Justice to lead priorities for the 2019 Parliamentary Year

Restoring faith in South Australia’s justice system is one of the top priorities for the Marshall Liberal Government in 2019.

The start of the Parliamentary year will see the first tranche of justice reform come to fruition with the introduction of legislation which will overhaul the previous Labor Government’s disastrous home detention laws.

Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said today that the justice system is one of the major pillars of our democracy and the South Australian community deserve to have faith in it.

“Last year we identified various issues within our home detention legislation that needed a complete overhaul,” Ms Chapman said.

“While Peter Malinauskas and Kyam Maher’s answer to this was to introduce a one-page document to Parliament, I have made sure we worked intensively to re-write home detention laws, fixing, among other things, the issues relating to the home detention of serious sex offenders, rather than a simple band-aid fix the Labor Government are renowned for.

“This new legislation will be introduced into Parliament this week, with the Bill now clarifying for the court, exactly what restrictions are placed on a serious sexual offender and ensuring there is absolutely no doubt about how the laws that are intended to protect the community from serious sexual offenders should be applied.

“For serious sexual offenders who attempt to claim they are either too aged or infirm and should be on home detention, the new laws will ensure only those people who are permanently infirm, and of no community risk can be released.

“Currently, due to the piecemeal drafting of the laws, courts do not need to be satisfied that a person is both aged and infirm and of risk to the community, they may only need to consider one aspect.

“Now the bill will clearly state the court must be satisfied a person is both aged and permanently infirm and of no risk to the community.

“Importantly, it requires that an offender’s infirmity must be permanent,” Ms Chapman said.

The Bill also amends the Sentencing Act and the Correctional Services Act 1982 to address technical differences and policy inconsistencies between provisions dealing with the imposition and operation of suspended sentences, intensive corrections orders, and home detention under the Correction Services Act.

 “As a Government, we are proud of what we have done already in the first 10 months of Government in fixing Labor’s mess,” Ms Chapman said.

“We have reversed the onus of proof for violent child sex offenders who are unable to control their sexual urges to be released from prison and I stand resolute in keeping these vile offenders off our streets.

“We have more to do in this area however and this year will see even more reform.

“I am just weeks away from changing to law to enable more trained professionals to undertake some of the work psychiatrists have been doing to ease to burden on our system, which has seen delays in the courts, particularly in the case of Colin Humphrys.

“In addition to this, next month, Brian Martin QC will report back to me with his review of how sentencing discount laws are being used in our courts; and how we can strengthen that legislation in the future.

“In March, I will also be commencing a large-scale review of the Summary Procedure (Indictable Offence) Amendment Act 2017, another piece of legislation rushed through by the former Labor Government, which has led to lengthy delays within our justice system.

“My number one priority is keeping victims and the wider community safe from high risk offenders, and all of these legislative changes flagged will bring South Australians closer to having a system they are able to rely on and trust in,” Ms Chapman said.

“I look forward to announcing even more reforms and initiatives aimed at restoring faith in our justice system in due course.”