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Friday, 22 March 1985
Page: 779

Mr N. A. BROWN —Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr N. A. BROWN —Yes, I do, Mr Speaker. During Question Time the Attorney-General (Mr Lionel Bowen) said that one of my many shortcomings was that I had a matter concerning Mr Morgan Ryan before me-I think he said it was the charge of forgery-and that I had decided not to prosecute him. Mr Speaker, that is completely false and baseless. Let me say two things about it to support my explanation. I will do it as concisely as possible. It is true that when I was Acting Attorney-General towards the end of 1982 papers were put before me concerning that man. I might say that it is unfortunate the Attorney-General should be mentioning his name in public. Nevertheless he does.

Mr SPEAKER —I suggest that the honourable member go-

Mr N. A. BROWN —He is awaiting trial, I might remind the Attorney.

Mr Lionel Bowen —He is awaiting an appeal.

Mr N. A. BROWN —He is awaiting trial. Why does the honourable gentleman not look up some of the facts? He is awaiting trial.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I suggest that the honourable member get on with his personal explanation which he is making with the indulgence of the Chair and stop the cross chatter.

Mr N. A. BROWN —I appreciate your indulgence, Mr Speaker. As I was saying, the papers were brought to me in 1982. The man had been charged with two offences. With respect to one of the offences, the Crown law authorities had decided already that that was not proceeding and therefore it was a dead issue and was not put before me for decision. With respect to the other one, the representations were to the effect that I should drop the charges, and that I should file a no bill. There was material put in in support of that application, including representations from some members of parliament. I reached the conclusion that the application should be rejected and that his trial should go ahead. That was my view. I got the opinion of counsel-indeed, I think the Solicitor-General as well; but certainly very senior counsel-who shared my view. My conclusion, supported by all the evidence, was that the trial should proceed and his request for a no bill should be dropped. That, Mr Speaker, was the decision I made. It was for that very reason that his trial proceeded. That was the reason he was convicted-because I rejected the application.

Mr Lionel Bowen —Rubbish!

Mr N. A. BROWN —Repeat that outside or you are a coward.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! If the honourable member for Menzies does not come to order he will be outside by resolution of the House.