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Sentencing Advisory Council Rejects Mandatory Sentences

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Tags: Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, Children and Young People, Crime, Justice, Sentencing

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Justice spokesperson

The Sentencing Advisory Council has stood its ground and hit back at the Liberals’ politically motivated stunt designed to tap into people’s valid concerns for the safety of their children.

The first half of the SAC Mandatory Sentencing for Serious Sex Offences Against Children report is dedicated to setting out its objections to the government’s position.  

The Liberals deliberately didn't ask the SAC whether mandatory minimum sentences were appropriate in this instance.  Despite this, they have unequivocally confirmed mandatory sentencing has no place in Tasmania, even for the most serious of crimes.

Mandatory sentences remove all powers from the judge or magistrate to make a decision based on individual circumstances, which is at the heart of the justice system.  

Crimes against children are amongst the most serious offences that can be committed, and courts treat them this way.  A person committing an offence against a child can already expect a long gaol sentence.

The court already takes account of the child’s vulnerability and the impact on them, their family and the wider community.  They also take into account the grave breaches of trust such offences often involve, and perpetrators are sentenced with this in mind.

The Liberals should focus on creating child safe communities, to help prevent these terrible crimes taking place in the first place.

Mandatory minimum sentences represent a dangerous meddling of politics into the justice system.  They represent unfair and unequal treatment of Tasmanians under the law, and erode public confidence in the administration of justice.

The Liberals' use of Tasmania's justice system as a political weapon is reckless and is, rightly, opposed by the State's respected sentencing advisory body.