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Legal support for Inquiry participants

27 April 2004 Media Statement

Legal support for Inquiry participants

Two lawyers will be made available for complainants and police officers involved in the Commission of Inquiry into Police Misconduct, says Attorney-General Margaret Wilson.

“The lawyers will not appear before the commission, but will instead be available to complainants and police officers should they have any concerns they feel unable to raise with the Counsel Assisting the commission or other commission staff.”

Two senior lawyers are already acting as Counsel Assisting and the commission has hired people specifically to take the complainants’ stories.

Margaret Wilson says it is important people understand the inquiry is not an adversarial hearing which means the normal approach applying in a criminal trial is not called for.

“While we will obviously monitor the situation, at this stage there seems no need for either complainants or police officers to have independent lawyers appearing on their behalf,” she says.

“The commission is also quite rightly concerned that having legal representation for a substantial number of individual witnesses will, whatever approach is adopted, lead to a much more lengthy and adversarial hearing. “

ENDS

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