 5 deals with pre-trial matters in proceedings before the Military Court.  It includes a system of pre-trial hearings to narrow the range of issues that will have to be dealt with at trial and to reduce the length of trials.  It also includes a disclosure regime between the parties to ensure that the accused person knows the case against them and that any matters and facts which are not in dispute are identified at an early stage so that the trial can concentrate on matters which are genuinely in dispute.

Division 1 - Introduction

Clause 62 - Guide to this Part

130.            This clause sets out a guide to Part 5 of the Bill.  The guide will assist readers to understand the purpose and content of the Part, and to more easily navigate through the Part to find relevant provisions. 

Division 2 - Original jurisdiction

Clause 63 - Original jurisdiction of the Military Court

131.            This clause confers on the Military Court original jurisdiction to hear and determine charges of service offences.  Service offences within the Military Court’s original jurisdiction are contained in the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .

132.            The Military Court may also be vested with original jurisdiction by other Acts.  This can be done by express provision or by the operation of section 15C of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 to a provision that authorises a proceeding to be instituted in the Military Court in relation to a matter.  In particular, the Military Court will be vested with original jurisdiction to try service offences which would otherwise be heard by a summary authority under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 , on the up-front election of the accused person or on referral by the service tribunal.  This will be provided for by amendment to the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 , in the Military Court of Australia (Transitional and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012.

133.            The original jurisdiction of the Military Court will include any jurisdiction vested in it to hear and determine appeals from decisions of persons, authorities or tribunals other than courts.  In particular, the Military Court will be vested with original jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals, on questions of law, from certain determinations of courts martial and Defence Force magistrates.  The residual role for courts martial and Defence Force magistrates is expected to be very limited - they will only be able to hear matters where the Military Court determines that it is necessary for a trial to be conducted overseas but also that it is not possible for the Military Court to deploy (see clause 51 for place of sitting).  The residual role of courts martial and Defence Force magistrates is provided for in the Military Court of Australia (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012.

134.            Subclause (2) provides that the Military Court will not have original jurisdiction to hear or determine charges of custodial offences.  These offences are established in section 54A of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 and relate to persons in detention under that Act.  This is because the punishments that apply to custodial offences under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 are more appropriately administered by a summary authority under that Act.

Clause 64 - Charges of service offences not to be dealt with on indictment

135.            This clause provides that charges of service offences are to be dealt with otherwise than on indictment.  This means that they will not be tried before a jury.  This is consistent with the determination of service offences under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 , which also does not provide for trial by civilian jury.  Amendment of that Act to reflect the status of service offences and make clear the intent that service offences are not to be tried on indictment is contained in the Military Court of Australia (Transitional and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012.  

136.            The Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 complements, and does not replace, the criminal law in force in Australia. Under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 , jurisdiction is restricted to the prosecution of service offences, in circumstances in which prosecution can reasonably be regarded as substantially servicing the purpose of maintaining or enforcing service discipline.  Offences the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 provides for are service offences.  Sometimes, conduct which is a service offence may also constitute a serious criminal offence.  If conduct is to be prosecuted as a criminal offence, service personnel, like civilian citizens, will be afforded trial by jury if prosecution is   of a criminal offence by a civilian Director of Public Prosecutions   on indictment.  

Clause 65 - Exercise of original jurisdiction

137.            Subclauses (1) and (2) provide that the original jurisdiction of the Military Court is to be exercised by a single Federal Magistrate in the General Division, unless the proceeding is for the trial of a charge of a serious service offence prescribed in Schedule 1, or an appeal from a decision of a court martial or Defence Force magistrate or a question of law referred to the Full Court under Schedule 3 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  In these cases, the original jurisdiction of the Military Court is to be exercised in the Appellate and Superior Division. 

138.            The Chief Justice may also direct that a proceeding be heard and determined in the Appellate and Superior Division.  For example, if a person is charged with a number of offences, including offences prescribed under Schedule 1 and other non-Schedule 1 offences, the Chief Justice may direct that all the charges be dealt with together in the Appellate and Superior Division. 

139.            Service offences listed in Schedule 1 are those that go to the very core of maintaining discipline in the ADF such as offences relating to operations against the enemy, mutiny, desertion and ordering the commission of a service offence.  It also contains offences for which the most serious penalties can be imposed under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .   This clause ensures that charges of the most serious service offences prescribed in Schedule 1 are heard by Judges, as well as charges which the Chief Justice considers appropriate for Judges to hear and determine, while less serious service offences are tried by Federal Magistrates.    

140.            A single Judge will exercise the original jurisdiction of the Military Court in the Appellate and Superior Division, in respect of a Schedule 1 offence or a proceeding which the Chief Justice has directed to be heard in that Division (subclause (3)).  However, appeals from a court martial or Defence Force magistrate will be heard by the Full Court in the Appellate and Superior Division (subclause (4)).  The note under subclause (4) states that certain applications relating to an appeal to the Military Court from a determination of a court martial or a Defence Force magistrate under Schedule 3B of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 may be heard and determined by a single judge.  

141.            Subclause (5) defines a Schedule 1 offence as an offence against a provision of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 that is specified in the table in Schedule 1.  It also includes an ancillary offence in relation to an offence specified in the table in Schedule 1 that was committed by a person at a time when the person was a defence member or a defence civilian.  This provision makes it clear that, in these circumstances, an ancillary offence is also a service offence.

142.            Subclause (6) defines an ancillary offence, in this sense, as meaning an offence against section 11.1, 11.4 or 11.5 of the Criminal Code (attempt, incitement and conspiracy) or section 6 of the Crimes Act 1914 (accessory after the fact). 

Clause 66 - Referral of proceedings from one Division to another

143.            Subclause (1) allows the Chief Justice, on application by a party or on his or her own initiative, to refer a proceeding pending in one Division of the Military Court to the other Division.  However, a Schedule 1 offence or an appeal under Schedule 3B of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 cannot be referred to the General Division (subclause (2)) because those offences can only be heard in the Appellate and Superior Division (clause 65).

144.            Subclause (6) sets out certain matters which the Chief Justice must take into account when deciding whether to refer a proceeding between Divisions.  This includes the seriousness of the service offence, the complexity of the matters raised by the proceeding, the wishes of the parties and the interests of the administration of justice.  The Military Court Rules may also make provision in relation to the referral of proceedings from one Division to another (subclause (4)) and set out additional factors to be considered by the Chief Justice (subclause (5)).

145.            If the Chief Justice refers a proceeding to the other Division, the Chief Justice may impose such conditions on the referral as he or she considers necessary pending the disposal of the proceeding (subclause (7)).  A decision by the Chief Justice to refer or not to refer a proceeding between Divisions cannot be appealed (subclause (8)).

Division 3 - Instituting proceedings

Clause 67 - Instituting proceedings in the Military Court

146.            This clause sets out the procedure for instituting proceedings in the original jurisdiction of the Military Court for the trial of a charge of a service offence.  Subclause (1) requires the proceedings to be instituted in accordance with the Military Court Rules.  Subclause (2) requires the Military Court, on the referral of a charge by the DMP to the Military Court, to issue a summons to the person charged with a service offence to appear before the Military Court on a date and at a time and place specified in the summons.

Clause 68 - Condonation of service offence not to prevent institution of proceeding

147.            This clause provides that condonation of a service offence does not prevent a proceeding being instituted in the Military Court in respect of the service offence.  This is consistent with the way service offences are dealt with under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 , as stated in section 143 of that Act.

Clause 69 - Charge sheet may include charge of alternative offence

148.            This clause provides that a charge sheet for a service offence can also include alternative offences against an accused person.  It is modelled on section 23BA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  This gives flexibility in a case where it is not clear what findings the Military Court will make but where more than one finding will support a conviction.  The Military Court can be given the option of finding the accused person guilty of one or other of the alternative offences.  For example, an accused person may be charged as a principal to an alleged offence or, in the alternative, as a person who has aided and abetted the offence.

149.            The Military Court will have power to direct that one or more counts be removed from a charge sheet if it considers that it would be unfair for the trial to proceed on the charge sheet as filed.

Clause 70 - Single charge sheet can cover multiple accused persons

150.            This clause provides that a single charge in a charge sheet can cover more than one accused person for the same service offence if the charge is founded on the same or essentially the same alleged facts for each accused.  It is modelled on section 23BB of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

151.            This will provide flexibility to draft a charge sheet in a case where it is alleged that more than one person was party to an alleged offence.  It is not necessary to have a lengthy charge sheet repeating the same allegations against each accused person.  This provision may be used if, for example, it is alleged that more than one accused person was a party to the same service offence.  The DMP will still need to prove its case separately against each accused person and the Military Court will need to reach a separate verdict against each accused. 

152.            The provision ensures that, when appropriate, all relevant and related issues can be dealt with in one trial before the Military Court.  The Military Court will have power under clause 81 to prevent unfairness to the accused person.

Clause 71 - Separating one or more accused persons from a single charge

153.            This clause is modelled on section 23BC of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) gives the Military Court power to direct that one or more of the accused person included in a single charge in a charge sheet be tried separately, either in the same proceedings but on a different charge in the same charge sheet or in a separate trial, if satisfied that it is expedient to do so in the interest of justice.

154.            Subclauses (2) and (3) give the Military Court power to make an order either before or after a trial has commenced and power to make any other orders that it considers appropriate in the circumstances.

Clause 72 - Single charge sheet can include multiple charges

155.            This clause is modelled on section 23BD of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides that a single charge sheet may include charges for more than one service offence against a single accused person if they are founded on the same alleged facts or they relate to a series of alleged service offences of the same or similar character or purpose.

156.            Subclause (2) provides that a charge sheet may include charges against any number of accused persons for the same or different service offences if they are founded on the same or substantially the same alleged facts or they relate to a series of alleged service offences of the same or similar character or purpose.

157.            These provisions give flexibility to draft a charge sheet in a case where one or more persons are alleged to have engaged in a course of unlawful conduct.  They ensure that, when appropriate, all relevant and related issues can be dealt with in one trial before the Military Court.  The Military Court will have power under clause 73 to prevent unfairness to the accused person.

Clause 73 - Separating one or more charges from a single charge sheet

158.            This clause is modelled on section 23BE of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) gives the Military Court power to direct that one or more of the charges in a charge sheet be tried separately in separate proceedings if satisfied that it is expedient to do so in the interest of justice.  Any separate trial will have to take place under a new charge sheet.

159.            Subclauses (2) and (3) give the Military Court power to make an order either before or after a trial has commenced and power to make any other orders that it considers appropriate in the circumstances.

160.            This may occur if, for example, the Military Court considers that a charge sheet covers so many service offences or so many accused persons, that it would be unfair to allow a matter to proceed as a single trial.

Clause 74 - Amending charges

161.            This clause sets out the rules for when the DMP can amend a charge sheet that has been filed in the Military Court or replace a charge sheet.  It is modelled on section 23BH of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

162.            Under subclause (1) the DMP can amend or replace a charge included in a charge sheet at any time before a trial commences.  The procedure for amending or replacing a charge will be set out in the Military Court Rules (see clause 189 for the power to make Rules). 

163.            Subclause (2) provides that once a trial has commenced the DMP can only amend or replace a charge included in a charge sheet with the leave of the Military Court.

164.            Subclause (3) provides that if the DMP replaces a charge included in a charge sheet the Military Court must dismiss the replaced charge.

165.            Subclause (4) provides that if a charge included in a charge sheet is amended or replaced, the Military Court may make such orders as it thinks appropriate in the circumstances.  For example, if a charge sheet is amended to remove a charge against the accused person, the Military Court could discharge the accused in relation to that charge.

166.            Subclause (5) makes it clear that this clause does not affect the amendment of a charge under other provisions of this Part.  Examples of such provisions are clause 84 (the Military Court may amend a charge included in a charge sheet to remove a defect objected to by the accused person), clause 87 (a charge will be taken to have been amended if the DMP advises the Military Court that the accused has entered guilty pleas to some counts in satisfaction of others) and clause 88 (a charge will be taken to have been amended if a guilty plea is made in relation to a different service offence capable of being supported by a charge included in the charge sheet).

Division 4 - Pre-trial matters

Clause 75 - Pre-trial hearings

167.            This clause sets out a procedure for pre-trial hearings before the Military Court.  Subclause (1) provides that the DMP and the accused person must attend a pre-trial hearing before the Military Court on the date and at the time and place notified by the Military Court.  At the hearing, the accused person may enter a plea to each charge that relates to the accused person (subclause (3)).

168.            Subclause (2) gives the Military Court power to order the parties to attend further pre-trial hearings.  The Military Court will be able to use that power to explore the scope for narrowing the range of issues that will have to be dealt with at trial.

169.            Subclause (4) provides power for the Military Court to make orders and determinations during a pre-trial hearing for the efficient management and disposal of a trial of the charge of a service offence.

170.            Subclause (5) sets out a non-exclusive list of the orders that can be made by the Military Court during a pre-trial hearing and is designed to avoid doubt about whether, for example, the Military Court can make orders at the pre-trial stage that will govern the conduct of the trial.  Among other things, the Court can make orders in relation to the admissibility of evidence and on any legal issues which are likely to arise at trial. 

171.            The Military Court will also have power to rule on an objection to the charge or a submission that the trial should not proceed for any other reason.  This would include a claim of autrefois acquit (previously acquitted for the same offence), autrefois convict (previously convicted of the same offence) or a pardon.

172.            Subclause (6) has the effect that any ruling made in the pre-trial process will be binding at a trial, irrespective of which Judge or Federal Magistrate has made the ruling, unless the Military Court is satisfied that applying the ruling would be contrary to the interests of justice.

173.            Subclause (7) has the effect that an accused person who wants to object to a charge or submit that the trial should not proceed for any other reason must normally raise their objection in the pre-trial process.  This subclause provides that if a matter covered by paragraph (5)(a) or (d) was not raised during the pre-trial hearings, it cannot be raised at trial unless the Military is satisfied that not to do so would be contrary to the interests of justice.

174.            This clause is modelled on sections 23CA, 23CB and 23CC of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .   These provisions are designed to ensure that pre-trial procedures can be used effectively by the Military Court to narrow the range of issues that will have to be dealt with at trial and to reduce the length of trials.  The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that the Military Court is in a position to take control of the proceedings at an early stage and that it is made clear from that stage whether the accused person pleads guilty or not. 

