DEFENDANTS in sexual offences will now have to prove exceptional circumstances to have their identity suppressed under new laws passed in NSW.
Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the laws passed on Thursday meant “the embarrassment or distress of a defendant in sexual offence prosecutions will no longer be sufficient to enable the suppression of the defendant’s identity”.
The laws also enact provisions intended to protect complainants from disclosing the identity of their lawyer and clarify the definition of private parts to include undeveloped breasts.
“These laws will better protect complainants during sexual offence proceedings and uphold the important principle of open justice,” Mr Speakman said.
“This principle underpins our legal system and there’s a strong public interest in requiring a defendant in a sexual offence prosecution to be identified unless there are compelling reasons why this shouldn’t happen.”
The power to grant orders to protect the complainant’s identity or preserve the safety of any person will be retained.
Safety was a factor in the case of Brett David Hill, who had a suppression order on his name revoked in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday.
“The laws that passed Parliament today make common sense changes to better enable our courts to deliver justice in these distressing cases,” Mr Speakman said.
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