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Australian Crimes Commission - I Have Been Summoned - My Rights

Queensland Law - Australian Crime Commission (the ACC) - Lawyer / Solicitor Article.

Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Australian Crime Commission matters). 

Australian Crime Commission (the ACC) - What is it? - Lawyer / Solicitor Article

The Australian Crime Commission (the ACC) is a Commonwealth body that was created to fight serious and organised crime.  It has both intelligence and investigative powers pursuant to the Australian Crime Commission Act, Commonwealth.

The ACC, like Police, has powers to arrest and seize evidence.  However the ACC also has special investigative powers that Police do not have.  These include summonsing a person to examination where that person must give evidence under oath before the Commission and produce any required documents.  Failure to comply can be an offence and may result in penalties, including imprisonment.

Note that Queensland has a similar body, called the Crime and Misconduct Commission (the CMC). Click here to learn more. Further, Queensland has another similar body that investigates suspicious deaths, namely the Queensland Coroner.  Click here to learn more.

Australian Crime Commission (the ACC) - I've been Summonsed - What are my Rights and Obligations? - Lawyer / Solicitor Article

If you have been summonsed by the ACC to examination and/or to provide documents, section 30 of the Australian Crime Commission Act obligates you to comply fully.  Failure to fully comply may be an offence and if you fail to attend or comply, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. Click here to find out more. 

Where you are summonsed to examination, you will be required to give evidence on oath or affirmation just as you would at Court. Although, there will be no Judge present as the examination is not a Trial.  Rather, the purpose of the examination is to gather information and any evidence will be given before the Examiner.

You are entitled to have a legal representative with during the examination and further entitled to costs for attending the examination, although you may not be reimbursed in full.

You must not present misleading or deceptive documents or information to the ACC, to do so may also to an offence.Click here to find out more.

It is important that you understand that you have NO right to silence when it comes to the ACC.  This means you have no right to refuse to provide documents or answer questions, even where the document or answer may be self-incriminating. 

However, sub-section 30(5) does provide some protection where the information provided is self incriminating.  It says that if you state that the testimony is self-incriminating prior to giving the testimony, that testimony cannot be used against you in a criminal proceeding and any proceeding where a penalty may be imposed.  Further, this is extended to the production of a document, where that document is in respect of a past or existing business and details earnings of the person. 

Although it is important to note that any information, self-incriminating or otherwise, may still be used against you in crime confiscation proceedings and in perjury proceedings (i.e. lying on oath).

You also have an obligation not to disclose any information about an ACC summons or notice, to do so may be an offence. Click here to find out more.

 

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