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Hyatt Hotel Canberra, Monday 13 March 2000: transcript [drug destruction]



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Monday 13 March 2000

Transcript

Minister for Justice and Customs

Senator Amanda Vanstone

Hyatt Hotel Canberra

Topic:

Drug Destruction

E&OE

Minister:

These drugs, that is major drug seizures, were destroyed in accordance with the National guidelines. Major seizures are routinely destroyed, not before trials, but before committal. Of course, before that happens appropriate samples are taken and appropriate secondary evidence is protected to ensure that when the matter comes to trial the police or the prosecution have all the evidence they need. Now the accused will have every opportunity to test every piece of evidence put forward at the trial. That’s the appropriate place to do it. I’m limited from saying any more than that because, as you know, it’s not appropriate for me, or for that matter for anyone else, to be canvassing aspects of a trial about to be held, in the media.

But the important, can I just repeat, there are there key things. Major drug seizures are routinely destroyed, not before trial, before committal; these drugs were destroyed in accordance with the national guidelines and the accused will have every opportunity, as they should, to test every piece of evidence put against them, at the trial - that is the appropriate place.

Journalist:

Their lawyer says that the client has been denied natural justice and that therefore the case could be therefore aborted.

Minister:

Well let me just repeat, that those people accused, will have every opportunity at the trial, as they should because in this country, thankfully, accused are assumed innocent until proven guilty, so they will have every opportunity at the trial to test every piece of evidence that’s led by the prosecution in the trial.

Journalist:

So you don’t believe personally you jeopardised it [prosecution] in any way

Minister:

Oh that’s certainly not, not the case, but I’m not going to comment any more or be drawn by defence lawyers whose comments may in fact be seeking me to be drawn on these matters. I’m simply not going to oblige them.

Ends////