Queensland Law Society

Queensland Law Society concerned about call for mandatory sentencing for police assaults

Date 23 Jun 2011
Contact Natalie Graeff, Manager Corporate Communication
Phone (07) 3842 5868
Mobile 0488 433 884
Fax 07 3221 9329
Email n.graeff@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society stated its concerns today over calls in Queensland for mandatory sentencing for police assaults.

These calls follow a similar path to New South Wales where recently-passed legislation has made life sentences compulsory for killing a police officer.

Queensland Law Society President Bruce Doyle said introducing legislation in Queensland that would provide automatic jail terms for police assaults would hinder judicial discretion and the courts’ ability to bring about justice in individual cases.

“There may be any number of contributing factors that lead to assault on a police officer and mandatory sentencing prevents these factors from being taken into account,” Mr Doyle said.

“Mandatory sentencing does not consider the seriousness of the offence or circumstances of the offender and this has the potential to lead to serious miscarriages of justice.

“Additionally, there are several interpretations of what constitutes assault, including minor altercations where a police officer is in no physical danger,” he said.

“Judges are in a better position to administer justice through judicial reasoning and comprehensive understanding of the offence and its circumstances.

“While we acknowledge the important work of police officers, in this country the safety of everyone is important and the law should equitably reflect this,” Mr Doyle said.