LNP wants harsher penalties

MURDERERS and repeat child sex offenders in Queensland will be jailed for life and unable to apply for parole for at least 20 years under tough sentencing law changes approved in Cabinet Monday morning.

If someone kills an on-duty police officer they will serve at least 25 years before being eligible for parole.

The maximum penalty for seriously assaulting a police officer will increase from seven years to 14 years jail for injuries involving spitting, biting or projecting any bodily fluid, or using a weapon

But lawyer Cameron Browne, who regularly speaks out against mandatory sentencing, said he was deeply concerned the LNP government had ignored well-researched advice showing the practice did not work.

The Potts Lawyer director said mandatory sentencing did not provide any real deterrent to people committing offences and research interstate, where mandatory sentencing had been introduced, showed community groups and victim groups were often opposed.

Mr Browne, who sent submissions to the Sentencing Advisory on the issue before the new government shut it down, said mandatory sentencing would mean mitigating circumstances for each crime could not be assessed.

"The biggest problem is they are straight-jacketing the experienced people, namely judges, who are able to make decisions on the individual facts of the case," he said.

"The idea that one-size-fits-all is simply not correct in the current justice system.

"As a general principal, when mandatory sentencing is imposed, injustice follows despite the best interests of all the people involved in an individual case."

Mr Browne said the decision would likely mean more cost to taxpayers as people choose to go to trial in attempts to avoid the tougher sentences.

"You may see more matters fought because there is a mandatory bottom penalty," he said.

"This disadvantages (victims) and adds further strain to an already overburdened system.

"It strikes me that in solving problems in the community, the increasing of penalties does not address any of the fundamental causes of crime such as poverty and drug addiction."

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said child sexual abusers would now face a two-strike policy which would apply when an offender had previously been convicted of a sexual crime punishable by life imprisonment such as rape.

He said if that offender was then released on parole and committed the same, or a like, offence again they would face 20 years without parole.

"Sex offences committed against children are heinous and these predators will spend a long time behind bars if they commit these crimes in Queensland," he said.

Mr Bleijie said murderers would have non-parole periods increased from 15 to 20 years, or from 20 to 30 years for multiple murders.

He said the increase in maximum penalties for seriously assault of a police officer from seven years to 14 years imprisonment.

Mr Bleijie said drivers who tried to evade police would face a minimum $5000 fine and two-year driver licence disqualification.

"Since January 1, 2000, 19 deaths and more than 500 injuries have been caused by people evading police," he said.

"These tough new penalties send a clear and strong message that these offences simply won't be tolerated."

The proposed amendments will be introduced to parliament this week.

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