Skip to main content
Toggle Button For website navigation bar
The Legislative Assembly meets today (02:00 PM)
Sitting Today (02:00 PM)
The Legislative Council meets today (02:00 PM)
Sitting Today (02:00 PM)
Public Accounts Committee meet tomorrow (09:15 AM)
Public Accounts Committee
Sitting Today (09:15 AM)
Legislation Committee meet on 30/09/2020 (10:15 AM)
Sitting Today (10:15 AM)
Search this website
Bills (proposed laws)
WA Acts and Regulations (current Laws)
Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Order of Business
Watch and listen
Scrutiny of finances
Find your MP
Members of the Legislative Council (Upper House)
President and Office Holders
Upper House Seating Plan
Members of the Legislative Assembly (Lower House)
Speaker and Office Holders
Lower House Seating Plan
What Members do
Ministers and Shadow Ministers
Find a Former MP
Legislative Council (Upper House)
Legislative Assembly (Lower House)
Find Your MP
Find out what was said in Parliament
Watch and listen
What Parliament does
Make a submission
Contact a member
Vote in an election
Parliamentary Friendship Groups
Former Members Association
Visit and Learn
Plan your visit
Educators and students
Learn how Parliament works
History, house and grounds
Events and exhibitions
Art in Parliament
asked in the
6 September 2017
Hon Charles Smith
JUSTICE GAIL ARCHER
Hon CHARLES SMITH
to the Leader of the House representing the Attorney General:
I refer to today's media report on Judge Gail Archer rescinding an indefinite detention order and releasing a convicted child sex offender into the community, 400 metres from a primary school.
(1) Can the Attorney General outline the skills and experience of Judge Archer?
(2) Can the Attorney General advise how long he has known Judge Archer on a professional and a personal level?
(3) Can the Attorney General advise what previous legal capacity and employment the judge had prior to being appointed to the bench?
(4) Was the man who was released classified as a ''dangerous sex offender'' under current legislation?
(5) Is the Attorney General going to stand down Judge Archer; and, if not, why not?
Hon SUE ELLERY
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(1) Prior to her appointment, Justice Archer had nearly 30 years' legal experience in Western Australia. Justice Archer commenced at the Crown Solicitor's Office in 1989 where Her Honour gained experience in a range of criminal and civil matters. In 1993, Ms Archer joined the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions where she was a prosecutor for almost 10 years. During that time, she conducted well over 150 jury trials. Between 2002 to 2004 she was principal counsel at Legal Aid WA. In 2004 Justice Archer joined Francis Burt Chambers and practised as a barrister in a wide criminal and civil practice. She was appointed Senior Counsel in 2007. Justice Archer sat as a commissioner in the District Court for periods in 2005 and 2006, and was appointed in 2007 to conduct a statutory review of the Corruption and Crime Commission Act. From April 2008 to February 2011 Justice Archer was an acting commissioner of the Corruption and Crime Commission. Justice Archer has taught forensic advocacy nationally and internationally, and is a coach in the Australian Bar Association advanced advocacy course.
(2) The Attorney General knew Justice Archer professionally when she was a prosecutor with the DPP up to the time the Attorney General was elected to Parliament in 2001. The Attorney General does not have a personal relationship with Justice Archer.
(3) See answer to (1).
(4) The man the subject of the supervision order was a person to whom the Dangerous Sexual Offenders Act applied. That was not in dispute before Justice Archer. The only issue to be determined by Justice Archer was whether the person could be released into the community subject to a supervision order in accordance with the current test under the Dangerous Sexual Offenders Act.
(5) The Attorney General is not going to stand down Justice Archer. There is no such thing in our constitutional system, which includes the separation of powers, of a power of a minister to stand down a member of the Supreme Court. Any attempt by a minister to do so would be unconstitutional. If it is considered that the judge made an error of law in applying the Dangerous Sexual Offenders Act, that may be corrected by the Court of Appeal on an appeal by the DPP.
Using this website
Acknowledgement of Country
The Parliament of Western Australia is honoured to be situated on the ancestral lands of the Whadjuk Noongar people. The Parliament acknowledges the First Australians as the traditional owners of the lands we represent and pays respects to their Elders both past and present.