175.            This clause does not prevent the Military Court from conducting the pre-trial hearing immediately before the trial.  This might be done to minimise the costs that would be incurred by the parties when attending at the Military Court on different days for pre-trial and trial hearings, particularly where the parties would incur substantial travel expenses.  It may be appropriate for the pre-trial and trial hearings to be conducted consecutively where the proceeding is not particularly complex, or where the exigencies of service might make this preferable and the parties agree to do so.  

Clause 76 - Pre-trial and ongoing disclosure

176.            This clause gives the Military Court power to make orders for disclosure by the DMP.  The disclosure regime only applies if the Military Court makes an order under this clause.  This clause is adapted from section 23CD of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

177.            If the Military Court makes an order for disclosure by the DMP in accordance with clause 77, the Military Court may order ongoing disclosure obligations on the DMP in accordance with the Military Court Rules.  Orders for ongoing disclosure might be made to account for any additional material that comes into the possession of the DMP after formal disclosure has been completed, or the fact that the DMP may decide to alter the basis on which it will present its case.

178.            Subclause (3) requires the accused person to give notice if he or she intends to raise a defence of alibi or adduce evidence that the accused person was suffering from mental impairment.  Procedures of this kind are common in State and Territory court proceedings and are similar to proceedings before a service tribunal under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 , as provided by section 145A of that Act.  This will ensure that the DMP gets notice of the relevant matter before trial so that the issue can be properly tested at trial.  The accused person is also required to provide copies of any reports prepared by expert witnesses, which the accused person proposes to call at the trial.  These are the only circumstances in which an accused person is required to disclose details of a proposed defence.

179.            The pre-trial disclosure provisions have two purposes.  The first is to ensure that the accused person knows the case against them and has access to any unused material which is potentially relevant to responding to that case.  The second is to ensure, as far as possible, that any matters and facts which are not in dispute are identified in advance of the trial so that the trial can concentrate on matters which are genuinely in dispute.

Clause 77 - Disclosure of case for the prosecution

180.            This clause outlines what the DMP must disclose if the Military Court makes an order under clause 76.  However, the list of matters in this clause is not exhaustive.  The notice of the prosecution’s case can include other matters.  This clause is modelled on section 23CE of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

181.            The DMP must provide a notice of the prosecution’s case, which includes an outline that sets out the facts, matters and circumstances on which the case is based.  The DMP must provide copies or access to the material it intends to rely on.  The DMP must also disclose any material which it does not intend to use but which is potentially relevant to the case of the accused person or that might adversely affect the reliability or credibility of a prosecution witness.  The DMP can meet these obligations in relation to unused material by giving copies of the material to the accused person or by giving the accused person details of the material which are sufficient to enable the accused person to determine if it wants to see the material.  The latter procedure may be used if the relevant material is voluminous or sensitive.  If the accused person asks for access, a decision can be made on whether to allow access and, if so, in what form.  If necessary, the DMP can seek a direction from the Court.

182.            The DMP must also provide a list of any material that is not in his or her possession but which the Director reasonably believes may be relevant to the accused person’s case.  The DMP must also provide a copy of any information, document or other thing that is adverse to the accused person’s credit or credibility.

183.            In most cases the DMP will already have disclosed part or all of this material to the accused person.  Clause 80 makes it clear that information which has already been disclosed does not have to be disclosed a second time.

184.            This clause is designed both to ensure that as many issues as possible are resolved at the pre-trial stage and that the DMP makes full and proper disclosure to the accused person of material that it does not rely on but which has the potential to help the accused person. It does not impose an obligation on the DMP to speculate about what defences the accused person may plan to run.  The obligation in relation to unused material is to disclose information, documents or things in the possession of the DMP that the Director reasonably believes may be relevant to the accused person’s case.  Material relevant to the accused person’s case is evidence that is capable of undermining the prosecution’s case and/or assisting the accused person’s case.  The clause does not require the DMP to consider fanciful or unrealistic defences that the accused person may want to run.

Clause 78 - Copies of things need not be provided if impractical etc.

185.            This clause is modelled on section 23CI of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It makes it clear that a party does not have to provide a copy of a thing under the disclosure regime if it is unlawful, impossible or impracticable to provide a copy.  However, under subclause (2), the party must allow the other party a reasonable opportunity to inspect the thing.

186.            This clause will apply if, for example, an exhibit cannot be easily copied, not easily obtained, or to obtain or access the exhibit would be dangerous or if it would be an offence for the other party to possess a copy.  As offences heard by the Military Court may arise from operational situations, provision of safe access to information or things may be a pertinent consideration in the operation of this clause.

Clause 79 - Personal details need not be provided

187.            This clause protects personal details of potential prosecution witnesses.  It is modelled on section 23CJ of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

188.            Subclause (1) provides that nothing in the disclosure regime requires the DMP to disclose the address or telephone number of a witness or other living person, unless that information is relevant to the issues in the trial or the Military Court makes an order directing disclosure. Subclause (2) provides that the Military Court must not make an order for disclosure unless it is satisfied that the accused person has a legitimate need for the information and that, if the disclosure is likely to present a risk to a person’s safety or welfare, the accused person’s need for the information outweighs that risk.

189.            Subclause (4) gives the DMP authority to delete these details, or render them illegible, before providing material to the accused person.

190.            This clause recognises that there may be cases where potential prosecution witnesses may be at risk of intimidation and that, in most cases, the accused person does not need personal details of this kind to prepare for trial.

191.            Subclause (3) provides that the clause does not prevent the disclosure of an address if the disclosure does not identify it as a particular person’s address or if it could not reasonably be inferred from the matters disclosed that it is a particular person’s address.

192.            When a witness gives evidence at trial, the Military Court will have power under clause 167 to make any orders that may be needed to protect the witness.

Clause 80 - Things need not be disclosed to a party more than once

193.            This clause is modelled on section 23CK of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It makes it clear that a party does not have to disclose anything under the disclosure regime which has already been disclosed, either during the proceeding or any proceeding relating to a service offence founded on alleged facts that are the same or substantially the same as those for a service offence being prosecuted in the current proceeding.

Clause 81 - Consequences of disclosure requirements

Orders to ensure non-compliance does not unfairly affect the other party

194.            This clause is modelled on section 23CM of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It deals with sanctions if a party fails to comply with its obligations under the disclosure regime.  It provides an incentive for both parties to cooperate with the Military Court to resolve as many issues as possible at the pre-trial stage.

195.            A disclosure regime is only likely to work effectively if the parties are prepared to cooperate and the Military Court is prepared to make orders to support compliance.  The DMP will normally have an incentive to comply with disclosure obligations, because of the risk that the Military Court may not allow the trial to proceed but the accused person may not have the same incentive.  The accused person may, in fact, be concerned that complying even with limited obligations that are imposed on an accused person has the potential to prejudice their position at trial.  This clause gives the Military Court a range of powers to encourage compliance and imposes a range of potential sanctions that can be imposed if a party does not comply.

196.            Subclause (1) provides that the Military Court may make such other orders as it thinks appropriate in the circumstances in relation to a party’s failure to comply with an order under clause 76.  This might include any or all of the following orders:

  • that evidence not be admitted
  • that a party not be allowed to call an expert witness
  • that a party be allowed to tender a statement or other document as evidence of its contents
  • that the accused person not be able to take issue with a fact, matter or circumstance, and
  • grant an adjournment to a party.

197.            Subclause (2) provides that the Military Court must ensure that any order it may make under this clause does not result in an unfair trial.

Certain evidence cannot be adduced at trial unless there is earlier disclosure

198.            Subclauses (3) and (4) confirm that the accused person must seek the leave of the Military Court to adduce evidence in relation to an alibi or mental impairment if the accused person has failed to provide notice of particulars to the DMP (subclause 76(3) requires the accused person to tell the DMP that they intend to produce supporting evidence of alibi or mental impairment and to provide notice of particulars prepared in accordance with the Military Court Rules).

Clause 82 - Restricting further disclosure of disclosed material

199.            This clause is modelled on section 23CN of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It restricts the things that can be done with material that is disclosed under the disclosure regime.  This is an important provision designed to protect persons whose rights and interests may be prejudiced by material released under the disclosure provisions.

200.            The clause applies to material disclosed by either party.  The clause refers to such material as ‘protected material’.

201.            Subclause (2) makes it an offence for a person who has access to protected material (described as an ‘entrusted person’) to disclose the material to another person.  The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 2 years.

202.            Subclause (3) sets out a number of exceptions to the prohibition to ensure that the protected material can be used for appropriate purposes and that the protection does not apply too widely.  They are that the disclosure is for the purposes of the proceedings; the Military Court has given leave for the disclosure; the disclosure happens for the purposes of, or in connection with, the performance of the duties of the entrusted person’s official employment; or the material has been lawfully disclosed in open court by, for example, being adduced in evidence.

203.            A defendant will bear an evidential burden in relation to a matter in subclause (3).  That is appropriate given the practical difficulties that would face the prosecution if it was required to prove that none of the exceptions applied in a particular case, given the range of matters covered by the exceptions.  The defendant will know why he or she made the relevant disclosure, and in what circumstances, and should have no difficulty in discharging an evidential burden if their conduct fell within one of the exceptions.

204.            The term ‘official employment’ is defined in subclause (5).  It means employment as the DMP, the Defence Minister, a person appointed by the Governor-General in relation to the prosecution, a person performing services for any one of those persons, or a person exercising the powers or performing the functions of the DMP.

Clause 83 - Restricting admissibility of disclosed material as evidence in other proceedings

205.            This clause is modelled on section 23CO of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It limits the use which can be made of material that has been disclosed under the disclosure regime.  It protects the position of an accused person who discloses prejudicial information and of a person whose rights may be affected if information disclosed by the DMP can be used in evidence.

206.            Subclause (1) gives the Military Court power to order that some or all of the material is not admissible in any court or before a person authorised to hear evidence.  A party can apply for an order under subclause (1) at the time it discloses material or a later time.

207.            Subclause (2) provides that a subclause (1) order will cease to have effect if, during the primary proceedings, the material is lawfully disclosed in open court. 

208.            Subclause (3) modifies the operation of the clause.  It gives the Military Court power to set aside or vary an order made under subclause (1), and allow material to be used in later proceedings, if the Military Court is satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to do so.  An application for an order under subclause (3) can be made by any interested person.  That term is not defined.  It covers any person who can satisfy the Military Court that they have an interest in having the order set aside or varied.  It may, for example, be the DMP who wants to use the material in a later prosecution, or it may be a party in civil proceedings who wants to use the material to establish a civil claim.

209.            If there is an application under subclause (3) the Military Court will balance the public interest in allowing the material to be used in evidence against the public interest in ensuring that a person does not suffer undue prejudice because material that would otherwise be confidential has been disclosed under the disclosure regime.

210.            Subclause (4) provides that, before making an order under subclause (3), the Military Court may direct that notice of the application for the order be given to such persons as it thinks fit or be published in such manner as it thinks fit, or both.  That provision is needed because an application for an order under subclause (3) may relate to material that affects the rights of a person who is not a party to the later proceedings.

211.            It is possible, for example, that a party to a civil action may want to use material that was disclosed by the DMP in an earlier proceeding.  The Military Court may consider that the DMP should be given an opportunity to make submissions before deciding whether to allow the material to be used in the civil proceedings.

Clause 84 - Objecting to charges

212.            This clause is modelled on section 23CP of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) sets out the grounds on which an accused person may object to a charge in a charge sheet.  They are: a formal defect apparent on the face of the charge sheet, the Military Court lacks jurisdiction, autrefois acquit (previously acquitted for the same offence), autrefois convict (previously convicted of the same offence), or a pardon.

213.            The note to subclause (1) clarifies that the effect of clause 75 is that the objection must be raised during a pre-trial hearing unless the Military Court allows otherwise.

214.            Subclause (2) sets out the things the Military Court can do if it upholds an objection to a charge in a charge sheet.  They include dismissing the count in relation to the accused person, discharging the accused person in relation to the count, and making such other orders as it thinks appropriate including, for example, orders in relation to bail and custody.

215.            Subclause (2) also provides that the Military Court can make an order allowing the charge to be amended if the objection relates only to a formal defect apparent on the face of the charge sheet.

Division 5 - Matters relating to pleas, the trial and verdicts

Clause 85 - Practice and procedure applicable to the trial

216.            This clause is modelled on section 23FB of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides that the rules of practice and procedure that apply at trial are those in force at the time the charge is referred to the Military Court, or those in force at another time if the Military Court so orders.

217.            The effect is that if a procedural rule changes after a charge sheet has been referred, the Military Court will apply the old procedure and not the new one at a trial unless it makes an order to the contrary.  The Military Court may make an order to the contrary if, for example, a change to a procedural rule has the potential to benefit the accused person or to shorten a trial in a way that does not significantly affect the accused person.

218.            This clause ensures that an accused person will not suffer prejudice if changes are made to a procedural rule after a charge sheet has been filed and proceedings have commenced before the Military Court.

Clause 86 - Entering pleas

219.            This clause is modelled on section 23FD of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides that the accused person may enter a plea of guilty, or not guilty, to a charge in the charge sheet.

220.            The effect of subclause (2) is that the accused person is taken to have entered a plea of not guilty if the accused person fails to enter a plea when directed by the Military Court.  An accused person who says nothing will have failed to enter a plea.

221.            Subclause (3) makes it clear that an accused person may both enter a plea to a charge and object to the charge.  The fact that an accused person pleads not guilty to a charge in a charge sheet does not mean the accused person is taken to have accepted that the charge is legally valid or effective.

Clause 87 - Pleading to some charges in satisfaction of other charges

222.            This clause provides that it is open to the DMP and the accused person to agree that the accused person will plead guilty to some charges in the charge sheet and the DMP will accept the plea in satisfaction of all charges in the charge sheet.  In that situation, the charge is taken to be amended so that no other charge in the charge sheet covers the accused person.

