find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Real Estate & Projects Lawyer (6+ years PAE)
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Top tier firm with offices nationally · High profile clients
View details
Covert search powers breach rights

Covert search powers breach rights

Proposed new police powers to conduct covert searches without a citizen's knowledge impact on the rights of people in New South Wales to be free from arbitrary interferences with their privacy…

Proposed new police powers to conduct covert searches without a citizen's knowledge impact on the rights of people in New South Wales to be free from arbitrary interferences with their privacy and home, said the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in a submission last Wednesday.

The Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Amendment (Search Power) Bill 2009 is currently being considered by the Legislative Council with the AHRC calling for it to be rejected.

The AHRC claims there is insufficient evidence to justify the "extraordinary additional powers" being extended to investigate other types of crime, which so far exist only under the Terrorism (Police Powers) Act 2002 (NSW).

"The risk of premature notification spoiling investigations was cited as the chief reason for introducing covert search warrants. No examples of concrete cases where the existing scheme had led to such failures were provided; only one hypothetical example was used," said President Catherine Branson QC in her submission.

Further, the bill proposes that notice to the occupier that a search of their home has been conducted can be postponed if a judge is satisfied there is reasonable grounds.

"The commission is concerned that the delayed notification will mean individuals whose houses have been searched will not be able to challenge searches that are unreasonable, not based on proper grounds, or are excessive- because, in some cases, they will not know that a search has occurred for three years," said Branson.

While a key safeguard of the bill is identified as judicial oversight, the commission is also concerned that judges' independence could be undermined. The commission points to a proposed section where a source who provides information to support a covert warrant being issued can be kept confidential if their safety will be jeopardised.

"This may make it difficult for judges to assess the reliability of the information. Given that the information will only be disclosed to an eligible judge in private hearings, the need for this precaution is unclear," said Branson.

- Sarah Sharples

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Covert search powers breach rights
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Unite
07:04
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...