Issued: 14 February 2014[PDF, 91kb]
The Attorney General Greg Smith SC has today been successful in an application to have a legal challenge to the state's consorting laws heard in the High Court. "Today's decision will speed up the resolution of this challenge, which I am confident will give the police the reassurance that this important tool is constitutionally sound," Mr Smith said. The consorting laws impose a penalty of up to three years imprisonment where a person habitually consorts with convicted offenders and continues to consort with those convicted offenders after having been given an official warning by police. Late last year, the NSW Court of Appeal put on hold the hearing of a challenge to this law by three offenders who had been charged under it, pending the outcome of another case in the High Court which dealt with a similar constitutional issue. "I intervened to try and get this matter resolved more quickly. It was always likely to end up in the High Court, so by having this challenge to our laws heard straight there, we are saving time and getting the issue resolved sooner," he said. "I hope the High Court will now be able to give an early hearing date to this case. We just want an end to these delays, so police can get on with their job." "I have always said I am confident that our case is strong and the laws will withstand the challenge." "The fact that these convicted criminals are launching an expensive legal challenge against this legislation is a sign they are worried about the impact these laws will have on their criminal activities." The Attorney General's application to seek removal of the case to the High Court was brought under s40 (1) of the Judiciary Act 1903. The court heard the case was now likely to be listed for hearing in May.