The retention of mandatory sentencing under the Palaszczuk Government’s proposed new bikie laws flies in the face of a major recommendation of its own Wilson Inquiry.

QCCL Vice President, Terry O’Gorman, said that the mandatory minimum sentence applicable to the Government’s proposal as outlined in the Wilson Inquiry terms of reference is “in the view of the (Wilson) Taskforce potentially excessive and disproportionate”(1).

Today’s newspaper leak on the new laws indicates that the bikie law review “will also retain additional mandatory penalties as an inducement for effective co-operation with police”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said the Taskforce in addressing this issue “considered the risk (that such a mandatory sentencing regime) has the potential to attract and even encourage fictitious co-operation, that is circumstances in which persons facing very high (mandatory) sentences will fabricate information to attract the chance of some relief from them”(2).

Mr O’Gorman said that Taskforce addressed the concern that a person who is unable to “significantly co-operate not through an unwillingness to do so but because they simply do not know anything of importance has a strong incentive to provide false information in the hope that they can avoid a mandatory sentence”(3).

Mr O’Gorman also said that the proposed ban on bikies wearing their colours in public places is a law and order gimmick by the Premier having regard to the well established statistics outlined in the Wilson Report that bikies represent less than 1% of all crime in Queensland.

“The 2015 Queensland Byrne Report into organised crime set bikie crime statistics at 0.52%” (see Chapter 1 of Wilson Report).

“The Wilson Report notes that while bike gangs are seen by many to be the public face of organised crime the most reliable of statistics show bikies are charged with a small proportion of crime, no more than 0.52% of all offences committed across Queensland” (see Chapter 2 of the Report).

“This is a statistic supported by ex high ranking Queensland Police Officer come criminologist Professor Terry Goldsworthy” Mr O’Gorman said (see Chapter 1 of Wilson Report).

Mr O’Gorman also said that mandatory sentencing leads to injustice as the Court is prevented from giving proper consideration to the subjective circumstances regarding the offence and that a sentence must be tailored to fit the crime.

“Justice must be individualised and penalties fixed in advance by Parliament cannot achieve this” Mr O’Gorman said(4).

(1) See page 398 of the Wilson Report
(2) See page 225 of the Wilson Report
(3) See page 225 of the Wilson Report
(4) See page 232 of the Wilson Report.