This content is current only at the time of printing. This document was printed on 21 February 2020. A current copy is located at https://apvma.gov.au/node/31516
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APVMA inspectors may apply to a magistrate under Part 9 of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 (Agvet Code), for either a monitoring warrant or an investigative warrant.
Under the Agvet Code, warrants may be issued by a magistrate if the magistrate is satisfied that it is reasonably necessary for an APVMA inspector to access a premise to determine if an Agvet law has been, or is being, complied with (monitoring), or to gather evidential material (investigative).
At the conclusion of any warrant, a property seizure record is completed and provided to the occupier of the premise to itemise all things seized during the warrants execution.
Monitoring warrants are generally sought by inspectors to enter a premise for the purpose of determining if an Agvet law has been, or is being, complied with or to determine if information provided under an Agvet law is correct. This activity is different to what would occur under an investigation warrant where the purpose is to seize and secure evidential material of an alleged offence against the Agvet Code. Monitoring warrants can also remain in operation for up to six months from the date of issue.
Under an investigation warrant, an APVMA inspector may seize and secure evidential material in relation to an allegation of an offence against the Agvet Code. Evidential material that both supports and opposes an allegation maybe seized, ensuring that a complete understanding of the facts can be considered in any further action pursued.
Extensions to hold seized items
For both monitoring and investigation warrants, the period that an inspector may hold or secure items seized under warrant can be extended through an application to a magistrate. The Agvet Code specifies that items seized under a monitoring warrant may be extended more than once (otherwise not exceeding seven days), and a magistrate may permit things to be kept under an investigation warrant after 60 days for a period not exceeding three years from the date of seizure.
To extend a period of possession, an inspector must take reasonable steps to inform any person interested in the proposed extension application.