Opinion Number. 215

Subject

PUBLIC SERVANT WHETHER OFFICE FORFEITED UPON SUMMARY CONVICTION FOR INDICTABLE OFFENCE

Key Legislation

ACTS INTERPRETATION ACT 1901, s. 27 : COMMONWEALTH PUBLIC SERVICE ACT 1902, s. 66 : JUSTICES ACT OF 1886 (QLD), Part VII

Date

A. was charged with an indictable offence, but apparently was dealt with summarily under Part VII of the Queensland Justices Act of 1886. The question is whether he was convicted 'on an indictment or presentment' within the meaning of section 66 of the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1902.

Section 27 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 provides that in any Act, unless the contrary intention appears, the word 'indictment' shall include information.

The Crown Solicitor has previously advised that summary conviction for an offence which is not indictable is not a conviction 'on indictment or presentment'.

My view is that 'information' in section 27 of the Acts Interpretation Act means an information in the nature of an indictment and does not include an information before Justices; and consequently that the officer in this case was not convicted 'on indictment or presentment'.

'Indictment' in English law means an indictment by a grand jury. In Australia, indictable offences are mostly prosecuted by information or presentment of the Attorney-General or other Crown Law Officer-and it is submitted that the intention of the Acts Interpretation Act is merely to make the word 'indictment' extend to this procedure. See R. v. Judd 10 Argus L.R. (C.N.)73.

[Vol. 5, p. 21]

(1)To this opinion Sir Josiah Symon, Attorney-General, made the following addendum, dated 6 May I905:

'Approved. It is quite clear “Indictment or presentment” in section 66 of Commonwealth Public Service Act 1902 does not include an information before Justices acting summarily and the Acts Interpretation Act does not extend the meaning.'