223.            The effect is that the plea of guilty can be accepted by the Military Court without need to amend the charge and, if the plea is accepted, the Military Court will not have to make any orders in relation to the outstanding charges in the charge sheet.

Clause 88 - Pleading to different service offences capable of being supported by charge included in charge sheet

224.            Subclause (1) ensures that it is open to the DMP and the accused person to agree that the accused person will plead guilty to a charge of a service offence that is not specified in the charge sheet and the DMP will accept the plea in satisfaction of the charge.  That can be done without amending the charge sheet if the matters alleged in the charge sheet can support an allegation that the accused person committed the other service offence.  The Military Court will also need to have jurisdiction to try the person for the other service offence.

225.            Subclause (2) provides that, for the purposes of the Bill, the charge sheet is taken to have always included a charge against the accused person for the service offence.

226.            If the accused person proposes to enter a plea of guilty to a service offence that cannot be supported by the matters alleged in the charge sheet, the DMP will need to amend the charge sheet under clause 74 to include a charge for the service offence.

Clause 89 - Changing pleas

227.            This clause provides for changing of pleas by an accused person.  It is modelled on section 23FG of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976

Accused person may change plea

228.            Subclause (1) provides that an accused person may change his or her plea in accordance with this clause.

Changing plea to guilty

229.            Under subclause (2), an accused person who has entered a plea of not guilty in relation to a charge in the charge sheet, can change the plea to guilty.  The Military Court has power under clause 91 to reject the change of plea in the interests of justice.

Changing plea to not guilty

230.            Under subclause (3) an accused person who has entered a plea of guilty in relation to a charge in the charge sheet can only change the plea to not guilty if the Military Court gives leave.  The Military Court will need to be satisfied that there are good reasons why the accused person should be allowed to change a plea from guilty to not guilty.  However, there may be a basis for changing a plea if, for example, a court delivers judgment in another case which shows that the accused person pleaded guilty on the basis of a mistaken view of the law.  The Military Court can grant leave at any time before the Military Court imposes a sentence on the accused person in relation to an offence.

231.            Subclause (4) applies if the accused person is given leave to change a plea from guilty to not guilty.  The Military Court must direct that the accused person be put on trial in relation to the charge and can make such orders as to pre-trial matters as it thinks appropriate.

232.            The Military Court will be able to make orders under Division 4 to ensure that there is a pre-trial process before the matter goes to trial.

Clause 90 - Military Court’s verdict if no case to answer

233.            This clause is modelled on section 23FH of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It gives the Military Court power to rule that there is no case to answer for a charge in the charge sheet after the close of the DMP’ case and before the Military Court delivers its verdict for the charge.  If the Military Court finds the accused person has no case to answer in relation to a charge the Military Court must enter a judgment of acquittal and discharge the accused person in relation to that charge.

Clause 91 - Consequences of guilty pleas and guilty verdicts

234.            This clause provides for the consequences of guilty pleas and guilty verdicts in the Military Court.  It is modelled on section 23FJ of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976

Guilty pleas

235.            Subclause (1) provides that if the accused person pleads guilty, either from the outset or by way of change of plea, the Military Court must accept the plea unless either it gives leave to the accused person to change the plea to not guilty or it would be contrary to the interests of justice to accept the plea of guilty.  The latter situation may arise if, for example, the Military Court is satisfied that the accused person does not understand the consequences of the plea.

236.            Subclause (2) provides that if the Military Court does not accept a plea of guilty the plea has no further effect and the accused person is taken to have entered a plea of not guilty to the charge.

Consequences of guilty verdict or acceptance of guilty plea

237.            Subclause (3) applies if the Military Court accepts a plea of guilty for a charge in the charge sheet.  The Military Court is taken to have found the charge proven in relation to the accused person and the accused is taken to be convicted of the service offence covered by the charge.  There is no need for the Military Court to formally announce that the accused person has been convicted. 

238.            Subclause (4) applies if the Military Court finds an accused person guilty of a service offence covered by a charge in the charge sheet or a plea of guilty is accepted for a charge in the charge sheet in relation to an accused person.  The Military Court must proceed to sentence the accused person in relation to the service offence, although it can adjourn the proceedings before doing so.  If the charge has an alternative offence included in the charge sheet in relation to the accused person, the Military Court must discharge the accused in relation to the charge of the alternative offence.

239.            Subclause (5) applies if the accused person is subsequently given leave to change a plea of guilty to a plea of not guilty.  The charge is taken not to have been found proven and the accused person is taken not to have been convicted.  The Military Court must cease any relevant sentencing proceedings to the extent that those proceedings relate to the plea of guilty and any alternative counts on the charge sheet will be taken not to have been discharged.

240.            Subclause (6) provides that paragraphs (3)(b) and (4)(a) do not apply where the Military Court makes an order under section 19B of the Crimes Act 1914 in relation to an accused person Section 19B of the Crimes Act 1914 provides that, in appropriate circumstances, a court can deal with a matter without proceeding to conviction.  Paragraph (3)(b) deems an accused person to have been convicted of a service offence where a plea of guilty is accepted by the Military Court.  Paragraph (4)(a) requires the Military Court proceed to sentence the accused person in relation to the service offence if the Military Court finds an accused person guilty of a service offence covered by a charge in the charge sheet or a plea of guilty is accepted for a charge in the charge sheet in relation to an accused person.  Subclause (6) has the effect of removing the deemed conviction of an accused person who has entered a plea of guilty in circumstances where the Military Court has ordered that no conviction need be recorded.  

241.            The note to the subclause clarifies that the Military Court may make an order under section 19B of the Crimes Act 1914 .

Clause 92 - Consequences of not guilty verdicts

242.            This clause is modelled on section 23FK of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides that, if the Military Court finds an accused person not guilty of a service offence covered by a charge in the charge sheet, the Military Court must acquit and discharge the accused person in relation to the charge.

Part 6 - Appellate jurisdiction of the Military Court

243.            Part 6 of the Bill establishes the appellate jurisdiction of the Military Court.  This Part is modelled on Division 2A of Part III of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Division 2 of Part 6 deals with matters relating to bringing appeals and the constitution of the Military Court in exercising its appellate jurisdiction.  Division 3 of Part 6 sets out the powers which the Military Court has in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.  Division 4 of Part 6 provides for cases to be stated and questions to be reserved for consideration by the Full Court and other matters.

Division 1 - Introduction

Clause 93 - Guide to this Part

244.            This clause sets out a guide to Part 6 of the Bill.  The guide will assist readers to understand the purpose and content of the Part, and to more easily navigate through the Part to find relevant provisions.

Division 2 - Bringing appeals

Clause 94 - Allowable appeals

245.            The right to appeal has been a recognised feature of previous military justice systems within the ADF. 

246.            This clause provides that the Military Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from judgments or decisions of the Military Court constituted by a single Judge or a Federal Magistrate exercising the original jurisdiction of the Military Court.  The Court’s original jurisdiction may be exercised by Federal Magistrates in the General Division or Judges in the Appellate and Superior Division (clause 52).

247.            This clause also provides that the Military Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from judgments of the Military Court under Part 8 (which deals with custody).  This may include appeals from orders of the Military Court for the forfeiture of securities provided for an accused person’s bail (clause 129).

Clause 95 - Leave to appeal

248.            This clause is modelled on section 30AB of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides that an appeal cannot be brought from a decision of the Military Court at first instance unless the Full Court or a Judge gives leave to appeal or the appeal involves a question of law alone or relates to bail.

249.            The requirement for leave to appeal is designed to ensure that the Military Court’s time is devoted to consideration of meritorious appeals.  An appeal that involves a question of law alone does not normally take as long to resolve as one that requires the Military Court to consider matters of fact and to review evidence.

Clause 96 - Who may appeal

Appeal by accused person

250.            This clause is modelled on section 30AC of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides that the accused person can apply for leave to appeal or bring an appeal in relation to a judgment or decision referred to in clause 94, as appropriate. 

Appeal by Director of Military Prosecutions

251.            This clause provides that the DMP can apply for leave to appeal or bring an appeal in relation to a judgment or decision referred to in clause 94, as appropriate, except in relation to a judgement that acquits the accused person or an order that the person is unfit to be tried, or a judgment that acquits the accused person on the basis of mental impairment at the time of committing the service offence. 

252.            This clause has the effect that the DMP will not be able to appeal an acquittal of an accused person.  The DMP will, however, have the ability to refer a question of law arising from a trial that resulted in an acquittal to the Full Court for its determination, but that determination will not affect the acquittal itself (see clause 112).

Clause 97 - Time for appealing

253.            This clause is modelled on section 30AF of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It se ts the time limits in which a notice of appeal or an application for leave to appeal must be filed.

254.            Subclause (1) clarifies that the clause applies to the filing of an application of leave to appeal under paragraph 105(a), a notice of appeal under paragraph 105(a) for an appeal involving a question of law alone, or a notice of appeal under paragraph 105(b) in relation to a judgement or decision of the Military Court.  Clause 94 provides for allowable appeals to the Military Court. 

255.            Subclause (2) provides that the application for leave to appeal, or the notice of appeal before the end of 30 days, and clarifies when time starts running.  A party will have 30 days in which to apply for leave to appeal, or to file a notice of appeal (if they do not need leave).  However, in the case of appeal against conviction, the effect of subclause (2) is that the 30 days will not start running until the accused person is sentenced.  This recognises that an accused person who has been convicted may want to focus on the sentencing proceedings before they focus on whether there are grounds to appeal against conviction.  In the case of an appeal against acquittal, in the limited cases where an appeal is possible, the 30 days will start running from the day the accused person is discharged.  Where the appeal is in relation to bail or an interlocutory judgment, the 30 days will start running from the day the judgment or decision was made.

256.            Time limits will apply in relation to each application specified in the clause. 

257.            Subclause (3) gives the Military Court power to extend time if it is satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to do so.

Clause 98 - Exercise of appellate jurisdiction

258.            This clause is modelled on section 30AE of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976

259.            Subclause (1) provides t hat an appeal from a judgment or decision of a single Judge must be heard by a Full Court .  Subclause (2) provides that an appeal from a judgment or decision of a single Federal Magistrate must be heard by a Full Court or, if the Chief Justice considers it appropriate, a single Judge. This clause is modelled on a similar provision in section 11(4) of the Victorian Supreme Court Act 1986 which provides for giving discretion to the Chief Justice to have some appeals to the Full Court heard by a single Judge.

260.            Subclause (3) provides that these requirements for exercise of appellate jurisdiction in subclauses (1) and (2) have effect subject to additional requirements in subclauses (4) and (6).

261.            Subclause (4) applies to an application for: leave to appeal, an extension of time to file a notice of appeal or apply for leave to appeal, leave to amend grounds of appeal or for the stay of an order made by a Federal Magistrate.  Any of these applications must be heard and determined by a single Judge unless the Judge directs that the application be heard and determined by a Full Court; or the application is made in a proceeding that has already been assigned to a Full Court, and the Full Court considers it is appropriate for it to hear and determine the application.

262.            Subclause (5) deals with applications for a range of ancillary orders including an interlocutory order pending, or after, the determination of an appeal to the Military Court; an order that an appeal be dismissed for want of prosecution or failure to comply with a direction of the Court; or an order for directions about the conduct of an appeal.  Subclause (6) provides that any of these applications must be heard and determined by a single Judge unless the Judge directs that the application be heard and determined by a Full Court; or the application is made in a proceeding that has already been assigned to a Full Court, and the Full Court considers it is appropriate for it to hear and determine the application.

263.            Subclause (7) provides that the Rules may make provision enabling applications to be dealt with without an oral hearing, either with or without the consent of the parties.

Clause 99 - Stay of proceedings and suspension of orders

264.            This clause is modelled on section 30AK of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) gives power to the Military Court to make an order to stay or otherwise affect the operation or implementation of an order arising from a decision which is the subject of an appeal.  The order can be made on such conditions, if any, as the Military Court thinks fit.

265.            Subclause (2) makes it clear that this clause does not affect the operation of any other Act or the Military Court Rules in relation to the stay or suspension of orders.

Clause 100 - Right to attend

266.            This clause is modelled on section 30AG of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It gives a party to an appeal, including the accused person, a right to be present at the hearing of the appeal unless the Military Court orders otherwise; or the Military Court directs or allows the party to appear by way of video link, audio link or other appropriate means.  This clause recognises that there may be problems in allowing an accused person to attend a court hearing in person if, for example, the appeal is an appeal against inadequate sentence and the accused person is in custody.

Clause 101 - Practice and procedure applicable to the appeal

267.            This clause is modelled on section 30AH of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides that the rules of practice and procedure that apply during an appeal are those in force at the time the notice of application for leave to appeal was filed.  Alternatively, if there is no need for leave, then those rules of practice and procedure in force when the notice of appeal was filed will apply, or those in force at another time if the Military Court so orders.

268.            The effect is that if a procedural rule changes after the appeal process has commenced, the Military Court will apply the old procedure and not the new one during the appeal unless it makes an order to the contrary.  The Military Court may make an order to the contrary if, for example, a change to a procedural rule has the potential to benefit the accused person.

269.            This clause ensures that an accused person will not suffer prejudice if changes are made to a procedural rule after the appeal process has commenced.

Clause 102 - Evidence on appeal

270.            This clause is modelled on section 30AI of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides that, when considering an appeal, the Military Court must have regard to the evidence given in the proceedings out of which the appeal arose and may draw inferences of fact from that evidence.

271.            Subclause (1) also provides that the Military Court can receive further evidence if satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to do so and can receive that further evidence on affidavit; by video link, audio link or other appropriate means permitted under Division 5 of Part 11 or permitted under another Commonwealth law; or by oral examination before the Court or a Judge.  This does not compel the Military Court to receive further evidence in a matter.  The Military Court may decline to receive further evidence if, for example, the failure to adduce the evidence during the trial is not satisfactorily explained.

272.            Subclause (2) provides that if the Military Court decides to receive further evidence by oral examination, the Military Court can direct that the evidence be taken by a single Judge and can have regard to the findings of that Judge in relation to that evidence.

Clause 103 - Prison sentence does not include time on bail

273.            This clause is modelled on section 30AL of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It makes it clear, for the avoidance of doubt, that if a person who has been convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment appeals and is released on bail pending the determination of the appeal, time spent on bail does not count as part of the term of imprisonment to which the person has been sentenced.

