Media Release – 23 June 2014

Mandatory Sentencing Should be Scrapped

 

The President of the Law Society of Tasmania, Anthony Mihal today called on the Liberal Government to scrap plans to introduce mandatory sentencing legislation to Parliament this week.

Mr Mihal said that the foreshadowed introduction of legislation dealing with workplace protestors and assaults on emergency services workers were of significant concern.

“Judicial Officers should be independent of the executive and be able to impose a penalty which fits the crime and the circumstances of the individual involved.” said Mr Mihal.

“A one size fits all approach to sentencing does not work. Such an approach leads to unintended consequences and to injustice.

In the case of assaults on emergency services workers the proposed legislation is at odds with the recommendations of the Sentencing Advisory Council. Their report found there was no justification for imposing mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment.

Australia has experienced a decline in crime rates but an increase in the rate of imprisonment. The Senate Legal & Constitutional Affairs References Committee considered that one of the factors contributing to the increase included mandatory sentencing.

The Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council concluded in 2008;

“that mandatory and other prescriptive schemes are unlikely to achieve their aims.”

Considering the above, it is legitimate to ask the government how the proposed legislation will deter criminal behaviour it proposes to target.”

“Mandatory sentencing is a flawed concept at every level” said Mr Mihal. Tasmania should show leadership and not blindly repeat the mistakes of other States.

 

Anthony Mihal
President
0400 193 574

 

23 June 2014