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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69864 Find in a Library
Title: Controls Over Investigation of Offenses and Pre-Trial Treatment of Suspects - Criminal Investigation and the Rule of Law
Journal: Australian Law Journal  Volume:53  Issue:9  Dated:(September 1979)  Pages:626-647
Author(s): M D Kirby
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 22
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This paper explores proposals advanced in Australia that are designed to ensure that lawful and fair conduct is maintained throughout a criminal investigation; emphasis is placed on safeguards for citizens.
Abstract: Controversies surrounding the procedures of criminal investigation derive from attempts to open up to public examination the decisions and actions of government officers. They also derive from a movement toward the advancement and practical protection of individual rights in an impersonal society in which the authority of the Government tends to increase rather than diminish. The growth of organized police forces, the advance of crime, the special problems of terrorism, and the need to take advantage of science and technology warrant constant reassessment of remedies and citizen protection. In order to strike a balance between effective law enforcement and the protection of individual rights, Australian citizens and experts should together attempt to collect the principal rights and duties of citizens and the police in a comprehensive statute. The special problems of policing a federation of huge distances and large migrant populations speaking many different languages must be addressed by the law. Proper selection, training, and command of police officers remains the front-line protection of the citizen against misconduct by police. The presence at some stage of police interrogation, of independent witnesses would help control abuses. Moreover, interrogation of suspects should be conducted with the impersonal security of sound or video recording. Persons under investigation must be informed of their rights to remain silent and to legal advice on their predicament. Internal discipline within the police force must be upheld. Remedies available to vent complaints of the accused must be made more effective. Ombudsmen must be armed with reserve powers to ensure full investigation of complaints against the police. Debate on judicial reviews should continue. Finally, new attention should be directed to the operation of the court's general discretion to exclude evidence on the ground of its unfairness to the accused. Approximately 100 references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Australia; Pretrial procedures; Right to Due Process; Videotapes
Note: Paper presented at the 20th Australian Legal Convention, July 5, 1979
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