CMY and YACVic welcome the Criminal Investigation Powers Bill Exposure Draft (referred to hereafter as the Draft Bill) which aims to simplify and update existing legislation surrounding the investigation process. We recognise the significant undertaking of this task and note that the format of the legislation is considerably more ‘user friendly’ than relevant sections of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).
We also welcome a number of specific provisions proposed in the Draft Bill such as provisions relating to:
- the new ‘forensic relevance’ requirements;
- the clarification of use and inadmissibility of fingerprints and the introduction of offences for unauthorised use of fingerprints;
- clarifications around informed consent and d providing for the withdrawal of informed consent;
- the requirement for police always to inform people about the circumstances of the offence before interviewing, although we believe that this should also be required upon arrest; and
- the requirement for police always to make an audio/audio visual recording of the interview.
We have some significant concerns, however, in relation to some parts of the Bill. In particular, we believe that the draft Bill lacks an appropriate framework for children and young people and does not provide adequate safeguards for their protection. Below is an outline of our position in relation to these issues and proposed recommendations that seek to address the specific vulnerabilities and protect the specific rights of children and young people in police custody.