X7 v Australian Crime Commission

Anna Dziedzic, ‘Voices on the Right to Silence: X7 v Australian Crime Commission’ (15 August 2013).

In X7 v Australian Crime Commission, the High Court ruled on two questions raised by parties involved in a federal investigation. X7 was charged with federal drug offences during an Australian Federal Police operation that fell under the ACC Act‘s definition of a ‘special’ operation. The Commission is empowered to conduct compulsory examinations for such operations. X7 at first answered questions, but then refused to, and was informed that he/she would be charged with the offence of failing to answer questions. X7 commenced proceedings in the original jurisdiction of the High Court, seeking a declaration that the compulsory examination offence was beyond the powers of the Commonwealth, and impermissibly interfered with his/her constitutional right to a fair trial. The questions for the High Court were whether the relevant provisions permit an examiner to examine a person charged with a Commonwealth indictable offence about the subject matter of that offence; and if so, are those provisions invalid as contrary to ch III of the Constitution. A majority of three Justices answered that the Act did not authorise such questioning, and consequently that the second constitutional issue does not arise.

High Court Judgment [2013] HCA 29  26 June 2013
Result Q1: The Act does not permit an examiner to require X7 to answer questions about the charges laid against X7.
Q2: Does not arise
High Court Documents X7 v ACC
Full Court Hearing [2012] HCATrans 280 7 November 2012
Directions Hearings [2012] HCATrans 205 21 August 2012

[2012] HCATrans 169  26 June 2012