Division 3 - Powers of Military Court on appeal

Clause 104 - Military Court may give such judgment as is appropriate

274.            This clause is modelled on section 30BA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It gives the Military Court general power to dismiss or allow an appeal and to take such other action as it thinks appropriate in the circumstances when exercising its appellate jurisdiction.

275.            Clauses 105 to 108 provide examples of orders the Military Court can make when it upholds an appeal.  Those examples are included to avoid doubt that the orders which can be made do not restrict the general power of the Military Court under this clause.

Clause 105 - When to allow appeals

276.            This clause is modelled on section 30AJ of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It sets out the criteria that must be satisfied before the Military Court can uphold different types of appeal.

Appeals against conviction

277.            Subclause (1) provides that the Military Court must allow an appeal against conviction if the Military Court is satisfied that there was a wrong decision of any question of law or that there has been a substantial miscarriage of justice.

278.            However, subclause (2) provides that the Military Court may dismiss an appeal on the first of these grounds if the Court is satisfied that there has not been a substantial miscarriage of justice.  This ensures that a conviction will not automatically be set aside purely on the basis of an error or irregularity.

Appeals against sentence

279.            Subclause (3) provides that the Military Court must allow an appeal against a judgment sentencing the accused person if the Military Court is satisfied that some other sentence (whether more or less severe) is warranted in law.  This means that the Military Court can either decrease or increase a sentence if a party appeals and the Military Court is satisfied that some other sentence was warranted in law.  The Military Court has the power, in an appropriate case, to increase a sentence even if the accused person has appealed but the DMP has not.  Similarly, the Military Court has the power, in an appropriate case, to decrease a sentence even if the DMP has appealed but the accused person has not.

Other appeals

280.            Subclause (4) provides that the Military Court may allow any other appeal if the Military Court is satisfied it is in the interests of justice to do so.

Clause 106 - Allowing appeals against convictions

281.            This clause is modelled on section 30BB of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976.  It provides that, if the Military Court allows an appeal against conviction of a service offence, it can (among other things) set aside the conviction, acquit the accused person or find the accused guilty of an alternative service offence (within the meaning of section 142 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 ).  The Military Court does not have to order a new trial if it allows an appeal against conviction.

Clause 107 - Allowing appeals against sentences

282.            This clause is modelled on section 30BC of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides that, if the Military Court allows an appeal against sentence it can (among other things) increase or decrease the sentence or substitute a different sentence.

Clause 108 - Allowing appeals against bail, bail forfeiture or interlocutory judgments and decisions (including about custody)

283.            This clause is modelled on section 30BG of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It applies if the Military Court allows an appeal against a judgment in relation to bail, bail forfeiture or against an interlocutory judgment (including about custody).  If the Military Court allows the appeal it can (among other things) set aside the judgment or decision, vary the appealed decision, substitute a new judgment or decision, or make orders about custody or bail.  A bail judgment can be varied by, for example, imposing, removing or varying conditions on which bail was granted.

Clause 109 - Costs

284.            This clause provides discretion for the Military Court to award costs of an appeal in certain circumstances.  Clause 58 provides that the Military Court may not otherwise award costs in proceedings. 

285.            Subclauses (1) and (2) relate to appeals by an accused person.  If the Military Court allows an appeal by an accused person, the Court has discretion, if it considers appropriate, to order the Commonwealth to pay to the accused person such amount as the Military Court considers to be reasonably sufficient to compensate the accused person for expenses properly incurred by him or her in the prosecution of his or her appeal and any proceedings preliminary or incidental to the appeal or in carrying on his or her defence against the charge or charges out of which the appeal arose. 

286.            Conversely, if the Military Court dismisses an appeal, or application for special leave to appeal, by an accused person, the Court has discretion, if it considers it appropriate, to order the accused person to pay to the Commonwealth the whole or any part of the costs of the appeal or application. 

287.            Subclauses (3) and (4) relate to appeals by the DMP.  If the Military Court allows an appeal by the DMP, the Court has discretion, if it considers appropriate, to order the accused person to pay to the Commonwealth the whole or any part of the costs of the appeal. 

288.            Conversely, if the Military Court dismisses an appeal, or application for special leave to appeal, by the DMP, the Court has discretion, if it considers it appropriate, to order the Commonwealth to pay to the accused person such amount as the Military Court considers to be reasonably sufficient to compensate the accused person for expenses properly incurred by him or her in responding to the appeal and any proceedings preliminary or incidental to the appeal or in carrying on his or her defence against the charge or charges out of which the appeal arose. 

289.            Powers to award costs in the Military Court are similar to powers of the Defence Force Discipline Appeals Tribunal under section 37 of the Defence Force Discipline Appeals Act 1955 in the interim military justice system, and take into account the extended ability of appeal of the DMP in the Military Court. 

290.            Clause 178 provides for the recovery of an amount due and payable under an order made by the Military Court.  This would include an order made under subclauses (2) or (3).

Clause 110 - New trials

291.            This clause is modelled on section 30 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It gives the Military Court, when granting a new trial on appeal, the power to impose such conditions on a party as are just and direct such admissions to be made by a party for the purpose of the new trial.

292.            Subclause (2) specifies that, if the Military Court grants a new trial, it may do so either generally or on particular issues only, as it thinks just, and may order that evidence of a witness examined at the former trial may be used in the new trial in the manner provided in the order.

Division 4 - Other matters

Clause 111 - Cases stated and questions reserved

293.            This clause is modelled on section 26 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) gives a single Judge or a Federal Magistrate of the Military Court the power to state any case or reserve any question concerning a matter for the consideration of a Full Court.  The matter must be one with respect to which an appeal would lie to the Military Court. 

294.            Subclause (2) gives the Full Court jurisdiction to hear and determine the case or question.

Clause 112 - Questions referred after trial

295.            This clause is modelled on section 30CB of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It gives the DMP the power to bring a precedent appeal where an accused person has been acquitted on the basis of a ruling of law which the DMP wants to test on appeal.  The Full Court has jurisdiction to hear the appeal, and rule on the legal issue.  The ruling will not affect the person’s acquittal but will clarify the legal issue for future cases.  In Mellifont v Attorney-General (Qld) (1991) 173 CLR 289, the High Court held that there is no Constitutional impediment to a federal court hearing a precedent appeal despite the fact that the outcome of the appeal will not affect the position of the acquitted person.

296.            Subclause (1) provides that the DMP may apply to the Military Court for leave to refer a question of law to a Full Court for its determination if a judgment of the Military Court acquits a person following a trial for a service offence.

297.            Subclause (2) provides that, if leave is granted, both the DMP and the acquitted person may make submissions to the Full Court.  In some cases, the acquitted person may take no interest in the proceedings but in others the person may want to make submissions because they consider that the rulings made at the trial were correct.

Subclause (3) makes it clear that a determination made by the Military Court on the question of law does not affect the person’s acquittal.

Part 7 - Appeals to the High Court

Clause 113 - Appeals to the High Court

298.            This clause is modelled on section 33 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) prevents appeals to the High Court from a judgment of a single Judge or Federal Magistrate of the Military Court in its original jurisdiction.  Those appeals may be heard by the Full Court or a Judge of the Military Court in its appellate jurisdiction

(clause 98).

299.            Subclause (2) allows appeals to the High Court from a judgment of a Full Court, either in the original or appellate jurisdiction of the Military Court, with special leave from the High Court. 

300.            Similarly, subclause (3) allows appeals to the High Court from a judgment of a single Judge exercising the appellate jurisdiction of the Military Court, with special leave from the High Court. 

301.            Subclause (4) prevents appeals to the High Court from judgments of a Full Court of the Military Court exercising the original jurisdiction of the Military Court, if the judgment is a decision to join or remove a party or to adjourn, expedite or vacate a hearing date or not to do any of those things.

302.            Subclause (5) prevents appeals to the High Court from a judgment of the Military Court (whether constituted by a Full Court or a single Judge) in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, in relation to a range of determinations, decisions and orders specified in paragraphs (a) to (h).

303.            Subclause (6) makes clear that, for the avoidance of doubt, a party may appeal from a final judgment in proceedings before the Military Court on the basis of an interlocutory judgment of the Military Court made in the proceeding, even if there has been or can be no appeal to the High Court from that interlocutory judgment.  It also clarifies that the High Court may take account of the interlocutory judgment in determining the appeal or an application for special leave to appeal from the final judgment.

304.            Where an appeal from the Military Court is brought to the High Court, the jurisdiction of the High Court in this regard is to be exercised by a Full Court consisting of not less than 3 Justices (subclause (7)).

305.            The restricted nature of appeals to the High Court emphasises the role that the Military Court will have as the exponent of military law.

Part 8 - Custody and Bail

306.            The Military Court will have powers to remand an accused person in custody, make recognizance orders and grant bail from the point when an accused person first appears before the Military Court.  The majority of this Part of the Bill is modelled on Part VIB of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .

307.            There is no provision for the Military Court to make an order dispensing with bail.  The Military Court may grant bail but not impose conditions other than a condition to appear.

Division 1 - Introduction

Clause 114 - Guide to this Part

308.            This clause sets out a guide to Part 8 of the Bill.  The guide will assist readers to understand the purpose and content of the Part, and to more easily navigate through the Part to find relevant provisions.

Division 2 - Custodial matters

Clause 115 - Arrangements for accused person if proceedings adjourned

309.            This clause is modelled on section 15 of the Crimes Act 1914 .  It gives the Military Court power to remand an accused person in custody for such period as the Military Court considers necessary, where a proceeding in respect of a charge of a service offence is adjourned.  That can be done if there is no bail order or, if there is a bail order, the accused person cannot be released on bail by operation of clause 108 (bail undertakings).  If an accused person is remanded in custody it must be by way of a warrant. 

310.            The Military Court also has the power to order the discharge of the accused person upon his or her entering into a recognisance conditioned for his or her appearance at the time and place appointed for continuing the proceeding.

Division 3 - Granting Bail

Clause 116 - Applying for bail

311.            This clause is modelled on section 58DA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides that at any stage during a proceeding in respect of the charge of a service offence (including an appeal), the accused person can apply to the Military Court for bail.

312.            Subclause (2) provides that if the Military Court refuses to grant bail to the accused person for a service offence, the accused cannot apply again for bail for the service offence unless there has been a significant change in circumstances since the refusal.  This means that an accused person who is not satisfied with a decision refusing bail can appeal against that decision but cannot make a fresh application for bail unless there has been a significant change in circumstances since the refusal.

Clause 117 - Granting bail

313.            This clause is modelled on section 58DB of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) gives the Military Court the power, by order, to grant bail to the accused person for one or more service offences.  A bail order will normally be for a period specified in the order.  It may, for example, require the accused person to appear before the Military Court on a specified day or on the occurrence of a specified event such as the day notified by the Military Court as the day when a trial has been listed to commence.

314.            Subclause (2) sets out certain matters which the Military Court must consider when deciding whether to grant bail.  This is in addition to the matters set out in section 15AB of the Crimes Act 1914 , which the Military Court must also take into account in this regard.  The relevant matters set out in this Act are:

·                 whether the accused person will appear in court if bail is granted

·                 the interests of the accused person

·                 the protection of any other person

·                 the protection and welfare of the community, including whether there is a risk that the accused person will commit offences if bail were granted

·                 whether there is a risk that the accused person will approach witnesses or attempt to destroy evidence, and

·                 the service requirements of the ADF.

Clause 118 - Bail may be granted subject to conditions

315.            This clause is modelled on section 58DC of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides that a bail order may be made unconditionally or subject to one or more specified conditions.

316.            Subclause (2) sets out a non-exclusive list of conditions that can be imposed.  They are:

  • the accused person reside at a specified place
  • the accused person report to a specified person at a specified place at a specified time or times
  • the accused person surrender any passport held by the accused and agree not to approach a point of international departure
  • the accused person provide security in the form of money, or other property, for forfeiture if the accused fails to appear before the Military Court in accordance with the accused’s bail undertaking, and
  • one or more other specified persons provide security in the form of money, or other property, for forfeiture if the accused person fails to appear before the Military Court in accordance with the accused’s bail undertaking.

317.            Subclause (3) provides that money or other property deposited with the Military Court or otherwise provided as security must be dealt with by the Military Court in accordance with the Military Court Rules.

Clause 119 - Bail to be stayed pending appeal

318.            This clause is modelled on section 58DD of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976

319.            Subclause (1) applies if the Military Court makes a bail order and the DMP requests the Military Court to stay the bail order pending appeal.  The effect of the clause is to stay the bail order for 48 hours in these circumstances so that the accused person will be remanded in custody.

320.            Subclause (2) provides for the stay of the bail order to continue if a notice of appeal from the bail order is filed within the initial 48 hours provided under subclause (1).  If the stay of the bail order continues under subclause (2), it will continue until the first occurring of the circumstances listed in paragraphs (a), (b) or (c) being that:

  • the appeal is finally disposed of
  • the DMP withdraws the appeal in accordance with the Military Court Rules, and
  • Full Court Orders, under subclause (2), that the stay of the bail order be set aside.

321.            The stay of the bail order will cease if the DMP fails to file a notice of appeal within 48 hours.  Ceasing the stay of the bail order will allow the accused person to be released on bail. 

322.            Subclause (3) requires an appeal from the making of the bail order to be dealt with as quickly as possible where the DMP makes a request to stay the bail order pending appeal under paragraph (1)(b).

323.            Subclause (4) requires the Military Court to order remand of an accused person in custody for the duration of the stay of the bail order.  The duration of the stay of the bail order may vary in accordance with the above subclauses. Subclause (5) provides that an order under subclause (4) may be signed by any Judge or Federal Magistrate, the Registrar or any Deputy Registrar of the Military Court.

324.            This clause provides for a mechanism through which an accused person can remain in custody if there is a flight risk and there is a genuine question about whether bail should have been granted.  It is expected that the DMP would use this provision rarely.

Clause 120 - Bail undertakings etc.

