Queensland Law Society has voiced serious disappointment over the lack of consultation by the State Government before changes to bail laws targeting accused youth offenders.
QLS President Luke Murphy has written a letter to Queensland’s Youth Minister, Di Farmer, saying recent changes to the Youth Justice Act 1992 would result in mandatory refusal of bail and indefinite detention of youths deemed an unacceptable risk to the safety of the community until their cases were resolved by the courts.
Last month the State Government introduced new laws into Parliament to ensure that repeat youth offenders deemed to be a danger to the community be refused bail pending the resolution of their matters.
“The Society is disappointed in the lack of consultation in relation to the amendments that will mean if a young person is judged an unacceptable risk to the safety of the community, they must be refused bail,” Mr Murphy said in his letter to the Minister.
“While we understand that Parliament has the ability to pass urgent legislation without the benefit of parliamentary committee review, this option should only be used in the most exceptional circumstances.
“This is particularly so in circumstances where significant amendments are made in the final stages of debate and passed shortly thereafter, providing very limited parliamentary scrutiny.
“In our view, such a substantial legislative change which will have significant impacts on human rights and detention of children and young people should have had the benefit of targeted stakeholder consultation and parliamentary committee scrutiny.
“The QLS has been, and will continue to be, ready and willing to provide our views, often within exceptionally short timeframes at all stages of the legislative process.”