New Criminal Penalties set for certain offenders. 

Brisbane Times, 18 June 2012: Terry O’Gorman comments on the amendments.

Murderers, repeat child sex offenders and people who kill or evade police would be jailed for longer under tough changes approved for Queensland’s sentencing laws.

State Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announced that cabinet had on Monday approved amendments to the criminal code, which would be introduced to parliament this week.

Under the changes, murderers would be jailed for life.

The non-parole period would be raised from 15 to 20 years for the murder of a single victim and from 20 to 30 years for multiple victims.

Repeat sex offenders would also face mandatory life imprisonment, with a 20-year non-parole period.

Repeat offenders would be classified as those who had previously been convicted of a sexual crime punishable by life imprisonment such as rape but had been released on parole and committed a similar offence again.

Furthermore, an offender who killed a police officer carrying out their duties would serve at least 25 years before being eligible for parole.

The maximum penalty for a serious assault of a police officer would also double from seven years to 14 years imprisonment.

This be for offences where the assault results in an injury amounting to bodily harm and involves spitting, biting or projecting any bodily fluid, or where the offender uses a weapon.

Lastly, drivers who tried to evade police would face a minimum $5000 fine and two-year licence disqualification.

‘‘These tough new penalties send a clear and strong message that these offences simply won’t be tolerated,’’ Mr Bleijie said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Queensland Council of Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman said the changes would prevent a judge or magistrate from sentencing on the peculiar facts of each case and would cause injustice.

He said there was no justification for the announcement, except the new government wanted to appear to be tough.

‘‘It is a politician’s gimmick,’’ he said.

He said there is nothing wrong with the current system as prosecutors have the chance to appeal if they think a sentence is too lenient.

The planned changes would also tie the hands of parole boards, who decide if an offender is sufficiently rehabilitated.