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Decision would lie with Solicitor-General

9 June 2005

Limitation law decision would lie with Solicitor General

“Should the police decide to charge David Benson-Pope, any decision to regarding the question of limitation would reside with the Solicitor General,” Attorney General Michael Cullen said today. Dr Cullen issued the statement to correct statements by Professor John Miller that, as the allegations against Mr Benson-Pope related to events alleged to have occurred more than ten years ago, any prosecution would need the consent of the Attorney General.

This is because the law provides that no proceedings in respect of an offence where the maximum term of imprisonment that may be imposed is less than three years shall be taken after the expiry of ten years without prior consent.

While Section 10B of the Crimes Act does refer to consent being given by the Attorney General, the long-standing convention in relation to this and other criminal justice statutes is that the Solicitor General exercises his co-extensive powers completely independently.

“The Attorney General will not be consulted or otherwise have a role in the decision,” Dr Cullen said.


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