QLS backs new DV laws
23 March 2017
Queensland Law Society has thrown its support behind new legislation designed to make it harder for serious alleged domestic violence offenders to get bail.
President Christine Smyth on Thursday (Mar 23) said she was pleased the Queensland Government had adopted some of the key QLS recommendations as part of its freshly minted Bills passed in the early hours of this morning.
“I applaud the government for taking the Society’s advice on board and considering all aspects of the proposed changes to the legislation,” she said.
Ms Smyth is disquieted as to the Parliament’s decision to stay bail matters for up to three days – saying the move will turn Queensland watchhouses into de-facto remand centres.
“Stay of bail is never going to work with the current state of watchhouses which are not set up for long stays, along with the other issues including exacerbating already strained relationships,” Ms Smyth said.
“This decision will result in dire unintended consequences and a significant cost to the justice system.
“It currently costs the Queensland taxpayer $301.60 per day to keep a person behind bars.
“Is it not better to invest in supporting victims and deterrence programs for perpetrators?”
Ms Smyth said the government should be applauded for its efforts to refine the proposal for the reversal of the onus of proof scheme for some serious domestic violence related offences.
“Domestic violence affects us all, and it is extremely important that we ensure that not only are victims protected, but any extra measures taken in regard to bail and tracking of offenders are carefully examined.
“Of course better reporting and protection is a key issue that must be addressed, and we are all passionate about stamping out the scourge of domestic and family violence.”
Ms Smyth urged all of Parliament to come together to implement best practice for Queenslanders facing domestic violence.
“We recognise that all sides of politics properly take this issue very seriously. We also acknowledge the important actions taken by the Shadow Attorney General Ian Walker in proposing a Bill to Parliament to address these important issues.
“We must all join together to address the scourge of domestic violence in our community.”
Ms Smyth said QLS looked forward to continued consultation on these laws in the future and assisting the government and the opposition to find the best solutions for all Queenslanders affected by domestic and family violence.
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