The state Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) and the commonwealth counterpart the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) have the power to call witnesses to coercive hearings and compel them to answer questions and/or produce documents. Hearings may be held as part of their own investigations or at the request of other law enforcement agencies, if certain legislative requirements are met.
Coercive hearings are different from a police interview because a witness must answer the questions put to them (that is, there is no right to silence and the privilege against self-incrimination does not provide a basis for refusal to answer) and furthermore it is an offence to lie.
It is important for a person who has been summonsed to appear at a coercive hearing to retain legal representation to ensure that whatever rights remain are protected.
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