Queensland families will have a safer state in which to live and raise their children, with strong new penalties for animal torturers and sex offenders and new double jeopardy rules expected to be passed in Parliament today.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said the reforms delivered on the Government’s election promise to revitalise frontline services for families.
“We are bringing Queensland’s legislation into the 21st century after years of Labor inaction and mismanagement,” Mr Bleijie said.
“Keeping families safe and revitalising frontline services are some of the Government’s top priorities and these reforms rebalance the scales of justice in several ways, from tackling animal torturers to cut and run sex offenders.
“It will also stop offenders from potentially and literally getting away with murder, by bringing Queensland’s double jeopardy rules in line with the rest of Australia, something the former Labor Government failed to do when it made amendments in 2007.
“Many of the reforms are ground-breaking, putting Queensland ahead of the rest of Australia when it comes to tackling the criminal elements in our community and ensuring swift, efficient access to justice.
“The Can-Do LNP Government is determined to make Queensland the safest place to live, work and raise a family.”
The reforms include:
- A new offence of serious animal cruelty, with a maximum penalty of 7 years in jail.
- Applying amendments to Queensland’s double jeopardy rules retrospectively, allowing offenders who got away with serious crimes in the past to be retried if new and compelling evidence emerges.
- Mandatory one year imprisonment (maximum 5 years) for a sex offender who removes his or her GPS monitoring bracelet.
- Amending the existing offence of Stealing by looting to ensure the penalty applies to an offender who steals property from a declared area under the Disaster Management Act 2003, including when the theft occurs immediately after the declaration ends to ensure victims are appropriately protected until they return to their property.
- Increasing the maximum penalty for procuring a child or a person with a mental impairment for prostitution from 14 years to 20 years.
- Allowing the court to list a predator convicted of child grooming as a Dangerous Offender, even if he or she was caught by a police officer pretending to be a child.
- Creating six new match-fixing offences with maximum penalties of 10 years imprisonment, in line with other Australia jurisdictions.
- Allowing online pleas of guilty for minor offences which currently already allow written pleas of guilty.
- Establish a presumption that expert witnesses give evidence via video link, instead of in person in court, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
“The vast number of reforms in this Bill reflects how Queensland had been left behind by Labor in much of its legislation,” he said.
“We will continue to fight for Queenslanders and victims to ensure this state is the safest place to live, work and raise a family.
“With stronger laws and more than 800 extra police on the beat, crime rates right across Queensland are coming down.
“Only the LNP has a strong plan to revitalise front line services and ensure police have the resources they need to keep our streets safe.”