The following seminar paper is extracted from the attached material below.  See the full article here.



1. On Tuesday 15 October 2013 without any consultation outside the circles of law enforcement the Attorney-General at 2.30 pm introduced the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Bill. The Bill created a new Act that will, according to the Attorney-General’s introduction speech:

  • Disestablish associations that encourage, foster or support persons who commit serious offences.

2. The Attorney-General said this aim would be achieved by:

  • Imposing significant terms of imprisonment for vicious lawless associates who commit declared offences.
  • Removing the possibility of parole for vicious lawless associates serving terms of imprisonment except in limited circumstances.
  • Encouraging vicious lawless associates to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of serious criminal activity.[1]

3. The Attorney-General said that the new Act will apply to people who participate in the affairs of associations and who commit declared offences for the purpose of or in the course of participating in the affairs of the relevant association. The intention is to characterise persons as vicious lawless associates who belong to associations which encourage, support or foster the commission of offences and who are, therefore, persons who commit offences as part of their membership activities.

4. The Attorney-General said that a vicious lawless associate will be sentenced for the declared offence but will serve a further 15 years mandatory imprisonment, cumulative to any imprisonment imposed for the declared offence. If the vicious lawless associate was at the time of the commission of the offence an office-bearer of the relevant association, they will receive a further 10 years imprisonment, cumulative to the 15 years and the original term of imprisonment.[2]

5. The Attorney-General went on to say that the Bill makes clear that the extra punishment is mandatory and cannot be reduced by the sentencing Court. Further, parole will not apply to the extra punishment unless the associate cooperates with the police and other law enforcement agencies. This lever to induce informants to cooperate is a very important part of the punishment regime. An offender will only be able to mitigate (a) sentence via Section 13A of the Penalties and Sentences Act where the Police Commissioner is satisfied that the cooperation will be of significant use in a proceeding about a declared offence. This will ensure that only effective cooperation is rewarded.[3]

6. A review of the provisions contained in the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act will occur three years after commencement.[4]

7. The provisions of the VLAD Act are available in the Organised Crime, Corruption and Misconduct tab of Volume 3 of Carters. It is a quite short Act of only 11 sections.

8. The Act provides that a person is a vicious lawless associate if the person –

(a) commits a declared offence; and

(b) at the time the offence is committed or during the course of the commission of the offence is a participant in the affairs of an association; and

(c) did or omitted to do the act that constitutes the declared offence for the purposes of, or in the course of participating in the affairs of, the relevant association.

9. Section 5(2) provides that a person is not a vicious lawless associate if the person proves that the relevant association is not an association that has, as one of its purposes, the purpose of engaging in, or conspiring to engage in, declared offences.

In addition to the Vicious Lawless Associates Disruption Act, the paper addresses the Tattoo Parlours Act and both Criminal Law (Criminal Organisation Disruption) Amendment Acts.