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Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
22/10/2020
Estimates
ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S PORTFOLIO
Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

[21:34]

CHAIR: Thank you for making yourselves available despite the late hour. Senator Carr, do you have any questions?

Senator KIM CARR: No. I understand that Senator Patrick does.

CHAIR: Senator Patrick.

Senator PATRICK: Ms McNaughton, thank you very much for attending at such a late hour. I want to go to the prosecution of Mr Boyle. I understand the matter is on foot. I just want to confirm that you are aware of a Senate inquiry or a Senate investigation into Mr Boyle's public interest disclosure and the report that was made to the Senate earlier in the year.

Ms McNaughton : No, I'm not personally aware of that.

Senator PATRICK: Okay. The economics committee ordered the production of all documents related to Mr Boyle's PID and carried out hearings, including in camera hearings. There's a one-page report—and I might make it available to you, separate to these proceedings—that basically made a finding that the PID investigation was superficial. That's the bipartisan finding of the committee. The sequence of events, of course, was that Mr Boyle put in a PID. We now understand that an investigation was carried out, but it was insufficient; it was superficial. He then is alleged to have gone and done a whole range of different activities. I'm just wondering, if you haven't heard or haven't been made aware of that report, whether or not you would look to consider whether it is in the interests of justice to continue a prosecution in circumstances where Mr Boyle's actions were in furtherance of the PID, consistent with the legislative framework. Is that something you are open to?

Ms McNaughton : Thank you, Senator. We're certainly open, in any prosecution of any defendant, to considering whatever they put before us. So, if he wishes to put that PID before us, we'd certainly be happy to consider it.

Senator PATRICK: Here is the general principle, and I'm not making any claim in respect of the matters before the court. There are some allegations made. The simple proposition is that had the PID been carried out properly then, but for that improper or superficial investigation, the events that are alleged would never have followed, so he becomes a victim of defective administration.

Ms McNaughton : I haven't seen the material. If Mr Boyle wishes to place that before our office, we would be happy to consider that.

Senator PATRICK: So you haven't received any correspondence from Mr Boyle or his lawyers?

Ms McNaughton : Our office, I think, has. We have in the past had some material provided to us, I understand. We would be, of course, happy to consider any further material that Mr Boyle would like to place before us.

Senator PATRICK: As he is a constituent of mine—he's a South Australian—I might take the liberty of at least sending you the Senate report just to draw that to your attention.

Ms McNaughton : Thank you, Senator.

Senator PATRICK: Thank you. That's all I have.

CHAIR: Thank you very much, officers of the Commonwealth DPP. We appreciate your help, and we'll excuse you and leave you to the remainder of your evening. Thanks very much.

Ms McNaughton : Thanks very much, Chair.

CHAIR: That concludes today's proceedings. I thank the minister and departmental officers for their attendance. I'd also like to really thank Hansard, Broadcasting and the secretariat staff. It hasn't been an easy couple of days, and you've managed it with your usual grace. For any documents that have been tabled, there's no objection to those being received? There being no objection, it is so ordered. Senators are reminded that written questions on notice should be provided to the secretariat by 5 pm on Friday 6 November 2020.

Committee adjourned at 21:40