Killers whose callous disregard has led to the death of their victims will, if convicted, face life in jail under new Palaszczuk Government legislation.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the legislation to be introduced to Parliament this week would expand the definition of murder and provide greater protection for Queenslanders.
“This is about holding killers to account for their actions. It is about ensuring justice is delivered for their victims, and those who are left devastated by their deaths – their families and friends,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The Criminal Code and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 is a new weapon in the arsenal of law enforcement.
“Right now, intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm must be proven.
“My Government intends to redefine murder so that murder includes the unlawful killing of another if the death is caused by an act or omission with reckless indifference to human life.
“We want to see stronger sentences imposed when people take the lives of our most vulnerable – children, the elderly and the disabled.
“The Bill is also aimed at capturing those child manslaughter cases at the ‘higher end’ of culpability, involving violence or significant neglect but where intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
“We want the punishment to fit the crime.”
The Palaszczuk Government decided to expand the definition of murder following the release of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council’s Sentencing for criminal offences arising from the death of a child – Final Report.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath asked the independent body, comprised of legal representatives and community advocates with extensive experience in victims of crime, to review sentencing for child homicide.
“QSAC found the system was not working when it came to child manslaughter sentences,” she said.
“This Bill will also implement QSAC’s recommendation to add an aggravating factor to manslaughter of a child under 12, which will increase the lengths of sentences.
“Because it is difficult to establish intent, even when a vulnerable child or a vulnerable adult suffers a violent death, many killers are convicted of manslaughter, rather than murder.
“That is why we are expanding the definition of murder in line with NSW, the ACT and Tasmania.”
The Bill also increases the maximum penalty for the offence of failure to supply necessaries from three years imprisonment to seven years.
“Every child has the right to safety and a home free from violence. And every adult needs to remember that being a parent and carer is not a right, it’s a responsibility,” Mrs D’Ath said.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath