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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 152132 Find in a Library
Title: Big Four: Privileges and Indemnities
Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology  Volume:27  Issue:2  Dated:(September 1994)  Pages:133-159
Author(s): C Corns
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 27
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This article examines the hearing procedures used by four Australian specialist criminal investigation authorities and their implications for the preservation of the right against self-incrimination.
Abstract: These agencies include the Federal National Crime Authority, the New South Wales Crime Commission, the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruptions, and the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission. These agencies were established to combat organized crime, corruption, and related criminal activities. One of the common denominators of the agencies is the centrality of their information-gathering power. One of the mechanisms used by these agencies to obtain information is the power to hold hearings (public or private) at which any person can be summoned to appear and compelled to answer questions and produce documents or other evidence. This article argues that the legislation governing the Big Four has undermined, and in some cases, abrogated the privilege against self-incrimination. In return for the loss of this privilege, witnesses appearing before the Big Four can be granted various forms of protection in the form of indemnities and undertakings issued by prosecution authorities. The author questions whether the indemnification procedures used by the Big Four provide the degree of protection commonly assumed. He further argues that to date prosecution authorities and the Big Four have not adequately shown the efficacy of or justification for indemnities. A rudimentary cost- benefit model to evaluate the use of indemnities is suggested. 3 tables, 24 notes, and 26 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Foreign laws; Right against self incrimination; Waiver of rights; Witness immunity
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. Delivered as a conference paper at the Eighth Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology Conference, Melbourne, October 1992.
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