The suite of measures to further protect community safety contains some substantial changes to Queensland laws.
A ‘serious offender’ declaration. This will be one of the most important changes. The Youth Justice Act will be amended to allow the declaration of certain offenders as ‘serious repeat offenders.’ The court can make this declaration on application by the prosecutor. Once that declaration is made, the offender is subjected to a different process and tougher sentencing.
Presumption against bail. This is another critically important change to community safety laws that is already happening. The Queensland Government has already introduced presumption against bail provisions for some young offenders. That means that a person committing assault or robbery or stealing a car, the courts must presume against granting them bail. We will now expand the crimes that are covered by presumption against bail provisions – they will include being a passenger in a stolen vehicle, and committing a burglary or entering a premise to commit an offence. Our presumption against bail provisions will be the toughest in the country, and it will be harder to get bail under these laws.
Here are some more changes to Queensland laws to protect community safety.
New breach of bail provisions. Under the LNP’s “breach of bail” laws, it was an offence to commit an offence while on bail. The Children’s Court found that was a problem, because it was a form of “double punishment” that breached Queensland’s Criminal Code.
Of the 185 young people who offended under the LNP breach of bail laws, not one served an extra day in custody because of that offence.
Our breach of bail reform is more comprehensive. If a young person breaches a condition of their bail, then they will come back before the court. Under our changes, the breach of bail provisions that exist in the Bail Act for adults will now be extended to young people.
Taking into account previous bail history. The Youth Justice Act will be amended to require courts to take into account previous bail history, criminal activity and track record when they impose a penalty on a young offender.
There are more new provisions that will strengthen community safety law regarding young offenders.
Strengthening conditional release orders. We are extending the maximum period for conditional release orders from 3 months to 6 months, if the offender has a suspended sentence. If an offender breaches their conditions in that 6-month period, they will then serve that suspended term in detention.
Do not need to consider alternatives to arrest. If a young offender contravenes or is likely to contravene a bail order, we are clarifying that police do not need to consider alternatives to arrest.
Social Media. There will be increased penalties for criminals who have boasted about these crimes on social media.
Increased penalties. A penalty of 14 years imprisonment can be imposed if an offender uses violence or threatens violence, is armed, if the offence is committed at night, or if property is damaged or threatened to be damaged.
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