15 Feb

Electronic Tracking for alleged Queensland DVO offenders

Domestic violence offenderFollowing the January 30 death of Teresa Bradshaw, there is a call for bail conditions to include the wearing of a tracking device by alleged domestic violence offenders.  Ms Bradford was killed by her estranged husband, who was on bail for DV offences at the time of her death.

The Queensland Police Minister, Mark Ryan said that he has on ‘open mind’ on the introduction of the technology.  This move has also been supported by the Queensland opposition leader, Tim Nicholls.

Electronic monitoring was first considered by Dr Ralph Schwitzgebel in 1964.  The technology has since been refined and used in American Courts since 1983. It has the ability to ensure that an alleged domestic violence offender does not:

  1. enter proscribed areas;
  2. approach particular people, such as complainants, victims; or
  3. approach co-offenders.

The complainant, can have a device which will alert authorities should the defendant approach within a pre-determined range.  The rationale is that police can be notified before actual contact occurs and thereby prevent further acts of domestic violence.

Interstate Approach to tracking alleged domestic violence offenders

In late 2016 the NSW Department of Justice trialed 60 Electronic Tracking Devices for Domestic Violence Offenders.

Victoria has had the power to order tracking devices and is said to be happy with the results.

The ACT and Northern Territory are said to be closely watching the New South Wales Trial.

Current Queensland Bail Legislation

Currently the Bail Act allows the Court to impose conditions that are necessary, having regard to:

  1. the nature of the offence;
  2. the circumstances of the defendant; and
  3. the public interest.

In Lacey v DPP [2007] QCA 413 the Queensland Court of Appeal was required to consider the issue of tracking devices in a bail application brought by Mr Lacey.  Lacey was charged with a number of offences including attempted murder, torture and deprivation of liberty.  There was some considerable delay with his matter reaching trial.  Lacey applied for bail and offered the condition that he would submit himself to electronic monitoring.  The Court of Appeal said

It is pointless and impractical to impose a condition which cannot be monitored and enforced. As neither police nor Corrective Services personnel have been equipped by government to carry out the necessary monitoring, no such condition could be attached to a bail order.”

While Queensland Courts do have the power to impose such conditions, it is clear that some form of government monitoring is required before such a scheme could be successfully implemented.


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For specific legal advice on Domestic Violence you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

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