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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Sentencing reforms target paedophiles, violent and repeat offenders

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Monday, August 02, 2010

    Sentencing reforms target paedophiles, violent and repeat offenders

    Paedophiles and criminals who commit violent offences against children are targeted under stronger sentencing laws to be introduced into Parliament this week.

    The new laws will also target offenders who repeatedly break the law requiring judges to treat previous convictions as an aggravating factor when determining penalties.

    The reforms, which strengthen Queensland’s sentencing regime, are included in legislation to establish a sentencing advisory council which was announced in February this year.

    Premier Anna Bligh said the new reforms would ensure that paedophiles convicted of sexual offences against children under 16 years old must serve an actual term of imprisonment unless there are exceptional circumstances.

    “These reforms recognise the seriousness of any form of indecent treatment of a child by an adult and reflect the potentially devastating consequences for young victims,” said Ms Bligh.

    “Anyone convicted of these types of offences will do jail time. That is what the community expects and that is what should happen.”

    Attorney General Cameron Dick said the reforms made it crystal clear that the community expects offenders to be imprisoned for these offences.

    Under the new provisions, courts will also be required to treat the age of a child victim as an aggravating factor in violent crimes against children when considering a serious violent offender declaration.

    “This will require judges to recognise the disproportionate power of an adult over a young child and the much lower level of force needed to cause serious injury,” said the Attorney General.

    “In cases where a person is deemed a serious violent offender, the prisoner is required to serve at least 80 per cent of their sentence before being eligible for parole.”

    The Attorney General said the new provisions target offenders who repeatedly break the law, by enshrining the principle that judges and magistrates must treat each relevant previous conviction as an aggravating factor when determining penalties.

    “An offender’s criminal history is an important factor when setting penalties, to show whether the offence was an uncharacteristic lapse or an ongoing disregard for the law,” said the Attorney General.

    Mr Dick said reforms were included in the Penalties and Sentences (Sentencing Advisory Council) Amendment Bill 2010, which would also allow the establishment of the state’s first sentencing advisory council.

    “This year’s State Budget provided $6.7 million over four years to kick-start the new council and these amendments provide the statutory basis for its authority,” he said.

    The Attorney-General said members of the public and victims of crime will have a voice on the new sentencing advisory council, along with experts in law enforcement, criminal law, and juvenile and Indigenous justice issues.

    “The new body will have the opportunity to provide input into guideline judgments prepared by the Court of Appeal on the appropriate sentencing range for a particular offence,” Mr Dick said.

    “It will help bridge the gap between community expectation, the courts and government in deciding criminal penalties.”

    Media contact: Attorney-General and Industrial Relations Minister 3239 3487