(1) Offence A person is guilty of an offence against this section if:
(a) the person is appearing in or being represented in coronial proceedings or has been called to give evidence in coronial proceedings, and
(b) the person intentionally engages in behaviour during those proceedings, and
(c) that behaviour is disrespectful to the coronial proceedings or the coroner or assistant coroner presiding over the coronial proceedings (according to established practice and convention for coronial proceedings).
Maximum penalty: 14 days imprisonment or 10 penalty units, or both.
(2) In this section,
“behaviour” means any act or failure to act.
(3) This section does not apply to the following persons:
(a) an Australian legal practitioner appearing in that capacity,
(b) a person assisting the coroner, but only when acting in that capacity.
(4) Proceedings for offences Proceedings against a person for an offence against this section are to be dealt with summarily before:
(a) if the person is a child–the Children’s Court, or
(b) if the person is not a child–the Local Court.
(5) Proceedings for an offence against this section may be brought at any time within 12 months after the date of the alleged offence.
(6) Proceedings for an offence against this section may be brought only by a person or a member of a class of persons authorised, in writing, by the Secretary of the Department of Justice for that purpose.
(7) A coroner may refer any disrespectful behaviour in proceedings over which the coroner is presiding to the Attorney General.
(8) An assistant coroner cannot refer a matter to the Attorney General under this section but may instead refer the matter to a coroner.
(9) Proceedings for an offence against this section may be commenced only with the authorisation of the Attorney General. Authorisation may be given by the Attorney General whether or not the disrespectful behaviour is referred to the Attorney General by a coroner under this section.
(10) Evidence An official transcript or official audio or video recording of the coronial proceedings is admissible in evidence in proceedings for an offence against this section and is evidence of the matter included in the transcript or audio or video recording.
(11) The coroner or assistant coroner presiding over the coronial proceedings in which the alleged disrespectful behaviour occurred cannot be required to give evidence in proceedings before any court for an offence against this section.
(12) Contempt and double jeopardy This section does not affect any power with respect to contempt or the exercise of any such power.
(13) A person cannot be prosecuted for an offence against this section and proceeded against for contempt in respect of essentially the same behaviour. However, nothing in this section prevents proceedings for contempt in respect of behaviour that constitutes an offence against this section.