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Contributed by MichaelCrowley and current to 27 July 2018

Extra-territorial reach

A recent development in state and Commonwealth criminal law has been the inclusion of statutory provisions allowing domestic courts to hear cases involving acts allegedly committed by Australian citizens overseas. Such offences include child sex offences and terrorism offences.

Criminal injuries compensation

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 (WA) offers a scheme for compensation for certain injuries suffered after 22 January 1971. Each claim must be made within three years unless an assessor extends the time limitation (s.9).

WA has enacted terrorism legislation Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2002,Terrorism( Extraordinary Powers) Act 2005 and Terrorism (Preventative Detention) Act 2006. In essence, the first Act gives effect to commonwealth legislation within WA specifically Part 5.3 of Commonwealth Criminal Code; while the third Act replicates Commonwealth powers to take someone into custody and detain them to prevent a terrorist act or preserve evidence of or relating to a terrorist act. The extraordinary powers act allows the Commissioner of Police who reasonably suspects something concerned with terrorism to issue warrants for a target area, person or vehicle.

The definition of a terrorist act is found in s.101.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Terrorism offences are serious criminal offences with quite a few carrying life sentences. Many of these offences also have an extra-territorial reach. Persons approached or contacted by authorities about anything directly or indirectly linked to terrorism should seek legal advice immediately. However, there may be limitations on who the person can speak to or who can be approached for advice (see, for example: ss 17 - 19 Terrorism (Preventative Detention) Act 2006 (WA)). In WA, a preventative detention order cannot be applied for a person under 16 years of age (s. 16 Terrorism (Preventative Detention) Act 2006 (WA)). Lawyers approached by persons seeking advice on terrorism-related matters should insist that the person seeking advice bring all papers/documents served/given/handed to the person by authorities. These should be read before proceeding with any advice.

Key case law includes Thomas v Mowbray [2007] HCA 33 (2 August 2007) for control orders and constitutional powers, R v Ul-Haque [2007] NSWSC 1251 (5 November 2007) on powers of ASIO when interviewing suspects and Regina v Lodhi [2006] NSWSC 596 (15 March 2006) on national security, open justice and the use of suppression orders.

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