325.            This clause is modelled on section 58DE of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides, for the avoidance of doubt, that if the Military Court grants bail to the accused person, the accused can only be released on bail if the accused has signed a bail undertaking in the required form, any third party surety has signed an undertaking in the required form and any security that is required to be deposited has been deposited.

326.            Subclause (2) sets out the things that must be included in a bail undertaking given by an accused person.  They are:

  • an undertaking by the accused person to appear in person before the Military Court in accordance with the bail order and to promptly notify the Military Court if the accused person changes his or her residential address, and
  • an undertaking by the accused person to comply with the specified conditions, if any, on which bail has been granted.

327.            Subclause (3) provides that a bail undertaking, and any third party security undertaking, must be expressed to cover the period for which bail was granted and each period for which bail may be continued.  If bail is continued, all relevant undertakings will continue in force even if one or more of them is expressed to apply for a limited time and that time has expired.

328.            Subclause (4) provides that the Registrar must cause the parties to be given a copy of the accused person’s bail undertaking and any third party security undertaking made in relation to the accused’s bail.  This provision resolves any doubt about whether the DMP is entitled to a copy of the relevant undertakings.

Clause 121 - Effect of granting bail

329.            This clause is modelled on section 58DF of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides that if an accused person is released on bail under Part 8, the accused person is entitled to be at liberty in respect of the service offence in accordance with the accused’s bail undertaking.  However, this does not mean the accused person must be released if he or she is being held in custody for some other service offence.

330.            Subclause (2) notes that subclause (1) is subject to a stay under clause 107.  If an order is made under clause 107 that stays a bail order pending appeal, the accused person is not entitled to be released on bail while that order is in force.

Clause 122 - Seeking discharge from undertaking to give security

331.            This clause is modelled on section 58DG of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) gives a person who has provided a third party security undertaking the right to apply to the Military Court to be discharged from liability under the undertaking.

332.            Subclause (2) provides that, if there is an application and the accused person has not already failed to appear before the Military Court in accordance with the accused person’s bail undertaking, the Military Court must direct that the person be discharged from his or her liability, unless satisfied it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so.  This constitutes a mechanism for a person who has provided a third party security undertaking to withdraw it if, for example, they are no longer confident that the accused person will answer bail.

333.            If the accused person has already failed to appear before the Military Court in accordance with the accused’s bail undertaking, it will be too late for a third party to apply to be released from their security.

334.            If the Military Court releases a third party from their security this will trigger a reconsideration of the accused person’s bail under Division 4, in which event the accused must be brought before the Military Court.

Clause 123 - Dealings with property given as security for bail

335.            This clause is modelled on section 58DH of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  This clause makes it an offence for a person who has signed a bail undertaking or a third party security undertaking, and who has undertaken to forfeit security other than money if the accused person does not appear before the Military Court, to dispose of or otherwise deal with that security with the intention of preventing the forfeiture of the security, or to destroy the security, or to reduce its value.  The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 2 years.

Division 4 - Reconsidering bail orders

Clause 124 - Reconsidering bail—discharge of security or accused person fails to comply with bail undertaking

336.            This clause is modelled on section 58EA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It applies if the Military Court gives a direction that releases a third party from a security undertaking or if the DMP applies for a bail order to be varied or revoked on the basis that the accused person has failed to comply with a bail undertaking.

337.            Subclause (2) provides that the Military Court must cause the accused person to be brought before the Military Court in accordance with the Military Court Rules.

338.            In a case where the accused person failed to appear before the Military Court in accordance with the accused’s bail undertaking, the DMP may also be able to commence forfeiture proceedings under clause 128.

339.            Subclause (3) gives the Military Court power to vary or revoke the bail order.

340.            Subclause (4) requires that, in deciding whether to vary or revoke the bail order, the Military Court must consider the matters set out in subclause 117(2).  This means that, if the Court is deciding whether to vary or revoke bail, it must consider the same matters it would be required to consider if it was deciding whether to grant bail.

Clause 125 - Reconsidering bail—change in circumstances

341.            This clause is modelled on section 58EB of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) gives the Military Court power to vary or revoke an accused person’s bail order if the Military Court is satisfied that there has been a sufficient change in circumstances since the making of the bail order.  The Military Court must consider the matters set out in subclause 117(2).  This means that, if the Military Court is deciding whether to vary or revoke bail, it must consider the same matters it would be required to consider if it was deciding whether to grant bail.

342.            Subclause (2) gives the Military Court power to refuse to hear an application for an order to vary or revoke bail without a hearing if the Military Court is satisfied that the application is frivolous or vexatious.  That may be the case if, for example, an accused person who has been granted bail but is dissatisfied with the conditions of bail makes repeated applications for an order varying the conditions which the Military Court is satisfied is unlikely to succeed.

Clause 126 - Consequences if bail is varied or revoked

343.            This clause is modelled on section 58EC of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides, for the avoidance of doubt, that if the Military Court varies the accused person’s bail, the accused can only be released on bail if the accused has signed a new bail undertaking in the required form, any third party surety has signed a new undertaking in the required form and any security that is required to be deposited has been deposited.  Subclause (1) would not require someone to sign a new security undertaking if, under the order as varied, it is no longer a condition of bail for that person to provide security.

344.            Subclause (2) provides that if the Military Court revokes the accused person’s bail, the Military Court has power to cause the accused to be committed to prison in accordance with the Military Court Rules.

Division 5 - Further consequences if accused person fails to appear in accordance with bail undertaking

Clause 127 - Offence for failing to appear before the Military Court

345.            This clause is modelled on section 58FA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It makes it an offence for an accused person to give the Military Court a bail undertaking and subsequently fail to appear before the Military Court in accordance with the bail undertaking.  The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 2 years.  If an accused person fails to answer bail, their bail will also potentially be reconsidered under Division 4.

346.            Part 2.3 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 provides defences which may apply to a person who fails to appear before the Military Court in accordance with a bail undertaking.  A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to those defences.  It is appropriate to apply all the defences under Part 2.3 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 in these circumstances because of the potential range of reasons why a person might fail to answer bail.  Reversal of the onus of proof on the defendant is consistent with the application of subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 .  It is appropriate that the defendant bears the evidential burden for the reasons that a person has not answered bail, as these matters are within the defendant’s knowledge. 

347.            It will not be an offence against this clause for an accused person to breach any other condition of bail other than the requirement to appear before the Military Court when required to do so under a bail undertaking.

Clause 128 - Notice of proposed forfeiture

348.            This clause is modelled on section 58FB of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It applies if the DMP alleges that an accused person failed to appear before the Military Court in accordance with the accused’s bail undertaking and bail security has been given in the matter. 

349.            Subclause (1) gives the DMP power to apply to the Military Court for a direction that the Registrar give one or more notices inviting a person to show cause why a security should not be forfeited.

350.            Subclause (2) provides that the Military Court may direct the Registrar to give a notice to each person who provided security for the accused person’s bail and any other person who the Military Court considers may have an interest in security provided for the accused’s bail.  However, a failure to give notice to a person does not invalidate a forfeiture order if the Registrar made reasonable efforts to serve notice.

351.            Subclause (3) provides that the notice must invite the person to show cause, by filing an objection, why the security should not be forfeited and must contain the particulars set out in the Military Court Rules.  Section 29 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 and section 160 of the Evidence Act 1995 provide for presumptions about when documents or postal articles have been served, depending on circumstances.  There are also provisions dealing with the service of documents in section 28A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .

352.            Subclause (4) provides that an application under subclause (1) cannot be made more than 6 months after the alleged failure to appear before the Military Court.  This means that, if the DMP wants to apply for a forfeiture order on the basis of an alleged failure to answer bail, the proceedings must commence within 6 months.

Clause 129 - Ordering forfeiture

353.            This clause is modelled on section 58FC of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides that the Military Court must order the forfeiture of all specified security provided by a particular person for the accused person’s bail if the Military Court is satisfied that the accused failed to appear before the Military Court in accordance with the accused person’s bail undertaking.

354.            However, under subclause (2) the Military Court may decide not to make a forfeiture order or reduce the amount of the security to be forfeited if satisfied that the accused person had a reasonable excuse for failing to appear or it is in the interests of justice to do so.  The burden of proving these matters, to the civil standard of proof, will rest on the person contesting forfeiture.

355.            Subclause (3) requires that, in deciding whether to make a forfeiture order, the Military Court must consider any objection filed by a person who the Military Court is satisfied either provided security for the accused person’s bail or has an interest in such security. The Military Court is only required to consider the objection if it was filed within 28 days after the person was given a notice under clause 128 or, if the person was not given notice, within 28 days of a notice being given to any person under clause 128.  The objection must contain the particulars set out in the Military Court Rules.

356.            The Military Court may also invite a person who filed an objection to make submissions before deciding whether to make a forfeiture order.

357.            If more than one person has provided a bail security, the Military Court may make separate forfeiture orders.

358.            A dissatisfied party can appeal against a forfeiture order, or a refusal to make a forfeiture order, under clause 94.

Clause 130 - When forfeiture orders take effect

359.            This clause is modelled on section 58FD of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclauses (1) and (2) have the effect that, unless it is set aside on appeal, a forfeiture order takes effect at the end of the time for filing a notice of appeal under clause 97 or, if there is an appeal, when the appeal is finally disposed of.  If a forfeiture order is varied on appeal, it will take effect as varied.

360.            Subclause (3) provides that if a forfeiture order takes effect, the Registrar must give written notice that it has taken effect to the person who provided the security forfeited by the order and each other person, if any, who objected to the making of the order in relation to that security.

Clause 131 - Effect of forfeiture orders

361.            This clause provides for the effect of forfeiture orders.  It is modelled on section 58FE of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976

Security is money held by the Military Court or property other than registrable property

362.            Subclause (1) applies if security specified in a forfeiture order is money deposited with the Military Court or otherwise provided to the Military Court or is property which is not money or registrable property.  In such cases, the security vests absolutely in the Commonwealth at the time the order takes effect.

Security is money not held by the Military Court

363.            Subclause (2) applies if security specified in a forfeiture order is an amount of money that has not been deposited with or otherwise provided to the Military Court.  In such cases, the amount is taken to be a civil debt payable by the person who provided the security to the Commonwealth at the time the order takes effect.  The Commonwealth may enforce the forfeiture order as if it were an order made in civil proceedings against the provider to recover a debt due by the provider and the debt arising from the order is taken to be a judgment debt.  If the undertaking also specified property to secure payment of the amount, the Commonwealth may also enforce the undertaking in respect of that property.

Security is registrable property

364.            Subclause (3) applies if the security specified in a forfeiture order is registrable property.  Registrable property is defined for the purpose of this clause in subclause (5) (see below).  In such cases, the property vests in equity in the Commonwealth but does not vest in the Commonwealth at law until the applicable registration requirements have been complied with.  The DMP may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, do anything necessary or convenient to give notice of, or otherwise protect, the Commonwealth’s equitable interest in the property, for example, registering a caveat.  The Commonwealth is entitled to be registered as the owner of that property and the Military Court may, by order, authorise a person to do, or authorise the doing of, anything necessary or convenient to obtain the registration of the Commonwealth as the owner.

365.            Subclause (4) makes clear that an order under subclause (3) can authorise a person to execute any instrument required to be executed by a person transferring an interest in registrable property.

Meaning of registrable property

366.            Subclause (5) defines ‘registrable property’ for the purpose of the clause.  It means property, title to which is passed by registration on a register kept pursuant to a provision of any law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory.

Division 6 - When bail ends

Clause 132 - Continuing bail orders

367.            This clause is modelled on section 58GA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976

368.            Subclause (1) gives the Military Court power to direct that a bail order previously granted continues to have effect.  This is an alternative to requiring an accused person to make a fresh bail application if the accused has answered bail and the DMP does not oppose a continuation of bail. 

369.            A direction that bail continues will normally specify a period for which bail continues.  Under subclause 120(3), a bail undertaking, and any third party security undertaking, must be expressed to cover the period for which bail was granted and each period for which bail may be continued under subclause (1).

370.            Subclause (2) applies if an accused person appears in accordance with a bail undertaking and the matter is not completed but the Military Court makes no order as to bail.  The Military Court is taken to have made a direction under subclause (1) that the bail order continue to have effect until the accused person’s next scheduled appearance before the Military Court.

371.            This subclause has the effect of allowing for bail to be continued until the next appearance if, for whatever reason, the Military Court does not make an order for bail.  It clarifies the position in favour of the accused person’s right to be at liberty unless the Military Court orders otherwise as to bail.

372.            Subclause (3) provides that, if the Military Court gives a direction for bail to continue, each of the following continues to have effect, subject to any contrary intention in the undertaking and to any variation ordered by the Military Court:

  • the accused person’s bail undertaking, and
  • each third party security undertaking made in relation to the accused person’s bail.

Clause 133 - Bail discharged if the Military Court discharges the accused

373.            This clause is modelled on section 58GB of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides that a bail order ceases to have effect if the Military Court discharges the accused person in relation to all the service offences for which bail was granted.  There is no need in such cases for the Military Court to formally release the accused person from the bail conditions.

Clause 134 - Continuing security undertakings when bail ends

374.            This clause is modelled on section 58GC of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It applies if security was provided for the accused person’s bail and the accused’s bail order is revoked under clause 124 because of a failure by the accused person to appear in accordance with the accused’s bail undertaking.

375.            Subclause (2) provides that, despite the revocation, the accused person’s bail undertaking and each third party security undertaking made in relation to the accused’s bail continue to have effect to the extent to which they relate to the security provided for the accused person’s bail.  This provision is needed to ensure that a bail security does not lapse the moment bail is revoked but remains in force for the time needed to resolve whether the security should be forfeited.

376.            Subclause (3) provides that the continuation of an undertaking to provide security ceases if a forfeiture order cannot take effect in relation to the security and the accused person’s failure to appear, or the Military Court orders the continuation to cease.

377.            A forfeiture order cannot be made unless an application is made within 6 months of the relevant breach of bail (subclause 128(4)).  Clause 130 sets out when a forfeiture order takes effect.

Clause 135 - Returning security when bail ends

378.            This clause is modelled on section 58GD of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides that the Military Court must return a security which has been lodged with the Military Court if the accused person’s bail order ceases to have effect and the security is not still in force through the operation of subclause 134(3).  This does not apply if the security has been forfeited under Division 5 or is being held as security in relation to another bail order.

