Queensland Law Society

Mandatory sentencing not an option

Date 03 May 2012
Contact Natalie Graeff, Manager Corporate Communication
Phone 07 3842 5868
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email n.graeff@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society strongly opposes the State government’s proposed introduction of mandatory sentencing for those found with illegal firearms.

This week, the government raised the possibility for automatic jail terms of up to five years for those found in breach of the law.

Queensland Law Society President Dr John de Groot said the suggested new legislation was surprising considering the Liberal National Party’s position last year.

“The now-Premier agreed in 2011 that mandatory sentencing was unfair and unworkable and that sentencing decisions should rest with judicial officers who have expertise in this area,” Dr de Groot said.

“Sentencing changes at this serious level should be referred to the Sentencing Advisory Council whose role is to research and advise the Attorney-General on such issues.

“All mandatory sentencing does is increase the prison population at substantial additional cost with no benefit to the community.

“It has been proved to be unreasonable and counter-productive in the past in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

“There are a multitude of situational reasons that can bring a person before the courts and they all need to be managed on a full understanding of the particular circumstances.

“To reduce crime we need to ensure the police, Department of Public Prosecutions and courts are sufficiently resourced – that’s what will have an immediate and long-term positive effect in our view.

“It’s understandable to be outraged by recent events, but while we’re trying to deal with them, let’s not make mistakes in the process.”