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Interception of Communications Bill, 2006 (HB 4, 2006) - Differences between the original and consolidated versions
November 27, 2006

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Differences between the original Bill HB 4, 2006, gazetted on 26th May, 2006, and new consolidated text substituted by resolution of House of Assembly on 7th November, 2006

House of Assembly Votes & Proceedings for 7th November, 2006, recorded approval of the following motion moved by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs:–

"That the present text of the Interception of Communications Bill (H.B. 4, 2006) currently on the Order Paper be withdrawn and be replaced by a new consolidated text of the bill in terms of Standing Order No. 128 and that the new bill be treated as having been introduced in terms of Standing Order No. 103 and referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee."

Earlier, Press reports had predicted that there would be a new text designed to meet constitutional objections to the original Bill identified by the Parliamentary Legal Committee and drawn to the attention of the responsible Minister. The Committee's report on the new consolidated text is yet to be presented.

The new consolidated text of the Bill differs from the original H.B. 4, 2006 in several respects, as follows:–

clause 2 (Interpretation) - definition of "interception subject" or "target" omitted, definition of "organised criminal group" inserted and definition of "serious offence" rewritten

clause 6 (Issue of warrant) – in subsection (1) paragraph (a) has been rewritten and paragraph (d) has been omitted. The original subclause (2) permitting unwritten urgent applications has also been omitted.

clause 7 (Scope of warrant renewal thereof) – renewal of a warrant is handled differently (involving the Attorney-General and the Administrative Court in certain circumstances)

clause 12 (Interception capability of telecommunication service) – in subclause ()(b) the words "with this section and" have been omitted

clause 13 (Compensation payable to service provider or protected information key holder) – the order of subclauses (2) and (3) has been reversed.

clause 18 (Appeals) – there will be no appeal to the Minister; appeals will go to the Administrative Court

clause 19 (Review of exercise of Minister's powers under this Act) – new clause, providing for annual review by the Attorney-General of the Minister's use of his power to issue warrants for interception of communications

The following table sets out extracts from both texts in order to facilitate comparison of the old and new. New wording is emphasised by use of underlining and bold font. Endnotes contain further material to assist the reader in assessing the effect of references to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07] and the Courts and Adjudicating Authorities (Publicity Restriction) Act [Chapter 7:04].

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