Division 7 - Other matters

Clause 136 - Admissibility of certain matters

379.            This clause is modelled on section 58HA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It facilitates the proof of certain formal matters relating to bail.  The provisions apply to proceedings in all courts and proceedings including criminal proceedings for offences relating to bail and proceedings for the forfeiture of security.

380.            Subclause (1) makes the following documents admissible as prima facie evidence of their contents in all courts and proceedings:

  • a bail order
  • a bail undertaking
  • a third party security undertaking, and
  • a notice about change of address given by the accused person to the Military Court.

381.            Subclause (2) has the effect that a document referred to in subclause (1) can be proved by tendering a copy of the document certified by an officer of the Military Court without further proof or production of the original.  A certified copy is to be received in all courts and proceedings as prima facie evidence of the original’s contents. 

382.            Subclause (3) has the effect that the following matters can be proved on the basis of a written certificate issued by an officer of the Military Court:

  • a condition specified in a bail order has not been varied or has been varied in a specified way
  • a notice was given under subclause 128(2) to a specified person in a specified way on a specified day
  • an accused person did not appear in person before the Military Court at a specified place or on a specified day or during a specified period
  • the accused person did not notify the Military Court of a change in the accused’s residential address, and
  • the accused person notified the Military Court of a change in the accused’s residential address to a specified address and on a specified day.

383.            Subclause (4) provides that a certificate under subclause (3) is to be received in all courts and proceedings as prima facie evidence of the statements in the certificate.

384.            Subclause (5) provides that a document purporting to be a certificate under subclause (3) is taken to be such a certificate and to have been duly given, unless the contrary is established.

Clause 137 - Indemnifying a person providing security

385.            This clause is modelled on section 58HB of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) makes it an offence for a person who has provided security as a condition of bail, either as an accused person or as a third party, to agree to be indemnified by another person against any forfeiture of that security.  The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 2 years.

386.            Subclause (2) makes it an offence for a person to agree to indemnify another person against any forfeiture of security provided by that other person as a condition of bail.  The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 2 years.

Part 9 - Sentencing and orders

387.            Part 9 of the Bill deals with the sentences and other orders that may be imposed by the Military Court on a person convicted of a service offence.  This Part is modelled on Part IV of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  This will allow consistency in sentencing and the punishment of service offences across proceedings in the Military Court and service tribunals.

Division 1 - Introduction

Clause 138 - Guide to this Part

388.            This clause sets out a guide to Part 9 of the Bill.  The guide will assist readers to understand the purpose and content of the Part, and to more easily navigate through the Part to find relevant provisions.

Division 2 - Sentencing principles

Clause 139 - Sentencing principles

389.            This clause applies section 70 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 (other than subsection 70(5) of that Act) in relation to the conviction of a person by the Military Court.  It allows the necessary substitution of references in that section to a service tribunal for references to the Military Court.  This means that the Military Court will use the same principles of sentencing as those applicable in proceedings before a service tribunal under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  This will allow consistency in sentencing of service offences across proceedings in the Military Court and service tribunals.

390.            The note to this clause clarifies that the Military Court may make an order under section 19B of the Crimes Act 1914 .  Section 19B of the Crimes Act 1914 provides that, in appropriate circumstances, a court can deal with a matter without proceeding to conviction.

Division 3 - Punishments

Clause 140 - Kinds of punishments that may be imposed

391.            This clause is modelled on section 68 of and Schedule 2 to the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  Subclause (1) provides that the Military Court may (subject to this Division) impose one or more punishments on a person who is convicted by the Military Court of a service offence.  The Military Court may also make a good behaviour order in relation to a person who is convicted by the Military Court of a service offence. The order may be made instead of, or in addition to, imposing a punishment on the person (see subsection 20(1) of the Crimes Act 1914 ).

392.            A number of punishments which the Military Court and service tribunals can impose are unique to the military justice system.

  • The effect of the punishment of dismissal is to terminate the member’s service in the ADF.  It is imposed in circumstances where a member is convicted of an offence which by its nature renders the member unfit to continue serving in the ADF.
  • The punishment of detention requires the convicted person to serve a period of time in an ADF detention centre where they undergo a regime intended to restore personal discipline. 
  • Reduction in rank can be imposed when the Military Court is satisfied that the offender, by reason of the offence of which he or she has been convicted, is unfit to remain in his or her present rank in the ADF.  Reduction in rank may be by one or more ranks and causes the reduced member loss of status, authority, privileges and financial loss due to lessened salary and entitlements.  Reduction in rank will also affect the member’s suitability to hold particular rank-contingent appointments or postings.  The punishment of reduction in rank is effective as soon as it is imposed by the Military Court. 
  • Forfeiture of service for the purposes of promotion is a punishment that only has effect on junior officer ranks where promotion is contingent not upon merit, but on time served in rank.  The effect of the punishment is to require the convicted member to serve additional time in rank before being promoted. 
  • Forfeiture of seniority has effect on all members where seniority is used to determine the member’s eligibility for promotion.

393.            Subclauses (2) and (3) set out, in decreasing order of severity, the punishments that may be imposed by the Military Court on an officer of the ADF and other members of the ADF. These include life imprisonment, imprisonment for a specified period, dismissal, reduction in rank, forfeiture of seniority and a fine not exceeding 28 days pay. 

394.            Subclause (2) provides that an officer can also receive the punishment of forfeiture of service for the purposes of promotion.  Subclause (3) confirms that, while a member of the ADF (other than an officer) cannot receive a punishment of forfeiture of service, they can receive the punishment of detention for a period not exceeding 2 years.

395.            Subclause (4) sets out, in decreasing order of severity, the punishments that may be imposed by the Military Court on a person who is not a member of the ADF who is convicted of a service offence.

396.            Subclause (5) provides that the Military Court cannot impose a punishment on a person who is convicted by the Military Court in respect of a service offence that is more severe than the most severe kind of punishment specified in the provision creating that service offence.  This subclause is modelled on section 69 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  It is intended to clarify that, despite the ability of the Military Court under this clause to impose kinds of punishments other than the kind of punishment specified as the maximum punishment in the provision creating the service offence, the Military Court cannot exceed that maximum punishment.  For example, in respect of a service offence with a maximum punishment of 2 years imprisonment, the Military Court may impose one or more less severe punishments, such as detention, reduction in rank or a fine.  But if the Military Court imposes imprisonment, either in addition to another punishment of a different kind or as the sole punishment, the sentence of imprisonment must not exceed the maximum period of 2 years.  Similarly, despite the maximum fine specified in paragraphs (2)(g), (3)(g) and (4)(c), if the maximum fine for a service offence (either specified in the provision creating the service offence or calculated under section 4B of the Crimes Act 1914 ) is lower than as provided in this clause, the lower punishment is to apply.         

Clause 141 - Restrictions on power to impose punishments

397.            This clause is modelled on section 71 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982.  Subclause (1) applies where the Military Court imposes a punishment of imprisonment on a member of the ADF who is convicted by the Military Court of a service offence.  It has the effect of requiring the Military Court to also impose (in respect of that conviction of the member) the punishment of dismissal from the ADF.

398.            Subclause (2) applies where the Military Court imposes a punishment of detention on a non-commissioned officer of the ADF who is convicted by the Military Court of a service offence.  It has the effect of requiring the Military Court to impose (in respect of that conviction of the non-commissioned officer) the punishment of reduction in rank to a rank below non-commissioned rank.

399.            Subclause (3) provides that the Military Court must not impose a sentence of imprisonment on a person who is convicted by the Military Court of a service offence if the person was under 18 years of age at the time of the conviction.

400.            Subclause (4) applies where the Military Court imposes a punishment of dismissal from the ADF on a member who is convicted by the Military Court of a service offence.  It has the effect of preventing the Military Court from also imposing (in respect of that conviction or another conviction of the member) the punishment of detention on that person.

401.            Subclauses (5), (6) and (7) provide that where the Military Court imposes a punishment of reduction of rank, forfeiture of service for the purposes of promotion or forfeiture of seniority, the Military Court must specify the date from which the punishment is to be calculated. This date must not be before the date on which the punishment was imposed.

Clause 142 - Imposition of fines

402.            This clause is modelled on sections 73 and 85 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  Subclause (1) provides that the Military Court must, when imposing a punishment of a fine, specify the fine in the amount of money payable.  

403.            Subclause (2) applies where the Military Court convicts a person of 2 or more service offences and imposes 2 or more punishments, being or including fines.  It provides that the sum of the amounts of those fines must not exceed the amount of the most severe fine that the Military Court could impose on the person for any one of the service offences of which the person has been so convicted. For example, if the most severe fine for one of the service offences of which the person has been convicted is a fine of the amount of the members’ pay for 14 days then the Military Court cannot impose a fine greater than 14 days pay even if the court imposes 2 or more fines for 2 or more service offences.

404.            The Military Court may order that a fine must be paid either in one sum or by instalments (subclause (3)).

405.            A fine is payable to the Commonwealth (subclause (4)).

Clause 143 - Concurrent or cumulative punishments

406.            This clause is modelled on section 74 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  It sets out the various circumstances in which punishments imposed by the Military Court may or must be concurrent or cumulative.

Imprisonment for life and imprisonment for specific period to be concurrent

407.            Subclause (1) requires punishments of imprisonment, where one is for a specific period and the other is for life, to be concurrent.

Provisions relating to 2 or more punishments of imprisonment, or of detention, for a specific period

408.            Subclause (2) provides that the remainder of this clause (subclauses (3) to (6)) only applies to punishments of imprisonment or detention for a specific period. 

409.            Subclause (3) deals with the circumstances in which the Military Court may order that the punishments be cumulative (subject to subclauses (4) and (5)).  Paragraphs (a) to (d) list the various circumstances where the Military Court may impose on a person 2 or more of the same kind of these punishments (either both imprisonment or both detention, for a specific period). 

410.            Subclause (4) applies where the Military Court convicts of a service offence a person who is already subject to a punishment imposed by the Military Court (being a punishment that is suspended in whole or in part) and, on that conviction, revokes that suspension and also imposes another punishment of the same kind on the person.  The subclause restricts the Military Court from ordering punishments to be cumulative if this would subject the person to punishment for a period that exceeds the maximum punishment that it could impose for any of the service offences of which he or she has been convicted by the Military Court.

411.            Subclause (5) requires a punishment of detention, when imposed for a service offence committed while serving such a punishment, to be cumulative (commencing at the end of the period of detention that the person was serving when the service offence was committed).

412.            Subclause (6) provides for a default position where paragraphs (3)(a), (b), (c) or (d) apply in relation to 2 or more punishments imposed on a person by the Military Court.   Where the Military Court does not order that two punishments are to be cumulative (under subclause (3), and subject to subclause (4) and (5), these punishments are to be concurrent.

413.            The note to subclause (6) clarifies that section 19 of the Crimes Act 1914 applies (in addition to this section) to punishments of imprisonment imposed by the Military Court.  Section 19 of the Crimes Act 1914 provides for cumulative, partly cumulative or concurrent sentences involving convictions for federal offences.

Clause 144 - Taking other offences into consideration

414.            This clause is modelled on section 77 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  It allows the Military Court to take into consideration other service offences admitted by a convicted person that are similar to the service offence of which he or she has been convicted.  This is intended to avoid the necessity for a multiplicity of charges and at the same time to enable the convicted person to recommence service or civilian life on completion of sentence without threat of further prosecution.  This may be useful when there is a series of less serious service offences, for example.

415.            Subclause (1) empowers the Military Court to take other offences into consideration as described above, provided the DMP consents.

416.            Subclause (2) provides that the Military Court is not to impose a separate punishment or make a separate good behaviour order in respect of a service offence taken into consideration.  However, a restitution or reparation order may be made (clauses 151 and 152).  In addition, a service tribunal under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 must not impose a separate punishment or order that a conviction be recorded without punishment in respect of service offences taken into consideration by the Military Court.

417.            Subclause (3) provides that, if the Military Court does not take the service offence into consideration, the admission of the service offence is not admissible as evidence in any subsequent proceeding before the Military Court, a service tribunal or civil court in respect of that service offence or civil offence that is substantially the same.

Clause 145 - Commencement of sentences and non parole periods

418.            This clause is modelled on section 16E of the Crimes Act 1914

419.            Subclause (1) is subject to subsections (2) and (3).  It provides that the law of the Jervis Bay Territory relating to the commencement of sentences and of non-parole periods applies to a person who is sentenced by the Military Court for a service offence in the same way as it applies to a person who is sentenced for an offence against a law of that Territory.

420.            Subclause (2) applies where the law of the Jervis Bay Territory has the effect that a sentence imposed on a person for an offence against the law of that Territory, or a non-parole period fixed in respect of that sentence, may be reduced by the period that the person has been in custody for the offence, or is to commence on the day on which the person was taken into custody for the offence.  In these cases, the law will apply in the same way to a sentence imposed by the Military Court on a person for a service offence or to a non-parole period fixed in respect of such a sentence.

421.            Subclause (3) applies where the law of the Jervis Bay Territory does not have the effect mentioned in subsection (2).  In this case, if the Military Court imposes a sentence on a person for a service offence or fixes a non-parole period in respect of such a sentence, it must take into account any period that the person has spent in custody in relation to the service offence.

Division 4 - Suspension of punishments

Clause 146 - Suspension of detention

422.            This clause is modelled on section 78 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  Subclause (1) gives the Military Court power to suspend a punishment of detention.

423.            Subclause (2) deals with cases where 2 or more punishments of detention are imposed on a person in respect of 2 or more service offences.  It prevents the Military Court from suspending, in whole or in part, one punishment unless all the punishments are suspended (in whole or in part).

424.            Subclause (3) provides that, where the Military Court suspends a punishment of detention (in whole or in part), the punishment does not begin to run while the suspension remains in force.

Clause 147 - Suspension of fines

425.            This clause is modelled on section 79 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  Subclause (1) gives the Military Court power to suspend a punishment of a fine (in whole or in part) on a member of the ADF, and subclause (2) makes similar provisions for a person who is not a member.

