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
Senior Government Lawyer
Category: Other | Location: Canberra ACT 2600
View details
Australian Crime Commissions operations scrutinised

Australian Crime Commissions operations scrutinised

The number of people charged by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and issues surrounding staffing have been raised as concerns in the Senate.Liberal Senator Sue Boyce said the number of…

The number of people charged by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and issues surrounding staffing have been raised as concerns in the Senate.

Liberal Senator Sue Boyce said the number of people charged by the ACC in 2004-05 was 294 compared with 176 in 2006-07 and 210 in 2007-08.

"The New South Wales Crime Commission was responsible for 445 arrests, compared with the ACC's 176. The New South Wales figure was achieved with a staff of just 110, compared to the 619 employed by the ACC," she said.

"The budgets were also compared - there was $14 million for the New South Wales commission and well over $100 million that year for the ACCC."

The ACC had informed the parliamentary committee that investigations of many offences were best carried out by Australia's police forces, with the ACC working more on national intelligence, Boyce said.

However, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Justice and Public Security Jason Wood expressed concerns that the ACC had experienced "dramatic funding cuts".

Wood said the issue of seconded state and territory police and Australian Federal Police members who had been working on investigations at the ACC was concerning, because personnel numbers had dropped from 150 under the Howard government to between 20 and 30 members currently.

"Those working for the ACC as full-time staff under the act do not have a power of arrest and they do not have the right to carry firearms. It is only the seconded members who have that right. So when you are sending those seconded members home you are actually losing the investigation capacity of the ACC," he said.

Senator Steve Hutchins, chairman of the parliamentary committee, also expressed concern that the ACC's CEO had no ability to remove staff members based on a loss of confidence in that staff member's integrity.

"The CEO of the ACC does not even have the power to suspend employees under investigation," he said.

"This is an untenable situation for an organisation that is taking the fight to organised crime in Australia, where the potential for security breaches is enormous and the stakes are high."

The committee recommended that this situation be reviewed and rectified by the Government.

Another recommendation was the need to expedite the judicial process for contempt proceedings relating to the ACC. Intelligence from the ACC has suggested that certain high-risk crime groups have directed their members to frustrate examinations by refusing to comply with and provide evidence to the commissions, said Hutchins.

Federal Member for Werriwa Chris Hayes added that individuals from serious and organised crime groups would rather risk a jail sentence than co-operate with the coercive powers of the commission.

"If a matter is delayed for 18 months while it is progressing contempt proceedings through the courts, an investigative trail would ordinarily go cold. For people at the front line, particularly in relation to drug importation, those investigations regrettably become redundant," he said.

- 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

Australian Crime Commissions operations scrutinised
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
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...
Aug 21 2017
LCA applauds proposed Modern Slavery Act
The Law Council of Australia has welcomed new recommendations for the development of a Modern Slaver...
Aug 21 2017
Top-tier offers targeted mentoring for Indigenous law students
Students at Macquarie University will be the first to benefit from a new Indigenous mentoring progra...
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'...
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...
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 & ...