Youth Justice and opening the Childrens Court

This morning our President Rebecca Fogerty joined ABC Brisbane’s Steve Austin to discuss youth justice and the Government's plans to open up the Childrens Court of Queensland (CCQ) to the media and the public.

A key principle of our youth justice system is punishment, and another is rehabilitation. We have a better chance of successfully rehabilitating child and youth offenders, back to being law-abiding community members, compared to adults. This benefits all of us because it prevents further crime and victims. 

The public has the right to access information about what happens in our courtrooms and Queensland has a strong tradition of keeping our courts open. This is why serious youth crime cases are transferred to the District and Supreme Courts - open courtrooms. Criminal trials and sentencings are what allow us to learn about the complexities of how crime occurs and how we can prevent it, the reason why access to justice is so important.

For procedural matters within the CCQ, often first appearances of defendants, judicial officers have the discretion to close their courtrooms to the public. Often, they hold sensitive information that could affect vulnerable people, such as victims, or the siblings and family members of defendants. This is why it's so important for judges to be able to maintain this discretion.

Using information from our expert members who are in courtrooms and working with victims and defendants across the state every day, QLS has submitted to the Youth Justice Reform Select Committee on what we believe are the best solutions to youth crime. You can read our submission here

Listen to President Fogerty's interview ABC Brisbane's Steve Austin here