426.            Subclause (3) provides that, where the Military Court suspends a fine or part thereof, the fine or the suspended part does not take effect while the suspension remains in force.

Clause 148 - Revocation of suspension of punishment

427.            This clause is modelled on section 80 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  It allows the Military Court to revoke a suspension under clause 146 or 147 so that the punishment that was suspended takes effect as if it had been imposed at the time of the revocation.

Division 5 - Remission of punishments

Clause 149 - Remission of suspended punishment

428.            This clause is modelled on section 81 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  It provides for the automatic remission of suspended punishments. 

429.            Subclause (1) provides that, where a member of the Australia Defence Force who is subject to a suspended punishment ceases to be a member, the punishment is remitted.

430.            Subclause (2) provides that, where the suspension of a punishment of detention continues for 12 months or, if the sentence is for a longer period, and the suspension of a punishment of detention continues for that period, then the punishment is remitted.

431.            Subclause (3) provides that, where the suspension of a fine continues for 12 months, the fine (or the suspended part of it) is remitted.

Clause 150 - Remission of punishment of detention on imprisonment

432.            This clause is modelled on section 82 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  It provides that a punishment of detention, whether imposed by the Military Court or a service tribunal and whether suspended or not, is remitted if the convicted person is subsequently sentenced to imprisonment.

Division 6 - Restitution orders and reparation orders

Clause 151 - Restitution orders

433.            This clause is modelled on section 83 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  It enables the Military Court, where a person is convicted of a service offence involving the theft of property, to make appropriate orders for the restoration of the property to its rightful owner.  This clause is restricted to property that is in the custody or control of the DMP because it would be inappropriate for the Military Court to be making orders about property that is in the custody or control of others.

434.            Subclause (1) deals with cases in which the property unlawfully taken has not passed into the hands of an identifiable third party.  Paragraph (a) enables the property to be given back when found in the convicted person’s possession.  Paragraph (b) enables any property obtained by conversion or exchange to be handed back to the rightful owner of the property taken.

435.            Subclause (2) deals with cases in which the property unlawfully taken has been taken in exchange by an identifiable and innocent third party.  It enables the Military Court to order that, on the third party restoring the property unlawfully taken to the rightful owner, the property taken in exchange be restored to the third party.

436.            Subclause (3) ensures that an order may be made in relation to a service offence taken into consideration under clause 154.  Such orders will lapse where the conviction, in respect of which a service offence was taken into consideration, is quashed or set aside (subclause (4)).

437.            Subclause (5) provides that an order under this clause does not prevent a person from pursuing a civil claim.

Clause 152 - Reparation orders

438.            This clause is modelled on section 84 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  It gives the Military Court power to order a convicted person to make financial reparation to a person who sustained loss or damage as a consequence of the service offence.

439.            Subclause (1) allows the Military Court to order the convicted person to pay a just amount to the person who sustained the loss or damage, whether or not a punishment is also imposed.

440.            Subclause (2) gives the Military Court the option of allowing the convicted person to pay the amount by instalments.

441.            Subclause (3) ensures that an order may be made in relation to a service offence taken into consideration under clause 154.  Such orders will lapse where the conviction, in respect of which a service offence was taken into consideration, is quashed or set aside (subclause (4)).

442.            Subclause (5) provides that an order under this clause does not prevent a person from pursuing a civil claim.

Part 10—Persons found unfit to be tried and persons acquitted because of mental impairment

Clause 153 - Unfitness to be tried

443.            This clause applies where the Military Court finds an accused person unfit to be tried in a trial of a charge of a service offence (subclause (1)).

444.            Subclause (2) provides for the orders that the Military Court may make in these circumstances.  The orders that the Military Court may make are to either:

  • dismiss the charge and release the person, or release the person subject to certain conditions (such as that a person attend a person or place for treatment) for a period not exceeding three years (paragraph (2)(a)), or
  • make another other order it considers necessary having regard to the best interests of the accused person, the safety of any other person to whom the order relates and the safety of the community generally (paragraph (2)(b)).  Examples of orders may include, but are not limited to, orders requiring a person to remain at a certain location, or not to leave a certain geographic area.  An order should not be made for detention of a person.

445.            Subclause (3) requires an order under paragraph (2)(b) to specify the period it is to have effect, which must not be more than three years. 

446.            Subclause (4) prevents the Military Court from making an order under section 19B of the Crimes Act 1914 (discharge without conviction) where it makes an order under subclause (2) in relation to the accused person and the service offence.

447.            Subclause (5) gives power to the Military Court to vary or set aside an order made by the Military Court under this clause.  An application to the Military Court to vary or set aside an order under subclause (5) may be made by the DMP or the person to whom the order relates (subclause (6).

Clause 154 - Persons acquitted because of mental impairment at time of conduct constituting service offence

448.            This clause applies where the Military Court acquits an accused person of a service offence because the person was suffering mental impairment at the time of carrying out the conduct constituting the service offence (subclause (1)).

449.            Subclause (2) provides for the orders that the Military Court may make in these circumstances.  The orders that the Military Court may make are to either:

  • release the person, or release the person subject to certain conditions (such as that a person attend a person or place for treatment) for a period not exceeding three years (paragraph (2)(a)), or
  • make another other order it considers necessary having regard to the best interests of the accused person, the safety of any other person to whom the order relates and the safety of the community generally (paragraph (2)(b)). 

450.            Examples of orders may include, but are not limited to, orders requiring a person to remain at a certain location, or not to leave a certain geographic area.  An order should not be made for detention of a person.

451.            Subclause (3) requires an order under paragraph (2)(b) to specify the period it is to have effect, which must not be more than three years. 

452.            Subclause (4) gives power to the Military Court to vary or set aside an order made by the Military Court under this clause.  An application to the Military Court to vary or set aside an order under subclause (4) may be made by the DMP or the person to whom the order relates (subclause (5)).

Part 11 - Practice and procedure

453.            Part 11 of the Bill sets out the practices and procedures of the Military Court.  The majority of this Part is modelled on Part VI of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It also incorporates certain practices and procedures in proceedings before a service tribunal under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  These will be supplemented by the Military Court Rules.  This Part will also operate in conjunction with other Acts such as the Evidence Act 1995 .

Division 1 - Introduction

Clause 155 - Guide to this Part

454.            This clause sets out a guide to Part 11 of the Bill.  The guide will assist readers to understand the purpose and content of the Part, and to more easily navigate through the Part to find relevant provisions.

Division 2 - General

Clause 156 - Practice and procedure to be in accordance with Military Court Rules

455.            This clause is modelled on section 38 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides that, subject to any provision made under this or any other Act, the practice and procedure of the Military Court is to be in accordance with the Military Court Rules.  The Rules of the High Court will apply where the Military Court Rules are insufficient to the extent they are capable of application, and subject to any directions of the Military Court.

Clause 157 - Record of proceedings

456.            This clause is modelled on section 148 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  Subclause (1) requires the Military Court to keep a record of proceedings and requires the inclusion in the record of such particulars as are prescribed by the regulations.

457.            Subclause (2) requires the Registrar to give a copy of the record of proceedings to the Chief of the Defence Force and the DMP.  This is because of the significant role of these parties in the military justice system.  The role of the DMP under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 is to carry on prosecutions in the new military justice system.  The Chief of Defence Force has primary responsibility for the command of the ADF under subsection 9(2) of the Defence Act 1903 .

Order that record not be published

458.            Subclause (3) provides that the Military Court may order that the whole or a specified part of a record not be published if the Military Court considers publication would be contrary to the interests of justice or prejudicial to national security.

Clause 158 - Access to record of proceedings

459.            This clause enables certain parties to be given access to the record of proceedings.  This is consistent with clause 56 which includes a general requirement for the jurisdiction of the Military Court to be exercised in open court.

Application by party to proceedings

460.            Subclause (1) enables a party, or former party, to proceedings other than the DMP to apply to the Registrar for a copy of the record of proceedings.

Application by representative of deceased person

461.            Subclause (2) enables the legal representative of a deceased party (or former party) to proceedings, or person approved by the Registrar as the deceased person’s representative, to apply to the Registrar for a copy of the record of proceedings.

462.            Subclause (3) prevents a Registrar from approving a person as the deceased person’s representative to access proceedings, unless the Registrar is satisfied that the deceased person’s legal representative has declined to make an application for a copy of the record of proceedings under subclause (2).



Record of proceedings to be given

463.            Subclause (4) requires the Registrar to give a copy of the record of proceedings where a person has applied under subclause (1) and (2).

464.            Subclause (5) confirms that this clause does not authorise or require a copy of a record of proceedings, or part of a record, to be given contrary to orders of the Military Court prohibiting such publication.

Proceedings and provision of records not affected

465.            Subclause (6) confirms that this clause does not affect the power of a court to make an order for discovery of documents, the giving of evidence or production of documents in a court, or the provision of copies of records of proceedings to other person entitled to receive them other than under this clause.

Division 3 - Conduct of proceedings

Clause 159 - Accused person to be present at hearing

466.           This clause is modelled on section 139 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .  Subclause (1) provides that a hearing before the Military Court is to take place in the presence of the accused person. 

467.           Where it is impossible to continue the hearing in the presence of the accused person because of his or her disorderly behaviour, subclause (2) provides that the Military Court may order that they be removed.

Clause 160 - Change of venue

468.            This clause gives the Military Court power to order a change of venue at any stage of proceedings.  An order under this clause may specify that the proceeding be conducted in a place inside or outside Australia subject to any conditions imposed by the Military Court.  It is modelled on section 48 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  However, this clause also enables the direction to include conduct or continuation of proceedings in a place outside Australia.  This is because the Military Court may move to a venue outside Australia (see clause 51).

Clause 161 - Formal defects not to invalidate

469.            This clause is modelled on section 51 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides that a proceeding in the Military Court is not to be invalidated by a formal defect or irregularity unless the Military Court is of the opinion that a substantial injustice has been caused and that injustice cannot be remedied by an order of the Military Court.

470.            Subclause (2) enables the Military Court to make an order declaring that the proceeding is not invalid by reason of a formal defect or irregularity.  This may be on such conditions (if any) as the Military Court thinks fit.

Division 4 - Evidence

Clause 162 - Application of Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1991 of the Australian Capital Territory

471.            This clause provides that, in addition to the Evidence Act 1995 ,  Parts 2, 4 and 4A of the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1991 (ACT) apply in relation to proceedings in the Military Court as if the Military Court were a court exercising jurisdiction in or in relation to the Jervis Bay Territory.

472.            Part 2 of the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1991 (ACT) will provide protections for children giving evidence in proceedings before the Military Court.  Part 4 of that Act provides various rules of evidence that will apply in proceedings before the Military Court relating to sexual and violent offences.  Part 4A of that Act will allow children and witnesses with a mental disability to be accompanied by a support person when giving evidence in a proceeding before the Military Court.

Clause 163 - Evidence to be given orally

473.            This clause provides that evidence in proceedings before the Military Court must be given orally unless the parties agree to another form to which the Military Court does not object, or the evidence is given in accordance with the Military Court of Australia Bill 2012 or any other Act, or the law in force in the Jervis Bay Territory.  This may include the Evidence Act 1995 .

474.            Testimony by video link, audio link or other appropriate means is dealt with in Division 5 of this Bill.

Clause 164 - Orders and commissions for examination of witnesses

475.            This clause is modelled on section 46 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It allows the Military Court for the purposes of proceedings before it to order the examination of a person on oath or affirmation before the Military Court, a Judge, Federal Magistrate, an officer of the Military Court or other person (other than a member of the ADF) at any place within or outside Australia.  It also allows the Military Court to authorise a person (other than a member of the ADF) to take the evidence on oath or affirmation.  This provision will help to ensure the independence of the Military Court from the ADF.

476.            Upon making such an order the Military Court may give directions as to the time, place and manner of the examination (subclause (2)(a)).  The Military Court may also empower any party to give, in evidence in the proceeding, the evidence taken by an authorised person (subclause (2)(b)).

Clause 165 - Oaths and affirmations

477.            This clause is modelled on section 44 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides that a Judge or Federal Magistrate may require and administer all necessary oaths and affirmations for the purposes of the Military Court. 

478.            Subclause (2) allows the Military Court to authorise (either orally or in writing) any person within or outside Australia to administer oaths or affirmations.

479.            Subclause (3) allows the Registrar to authorise a Deputy Registrar or member of staff of the Military Court to administer oaths or affirmations by written instrument.  The note to this subclause refers to paragraph 30(1)(d).  Paragraph 30(1)(d) enables the Chief Justice of the Military Court to arrange with the chief judicial officer of another Australian court for officers of that court to administer oaths or witness affidavits for the purposes of proceedings in the Military Court on behalf of the Military Court.

Clause 166 - Swearing of affidavits etc.

480.            This clause is modelled on section 45 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It sets out the people before whom an affidavit to be used in a proceeding before the Military Court may be sworn or affirmed both inside and outside Australia.

481.            In Australia, affidavits may be sworn or affirmed before people including a Judge or Federal Magistrate, Registrar or justice of the peace (subclause (1)). 

482.            Outside Australia, an affidavit may be sworn or affirmed before a broader range of people (subclauses (2)(a)-(j)), including a person who is a competent officer, for the purposes of regulations in force under the Defence Act 1903 , for taking affidavits of members of the ADF in that place.

483.            Subclause (3) provides that the Military Court Rules may allow an affidavit sworn or affirmed outside Australia otherwise than before a person in subclause (2) to be used in a proceeding before the Military Court.

Clause 167 - Protecting witnesses etc.

484.            This clause is modelled on section 23HC of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) gives the Military Court power to make such orders as it thinks appropriate to protect witnesses called or proposed to be called or to protect information, documents and other things admitted or proposed to be admitted.  This is an addition to the powers of the Military Court to restrict or prohibit the publication of information about witnesses and evidence under clause 168.

485.            Subclause (2) provides that, without limiting the broad power under subclause (1), the Military Court may order the exclusion of the public or of persons specified by the Military Court, from a sitting of the Military Court or direct how a witness may give evidence.

Clause 168 - Prohibition or restriction on publication of evidence etc.

