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Thursday, 18 May 1972
Page: 1881

Senator POYSER asked the Attorney-

General the following question, upon notice:

(1)   Is the Attorney-General aware that a Mr Fergus Robinson, a draft resister, was recently detained in Victoria on a contempt of Court charge, and was subsequently proceeded against by the Commonwealth Police, without reasonable notice to prepare his defence, for failing to register for National Service and was fined the sum of $40.

(2)   Will the Minister investigate this matter and advise the Senate of the full circumstances associated with the hearing of this case.

Senator GREENWOOD- The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) I am aware that Fergus James Robinson was prosecuted recently for an offence against section 48 of the National Service Act 1951-1971. The proceedings were instituted by an information and summons prepared by the Deputy Crown Solicitor, Melbourne on 13th April 1972. The information was laid and the summons issued and served on the same day.

The summons was returnable in the Court of Petty Sessions, Melbourne on 19th April 1972 and service of the summons on 13th April 1972 complied with the provisions of section 23 (1) of the Justices Act 1958 (Victoria) which require that a summons shall be served at least 5 days before the time appointed for the hearing of the information.

At the time of service Mr Robinson was in custody in Pentridge Gaol pursuant to a writ of attachment issued out of the Supreme Court of Victoria after he had failed to comply with the terms of an injunction granted by the Court restraining him from entering the grounds of La Trobe University.

On 19th April 1972 Mr Robinson was brought before Mr Thompson, S.M. He was unrepresented, a plea of not guilty was entered and after the close of the prosecution case he addressed the Court. He was convicted, fined $40 and ordered to pay $17 costs.

At no stage of the proceedings before Mr Thompson, S.M. did Mr Robinson ask for an adjournment of the hearing of the Information for the purpose of seeking legal advice or otherwise preparing his case.

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