Tuesday August 15, 2017
The Corrective Services (No Body, No Parole) Amendment Bill was passed by the Queensland Parliament last week. It provides for the refusal of parole in cases where the prisoner has not provided the location of the deceased victim’s body.
Terry O’Gorman spoke out against this bill at the Public Hearing in Queensland Parliament, warning of the potential injustices that this law could produce. In particular, he advocated for the implementation of vital safeguards such as allowing the cross-examination of a police officer who compiles the Police Commissioner’s Report, upon which the Parole Board relies, mandating legal representation and having an appropriate avenue for merits based appeals to the Court of Appeal.
“We submit that the police report that is to be prepared should be given to the prisoner and the prisoner should have a full right to cross-examine the police who have prepared the report at a parole hearing. The prisoner should have the right to place independent material before the Parole Board. The prisoner should be legally represented, which means an amendment of section 198 of the Corrective Services Act, because the Corrective Services Act currently provides that with the board’s leave a prisoner’s agent, generally not a lawyer, can appear to make representations” Mr O’Gorman said at the Committee hearing in June.
No such amendments were made to the Bill that was passed last week. This continues to raise questions about the fairness of the new laws and puts in jeopardy the rights of a prisoner.