Return of Sentencing Advisory Council a win for QLD justice system
25 May 2016
The reintroduction of the Sentencing Advisory Council in Queensland is vital to the delivery of justice throughout the state, according to Queensland Law Society.
Society president Bill Potts said the return of SAC was consistent with QLS’s state Call to Parties document issued prior to the last Queensland election.
“The legislation is reflective of subsequent advocacy by QLS on these issues," Mr Potts said.
“I am very glad to see that the Palaszczuk Labor Government has been listening to us."
Mr Potts’ comments follows Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath’s announcement State Parliament on Tuesday night passed legislation re-establishing the Council, which was dismantled by Campbell Newman’s LNP Government in 2012.
“The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council will help explain sentencing to the wider community and seek Queenslanders’ views on sentencing related matters," Ms D’Ath said.
Mr Potts said QLS was particularly pleased the Council would have a role in explaining sentences to the public.
“In recent times we have seen the general public perplexed and unhappy with some sentences, and given that they are usually handed down in something of a vacuum, this is understandable," he said.
“Explaining the reasoning behind the sentences in an easy-to-understand way will increase public confidence in the judiciary."
Mr Potts also praised the fact the Council would play a role in collecting information regarding the effectiveness of sentences.
“Queensland Law Society has a standing commitment to evidence-based policy and having the Council work out what works and what doesn’t will lead to sentences which both protect the public and rehabilitate the offenders," he said.
“This in turn will reduce crime with all the attendant benefits that carries. This really is a win for all concerned."
The Society in early January renewed its call on the state government to reinstate SAC, saying it was critical to the Queensland justice system.
Mr Potts, at the time, said: “A reinstated Sentencing Advisory Council, promised by the State Government at the last state election, also has a role to play by undertaking original research and publishing material on sentencing.”
“It is critical in our system of justice that the power to review sentences or challenge judges’ decisions should always remain reserved for appeal courts.”
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