Queensland Law Society

Queensland Law Society welcomes youth justice reforms

Date 02 Dec 2015
Contact Gabrielle Kopke
Phone 07 3842 5903
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email g.kopke@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society welcomes the youth justice reforms announced by the Queensland Government last night.

The Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (the Bill) will repeal previous amendments to the Youth Justice Act 1992 and Childrens Court Act 1992.

President Michael Fitzgerald said the Society’s Call to Parties statement called for a commitment to youth justice reforms prior to the state election this year.

“Queensland Law Society is delighted to see the Government commitment to address the treatment of young Queenslanders, a critical community issue,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“Queensland is the only state where 17-year-olds are subject to the adult criminal justice system and where children’s law matters are not heard in a stand-alone Childrens Court building.

“The Society welcomes the announcement by Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath regarding 17-year-olds.

“Queensland Law Society has advocated for better treatment of children and young people in our legal system through our submission work and our policy position paper on children and young people’s issues.”

Last night’s Bill will be followed by the introduction of further amendments in early 2016, which will end the automatic transfer of 17-year-olds with more than six months remaining in detention to an adult prison, and will reinstate the youth justice conferencing program.

President Fitzgerald noted that the changes would facilitate rehabilitation of child offenders. The reforms in the Bill include:

  1. removing boot camp (vehicle offences) orders and boot camp orders from the range of sentencing options for children
  2. prohibiting the publication of identifying information about a child dealt with under the Youth Justice Act 1992
  3. removing breach of bail as an offence for children
  4. making childhood findings of guilt for which no conviction was recorded inadmissible in court when sentencing a person for an adult offence
  5. reinstating the principle that a detention order should be imposed only as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period when sentencing a child
  6. reinstating the Childrens Court of Queensland sentence review jurisdiction and expanding the jurisdiction to include magistrates’ decisions in relation to breaches of community-based orders
  7. reinstating into the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 the principle that imprisonment is a sentence of last resort.

For further information, please contact Gabrielle Kopke on 07 3842 5903, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, g.kopke@qls.com.au