The Government’s commitment to revitalise frontline services and make Queensland the safest place to raise a family has taken a major step forward with a raft of ground breaking criminal law reforms introduced in Parliament today.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said the Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2014 tackled cut and run sex offenders, animal torturers, match fixing cheats and looters and brought Queensland’s double jeopardy rules in line with the rest of the nation.
“The reforms are wide ranging and reflect Queenslanders’ concerns about legislation that no longer meet community standards,” Mr Bleijie said.
“Many of the changes are ground breaking, putting Queensland ahead of the rest of Australia when it comes to tackling the criminal elements in our community.
“We are keeping our promise to Queenslanders that we would rebalance the scales of justice in favour of the victim.
“Unlike the former Labor Government, we listened and we’ve acted.”
The reforms include:
- Mandatory one year imprisonment (maximum 5 years) for a sex offender who removes his or her GPS monitoring bracelet.
- 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.
- 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 in much of its legislation,” Mr Bleijie said.
“We will continue to fight for Queenslanders and victims to ensure this state is the safest place to raise a family.