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Daniel Andrews again putting perpetrator rights first

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The Andrews Labor Government’s Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Amendment Bill 2016 would make it even easier for perpetrators of mass casualty events and other violent acts to avoid a trial or jail.

Daniel Andrews’ bill would greatly assist perpetrators.  Key perpetrator-friendly changes include:

  • broadening the circumstances in which defendants are able to establish they are unfit to stand trial.
  • widening the definition of mental impairment so offenders can more easily establish they are not guilty by reason of mental impairment.
  • giving perpetrators a new right to appeal against a finding that they are fit to stand trial or that they are not fit to plead guilty.
  • introducing a record of subsequent offending order to be used instead of concurrent or cumulative supervision orders where perpetrators offend while on a supervision order.
  • amending the existing supervision order scheme requiring mandatory progress reviews to be conducted every five years or less, intended to encourage reduction of supervision over time.
  • removing the Attorney-General’s power to appeal against a supervision order.
  • giving perpetrators a new right to apply for a variation or revocation of a supervision order every 18 months instead of every three years.

While the bill proposes a number of procedural improvements that the Liberal Nationals can support, we will continue to oppose Daniel Andrews’ perpetrator-friendly changes.  The procedural improvements in the bill could have passed nearly two years ago had the Andrews Government abandoned the rest of the bill that would assist perpetrators to avoid responsibility for their actions.

It was Daniel Andrews’ insistence on the full bill passing that has left it sitting in the Legislative Council.

The Andrews Labor Government should not be disingenuous about the consequences of the bill.  If it were ever to pass in its entirety, it would be even easier for say, a hypothetical perpetrator of a terrorist act, to avoid jail or even a trial.

A bill like this raises the recurring question of whether Victorians can trust the Andrews Labor Government to put community safety and personal responsibility for violent behaviour at the centre of our justice system. 

Only the Liberal Nationals will do that.