Dr Manhattan has already posted about the new Criminal Procedure Amendment (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2009 to amend much of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009.
(It contains a huge number of amendments. So many, that I’m pretty confident the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 will be the first Act to be reprinted before it commences operation!)
As the good Doctor mentioned, it inserts a Part 8.2 into the Criminal Procedure Act, effectively replicating the rules found in the Evidence Act 1958 Part 2 that prescribe examination and cross-examination of specified categories of witnesses, either as complainants in sex-offence hearings or special witness such as children.
A new addition to those provisions is the inclusion of protected-witness provisions, similar to those found in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 s 70.
Schedule 2 will also be replaced, specifying indictable offences that may be heard summarily. (But, it must be read in conjunction with Criminal Procedure Act s 28, which pretty much mirrors the current Magistrates’ Court Act s 53.)
Since Friday, the Statute Law Amendment (Evidence Consequential Provisions) Bill 2009 has been published to the Victorian legislation website.
Perhaps the most significant information, for now, is the transitional provision in clause 53, which inserts Schedule 2 in the Evidence Act 2008. There’s a fair bit of detail there, but some of the highlights are:
- the Act applies to any proceeding commenced on or after the commencement day (1 Jan 2010)
- unless the Schedule provides otherwise, if a proceeding started before 1 Jan 2010, the Act applies to that part of the proceeding that takes place after the commencement date
- the new identification rules in ss 114 and 115 don’t apply to identifications carried out before 1 Jan 2010
- the s 139 requirement for police to caution pretty much everybody they question only applies to statements or acts done on or after the commencement date (see Confirmation of admissions and the comments for discussion on how we think this provision might play out in summary hearings)
Part IV (oaths, affirmations affidavits and declarations) will also remain, and Schedule 3 provides for the form of oaths and affirmations. (The provisions suggest there might be regulations to prescribe the precise wording. (In 2002 Parliament’s Law Reform Committee tabled its report into the Inquiry into Oaths and Affirmations with reference to the Multicultural Community, and noted there was no prescribed wording for Victorian court proceedings, unlike other jurisdictions that usually have an Oaths Act or similar. )