486.            This clause is modelled on section 50 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It allows the Military Court to make orders prohibiting the publication of particular information where it appears to the Military Court to be necessary to prevent prejudice to the administration of justice or national security.  This may include forbidding the publication of the name of a party or witness, or access to certain documents obtained though discovery or disclosure or produced under a subpoena.  This is in addition to the powers of the Military Court to protect witnesses and evidence admitted in a proceeding under clause 167.

Clause 169 - Offences by witness

487.            This clause is modelled on section 58 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides that it is an offence for a person duly served with a subpoena or summons to appear as a witness before the Military Court to fail to attend as required or to fail to appear and report themselves from day to day unless excused or released from further attendance by the Military Court.

488.            Subclause (2) provides that it is an offence for a person appearing as a witness before the Military Court to refuse or fail to swear an oath or make an affirmation, answer a question, or produce a book to document required to be produced.

489.            The penalty for both offences under this clause is 6 months imprisonment.  Part 2.3 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 sets out defences that may apply to these offences.

Division 5 - Use of video links or audio links

Clause 170 - Testimony by video link or audio link

490.            This clause is modelled on section 47A of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It deals with testimony being given by video link, audio link or other appropriate means in proceedings before the Military Court.  Subclause (1) enables the Military Court to direct or allow testimony to be given in this way in any proceedings.  The note to subclause (1) confirms that clause 172 provides for conditions for use of video links and audio links.

491.            Subclause (2) requires testimony given by video link, audio link or other appropriate means to be given on oath or affirmation unless the person giving testimony is in a foreign country and the laws of that country do not permit them to give testimony on oath or affirmation, or would make it inconvenient for them to do so.  The Military Court must also be satisfied that it is appropriate for the testimony to be given otherwise than on oath or affirmation. 

492.            If testimony is not given on oath or affirmation, subclause (3) provides that the Military Court must give the testimony such weight as it thinks fit.

493.            Subclause (4) provides that the power to direct or allow testimony to be given by video link, audio link or other appropriate means may be exercised on the application of a party to the proceeding or on the Military Court’s own initiative.

494.            Subclause (5) provides that these provisions do not apply to a person giving testimony from New Zealand. This is because these circumstances are dealt with by the Evidence and Procedure (New Zealand) Act 1994.

Clause 171 - Appearances or submissions of persons by video link or audio link

495.            This clause is modelled on section 47B of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It deals with a person appearing or making submissions by video link, audio link or other appropriate means in proceedings before the Military Court.  Subclause (1) provides that the Military Court can make an order for a person to appear in this way.  The note to subclause (1) confirms that clause 172 provides for conditions for use of video links and audio links.

496.            Such an order can be on the application of a party to the proceeding or on the Military Court’s own initiative (subclause (2)). 

497.            Subclause (3) provides that these provisions do not apply to a person appearing or making a submission from New Zealand.  This is because these circumstances are dealt with by the Evidence and Procedure (New Zealand) Act 1994.

Clause 172 - Conditions for use of video links and audio links

498.            This clause is modelled on section 47C of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It outlines a number of conditions which must be met before the Military Court can allow testimony to be given, or an appearance or submission to be made, by video link, audio link or other appropriate means.

499.            Subclause (1) provides that, for an appearance made by video link including to give testimony or make a submission, the courtroom or place where the Military Court is sitting must be equipped with facilities that enable all eligible persons present to see and hear the person and vice versa. 

500.            Subclause (2) enables the Military Court Rules to prescribe other conditions for the appearance including but not limited to the form of the video link, the layout of cameras and quality of the communication.

501.            The same conditions apply for an appearance made by audio link to the extent that all eligible persons present must be able to hear the person giving the testimony or appearing before the Military Court (subclauses (3) and (4)).

502.            Subclause (5) provides that the Military Court may allow an appearance by means other than video link or audio link if certain conditions are met, including any conditions prescribed by the Military Court Rules.

503.            Subclause (6) defines ‘eligible person’ for the purposes of the clause.  A person is an ‘eligible person’ if the Military Court considers they should be treated so.

Clause 173 - Putting documents to a person by video link or audio link

504.            This clause is modelled on section 47D of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides for documents to be put to a person if it is necessary in the course of an examination or appearance by video link, audio link or other appropriate means. 

505.            If the document is physically present in the courtroom or place where the Military Court is sitting a copy must be transmitted and put to the person where they are located. 

506.            If the document is physically present where the person appearing remotely is located, a copy must be transmitted to the courtroom or other place where the Military Court is sitting. 

Clause 174 - Administration of oaths and affirmations

507.            This clause is modelled on section 47E of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It provides that an oath can be sworn, or an affirmation made, by a person giving testimony by video link, audio link or other appropriate means in two ways.  It can be administered by means of the video or audio link or other appropriate means in a way that, as nearly as practicable, corresponds to how it would be administered if the person were present where the Military Court is sitting.  Alternatively, the Military Court may allow another person present at the place where the person is located to administer the oath or affirmation.

Clause 175 - New Zealand proceedings

508.            This clause is consistent with section 47G of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  It confirms that the provisions in Division 5 are not intended to affect the operation of the remote appearance regime which operates under the Evidence and Procedure (New Zealand) Act 1994.

Division 6 - Orders and judgments

Clause 176 - Orders

509.            Subclause (1) provides that an order of the Military Court must be in writing, or reduced to writing as soon as practicable.  Subclause (2) enables an order of the Military Court to be authenticated in a manner specified in the Military Court Rules.

Clause 177 - Reserved judgments

510.            This clause is modelled on section 49 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 .  Subclause (1) provides that where the Military Court reserves judgment in a proceeding, and the Judge or Federal Magistrate who heard the proceeding is not available to publish the judgment, it may be made public by another Judge or Federal Magistrate authorised by the original Judge to do so.  Subclause (2) provides that a judgment published in this way has the same effect as if it were made public by the original Judge or Federal Magistrate who wrote the judgment.

511.            Subclause (3) confirms that references to a Judge authorised to make public a judgment under subclause (1) include a reference to a Judge hearing a proceeding as a member of a Full Court.

Clause 178 - Recovery of amounts due under order of Military Court

512.            Subclause (1) outlines the ways in which an amount due and payable under an order by the Military Court can be recovered against a person.  This may include a deduction from a pay or salary payable to the person by the Commonwealth, or by action in a civil court as a debt due to the person in whose favour the order was made.

513.            Subclause (2) provides that if an amount is directed to be paid by instalments and a person defaults on an instalment the remaining amount becomes due and payable.

514.            Subclause (3) provides that this section will not affect any right or remedy that a person may have, apart from this section, in respect of any loss or damage occasioned by a service offence.

Division 7 - Military Court Rules

Clause 179 - Military Court Rules

515.            This clause allows the Judges and Federal Magistrates of the Military Court to make Rules of Court not inconsistent with the Bill.  Subclause (1) provides that the Rules may make provision for the practice and procedure to be followed in the Military Court and anything necessary or convenient to be prescribed for the conduct of any of its business.  The provision is intended to have broad application and capture the full scope of rule making power that may validly be conferred on a federal court.

516.            Subclause (2) provides that the Military Court Rules will have effect subject to any provision made by another Act or rule or regulations under another Act with respect to the practice and procedure in particular matters.

517.            Subclauses (3) and (4) are modelled on subsections 59(4) and (5) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976

518.            Subclause (3) provides that the Military Court Rules are subject to the requirements of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 (other than sections 5, 6, 7, 10, 11 and 16 of that Act).  That Act applies as if a reference to a legislative instrument was a reference to a rule of court, and reference to a rule-maker was a reference to the Chief Justice acting on behalf of the Judges and Federal Magistrates of the Military Court.  This provision is subject to such further modifications or adaptations as provided for in regulations under this Bill.

519.            Subclause (4) makes it clear that despite section 16 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 the Office of Parliamentary Counsel (as established by subsection 2(1) of the Parliamentary Counsel Act 1970 ) may provide assistance in the drafting of any Military Court Rules. Section 9 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 provides that rules of court are not legislative instruments for the purposes of that Act.  However this clause provides that, with the exception of certain provisions, the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 will apply to rules of court.  A note in the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 clarifies that rules of court are treated as if they were legislative instruments by express amendment of the legislation providing for them to be made.

520.            The provisions of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 that will not apply to rules of court are: sections 5, 6 and 7 (definition of legislative instrument); sections 10 and 11 (Attorney-General may certify whether an instrument is a legislative instrument or not); and section 16 (measures to achieve high drafting standards for legislative instruments). Therefore, rules of court will be required to be lodged on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments; will be subject to appropriate consultation requirements (as determined by the rule-maker) where they are likely to have a direct, or a substantial indirect, effect on business or restrict competition; will be subject to disallowance (as they are presently) and sunsetting.

521.            Notwithstanding the fact that section 16 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 will not apply to the rules of court, nevertheless, the Office of Parliamentary Counsel may provide assistance in drafting of those rules.

Clause 180 - Requirements relating to the making of Military Court Rules

522.            This clause sets out how Military Court Rules are to be made.  These requirements reflect the different types of matters that will be heard in the two Divisions of the Military Court.  Both Divisions will need the ability to make Rules that are flexible enough to complement their own discrete practices and procedures.  Wherever possible, the Military Court is encouraged to adopt common rules for the Military Court as a whole.

523.            Subclause (1) enables Military Court Rules to be made for both Divisions and for each Division separately. 

524.            Subclause (2) provides that Military Court Rules applicable to both Divisions must be made by a majority of Judges in the Appellate and Superior Division and a majority of Federal Magistrates of the General Division.  This prevents either Division making Rules for the whole Military Court simply by constituting a majority of the Military Court.

525.            Subclause (3) provides that Military Court Rules applicable only to the Appellate and Superior Division must be made by a majority of Judges of that Division.  Similarly, subclause (4) provides that Military Court Rules for the General Division must be made by a majority of Federal Magistrates of that Division.  This prevents either Division making Rules for the other Division.  These provisions do not specify what subject matter can be dealt with in the Military Court Rules.

526.            Subclause (5) requires that Rules made for each Division separately must not be inconsistent with Military Court Rules made by the majority of both Divisions for the whole Military Court. 

Part 12—Miscellaneous

Clause 181 - Certain provisions of the Crimes Act 1914 do not apply or apply with modifications

527.            Subclause (1) lists the sections of the Crimes Act 1914 that do not apply in relation to service offences. 

  • Section 15AA of the Crimes Act 1914 , which sets out certain cases in which bail is not to be granted, does not apply in relation to service offences because of existing bail provisions in Division 3, Part 8 of this Bill.
  • Section 15A of the Crimes Act 1914 , which provides mechanisms for the enforcement of fines, does not apply in relation to service offences because clause 178 already provides for the recovery of amounts due under orders of the Military Court. 
  • Section 15B of the Crimes Act 1914 , which sets out the time for commencement of prosecutions, does not apply in relation to service offences because it potentially conflicts with section 96 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 which provides the time limit for imposing charges for service offences. 
  • Section 16BA of the Crimes Act 1914 , which allows a court to take other offences into account, does not apply in relation to service offences because clause 144 of this Bill already provides for the Military Court to take other offences into consideration.
  • Section 16E of the Crimes Act 1914 does not apply in relation to service offences because it has been replicated in modified form as clause 145 of this Bill. 
  • Sections 20AB and 20AC of the Crimes Act 1914 , which provide additional sentencing alternatives and consequences for breach, do not apply in relation to service offences because the alternative offences provision in section 142 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 applies.
  • Sections 20BQ and 20BR of the Crimes Act 1914 , which provides for the summary disposition of persons suffering from mental illness or intellectual disability, do not apply because Part 10 of this Bill contains provisions for how persons suffering from mental impairment will be dealt with by the Military Court.  The provisions in Divisions 6, 7 and 9 of Part IB of the Crimes Act 1914 relating to acquittal because of mental illness and unfitness to be tried have not been excluded because they only apply to trials on indictment and trials before the Military Court will not be on indictment (clause 64).
  • Section 21B of the Crimes Act 1914 , which provides for a court to make reparation orders, does not apply in relation to service offences because clause 152 of this Bill already provides for the Military Court to make reparation orders.     

528.            Subclause (2) confirms that a reference in the Crimes Act 1914 to a prison or imprisonment does not include a reference to detention or a detention centre.  The punishment of detention is in a place, not being a prison, operated by the Defence Force as a place for the detention of persons on whom punishments of detention have been imposed.  Subclause (2) clarifies that the distinction between detention and imprisonment in this Bill applies in relation to references to a prison or imprisonment in the Crimes Act 1914

529.            Subclause (3) modifies the application of certain sections of the Crimes Act 1914 to service offences.  References to the Director of Public Prosecutions are to be read instead as references to the DMP.

Clause 182 - Regulations

530.            Subclause (1) provides for regulations to be made prescribing matters required or permitted by the Bill, or matters necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Bill.   

531.            Subclause (2) provide for the regulations to prescribe penalties, not exceeding 10 penalty units, for offences against the regulations. 

532.            Subclause (3) enables the regulations to make provision modifying or adapting provisions of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 in their application to the Military Court (other than the provisions of Part 5 of that Act which deal with Parliamentary scrutiny of legislative instruments).



SCHEDULE 1 - Service offences to be dealt with by the Appellate and Superior Division

533.            Schedule 1 provides a list of service offences that must be heard and determined by the Appellate and Superior Division (see clause 65).  This ensures that the most serious service offences are dealt with at an appropriate level by a Judge of the Appellate and Superior Division.  It also provides greater parity with the criminal justice system, under which the most serious criminal offences are heard by a judge of a superior court (in most cases the Supreme Court of the State or Territory).     

534.            The service offences in items 1 to 18 are those that go to the very core of maintaining discipline and morale in the ADF.  The offences include abandoning or surrendering a post etc, harbouring enemies, failing to carry out orders, mutiny, desertion and dangerous conduct.

535.            The service offences in items 19 to 21 are those with equivalent offences under ordinary criminal law so serious in nature that the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution’s consent is required for prosecution in the military justice system or which have a serious maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment or more. 

536.            The service offence in item 22 is one of commanding or ordering the commission of the types of service offences in items 19 to 21.