The Queensland Government has defended it’s tough new measures on Youth Crime, arguing that they’re far more effective than what the opposition is still calling for.
The measures include fitting GPS electronic trackers to high-risk offenders aged 16 and 17. While metal detecting wands will also be trailed on the Gold Coast.
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Bail laws will also be strengthened, reversing the resumption of bail. This proposal will allow courts to require repeated offenders to give reasons why they should have bail instead of requiring prosecutors to prove why they should not.
It will also require more from parents to make sure offenders adhere to their bail conditions or bail will not be granted.
The state opposition was quick to respond to the measures, saying they’ll back all the seven suggestions but say they still don’t go far enough.
LNP Leader David Crissafulli is calling for breach of bail to be brought back as a criminal offence.
But the Queensland Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard told myGC that the government’s response will be far more effective.
“It’s interesting that they continue to call for that, breach of bail was an offence that was not particularly well used, it wasn’t used a lot.
“It was something that could be added as an additional charge on the list of charges.
“Whereas what we’re looking at, that the government feels is much more effective, is enshrining in legislation that existing Commonwealth principle that offending while on bail is an aggravating circumstance.
“So when the court’s imposing a sentence, it will be considered in all those cases when it should happen when they’re on bail, that it’s an aggravating circumstance.
“And I think that’s a far more effective way of dealing with it and that’s what the Government’s proposed,” Minister Linard said.
The head of the state’s new Youth Crime taskforce, Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon’s told Sunrise that making breach of bail a criminal offence won’t necessarily do anything.
“I’ve been around 30 odd years and I’ve worked in the system that long in child protection off and on, and whether you charge a child with breach of bail or we apply an instrument to bring the child before the court – which is done now – for me it’s really about what happens inside that court and when the child is released or they go into custody.
“So the fact that you bring a child before the court – it’s the work that goes on in determining how that child’s going to be managed and supported or if they can’t be – whether they remain in custody.
“So for me, it’s really about the instrument that brings the child before the court – an extra offence doesn’t change what goes on inside and beyond,” Assistant Commissioner Scanlon said.