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Friday, 2 December 1938

Mr Blain n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

1.   Is a man named Andrew Cox employed or has he been employed by the department in the vicinity of Darwin?

2.   If so, did the Darwin police prior to his employment by the department, arrest him, with the result that he served two sentences of imprisonment in Fanny Bay gaol for passing valueless cheques?

3.   Is there another charge outstanding against him in which the police refuse to take action though holding a fraudulent cheque signed by him, and despite the urging of the victim, Mr. H. Hickey, a Darwin citizen, who demands justice?

4.   Will he refer the matter to the AttorneyGeneral for advice and action to give the same remedy to Mr. Hickey as was available to other residents?

Mr McEwen - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Cox was employed as a member of a survey gang of the Commonwealth Works Branch in June and August of this year.

2.   On the 9th September, 1937, he was convicted before the police court, Darwin, on two charges of issuing a valueless cheque, and was sentenced to imprisonment for six months and nine months respectively.

3.   Afew days prior to the hearing of the charges referred to in 2. Mr. H. Hickey discussed with the Inspector of Police at Darwin the question of a valueless cheque he had received from Cox for £7 for goods supplied. On being informed that Cox was facing two charges for similar offences, and that the sentences of any further charge could not be made cumulative, Mr. Hickey stated thathe did not wish to proceed with the complaint of passing a valueless cheque, but would recover the goods. On the16th March, 1938. Mr. Hickey again saw the police, and suggested that action be taken against Cox through the police court. As the time limit of six months fixed by section 52 of the Justices Ordinance 1928 of the Northern Territory had then expired, Mr. Hickey was advised that the only course open to him was to take civil action for the value of the goods supplied.

4.   As Mr. Hickey has been made aware of the legal position and of the remedy open to him, there appears no need to submit the matter to the Attorney-General. Cox was committed for trial, on a charge of forgery, on the16th November, 1938.

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