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February 10, 2003

NT Govt seeks to change criminal code

From: ABC Regional Online, Australia - 10 Feb 2003

The Northern Territory Government is expected to introduce a bill in Parliament today that will make changes to the way people with mental illnesses are dealt with under the criminal code.

The changes follow the high-profile case of a central Australian man.

The latest incident to call into question the adequacy of the Territory's fitness to stand trial laws occurred last month when Roland Ebatarinja, a deaf mute facing four counts of assault and a charge of causing grievous harm, was discharged from the Alice Springs Supreme Court.

Justice David Angel ruled he could go because he was incapable of understanding proceedings.

The shadow minister for corrections, Jodeen Carney, introduced her own bill in February and says the Labor Government has modelled its proposed legislation on that after she said a bipartisan approach was needed.

The Government says its bill will be debated and possibly passed next week.

©2003 ABC