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Important Information for the Media about NSW Crime Commission Hearings
The NSW Crime Commission is constituted by the Crime Commission Act 2012 (the Act). The object of the Act is to reduce the incidence of organised and other serious crime. The NSW Crime Commission may conduct investigations pursuant to its statutory charter and for that purpose may summon persons to appear before it at a hearing to give evidence. By the Act, the hearings must be held in private.
To protect the privacy of every hearing and person summoned to a hearing, the NSW Crime Commission is empowered to and does, as a matter of course, make a 'non-publication direction'. The terms of the standard non-publication direction include that:
- any evidence given before the NSW Crime Commission, or contents of any document or description of any thing produced to the NSW Crime Commission, or
- any information that might enable a person who is about to give evidence or who has given evidence before the NSW Crime Commission to be identified or located, or
- the fact that any person has or may be about to give evidence at a hearing
must not be published (except in such manner, and to such persons, as the NSW Crime Commission specifies). The NSW Crime Commission, by the Act, must give such a direction if the failure to do so might prejudice the safety, reputation or right to a fair trial of a person.
The Act defines 'publish'. That definition includes 'disclose to a person'. Therefore, any information (including photographs, 'film' footage or reporting) that has the capacity to directly or indirectly disclose the identity of any person attending the NSW Crime Commission for the purposes of giving evidence during a hearing is a contravention of the non-publication direction. Any publication in contravention of a non-publication direction is a criminal offence, punishable on conviction, to imprisonment for 2 years and/or 100 penalty units.
It is not the practice of the NSW Crime Commission to comment upon operational matters, however, if and when the NSW Commission intends to hold hearings a non-publication direction will be in place in respect of every person travelling to, attending at or departing from the NSW Crime Commission in answer to a summons.
The NSW Crime Commission will not publicly disclose or comment on the identities of persons who attend in answer to a summons.