The State Government is today, proposing a strengthening of the Youth Justice laws to “target” repeat offenders. Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman, has indicated that the laws are to be introduced at this months sitting of parliament.
Changes to Youth Justice Laws
The change follows a number of incidents involved youths around the state in the last two weeks, including the tragic death of of Kate Leadbetter, Matt Field and their unborn child, Miles. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the loss of four innocent lives linked to a spate of senseless crimes would not go unanswered.
“It is absolutely heartbreaking (what has happened) and I know every Queensland family out there feels the tragic loss of these people. That is why today we are taking very strong action.Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
The Children’s Court of Queensland, Annual Report 2019 -2020 indicates that the offence categories with the largest number of charges against child defendants in 2019–20 were theft and related offences with 10,374 charges (33.2%), unlawful entry with intent with 6,200 charges (19.8%), public order offences with 2,503 charges (8.0%) and property damage with 1,992 charges (6.4%).
The amendments to the Youth Justice Laws will give Courts the power to:
- Require the fitting of electronic monitoring devices for recidivist, high risk offenders aged 16 and 17;
- Create a presumption against bail for young offenders charged with further serious offences such as break and enter, armed robbery and sexual assault;
- Require confirmation from parents that bail conditions will be complied with prior to the child being released;
- Require the court to consider the protection of the community from recidivist youth in the Charter of Youth Principles.
- Confirm the sentencing principle that offending while on bail is a circumstance of aggravation.
Police on the Gold Coast are to be provided with metal detecting wands to target knife crime.
Anti-hooning laws are to be amended to hold the registered owner of a vehicle responsible, except where:
- the vehicle is stolen; or
- the owner is able to identify the driver.
A parliamentary enquiry will be established to examine the implementation of remote engine immobilisers.
Assistant Police Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon, is tasked with the implementation of the new youth justice laws and former Commissioner, Bob Atkinson is to provide a report on the efficacy of the measures in six (6) months.
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