It's time the public were told how many people convicted or charged with criminal offences change their names each year, Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson said today.
Ms Simpson has called on the Attorney General in State Parliament to come clean by fully answering the question she put to her in Parliament – but to which she did not get a proper answer.
“Why the mystery? Why the cloak of invisibility for criminals and how the system is working?” Ms Simpson said.
“The State Attorney General won't say how many people convicted of criminals offences, particularly child sex offences, change their names legally.
“If the system works to stop abuse then let it be subject to scrutiny as these criminals should be.
“There are some terrible people who should never be allowed to legally change their names, for the sake of victims and for the sake of community.
“Because the Attorney General has been so evasive in her answer to Parliament, I have real concerns about this system.
“We need to know that there aren't loopholes allowing people with terrible histories to avoid scrutiny by changing their names.”
Ms Simpson raised this in the Queensland Parliament (last night) because Brett Cowan, the convicted murderer of Sunshine Coast schoolboy Daniel Morcombe apparently changed his name in WA to Shaddo N-unyah Hunter in 2013, before his arrest.
“Allegedly he is allowed to go by this name in the Queensland prison where he is serving his sentence. While the name change happened in another jurisdiction, I want to know that our system has some rigour to stop this practice also occurring here and that victims and the community aren't kept in the dark, even when criminals relocate interstate.” Ms Simpson said.
“The parliament has a right to know, but more importantly the public and the victims have a right to know the answer to that question.
“Is the current process adequate to stop serious offenders, particularly child sexual offenders, from changing their names to slip beneath public scrutiny?
“Let's have the truth so we can ensure the best protections are in place for victims and the wider community to stop people who have committed terrible crimes from hiding by a name change from scrutiny here or if they are released into the community.”
Tabled Document – Question on Notice/Answer : https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/questionsAnswers/2016/2252-2016.pdf