DV bail: ‘You don’t wait for a terrorist to blow up a bridge’
Domestic violence offenders must be "treated like terrorists in the courtroom" with current bail laws failing victims of abuse, a legal group says.
Women's Legal Service Queensland CEO Angela Lynch said the state had an "ad hoc" bail system that allowed high-risk offenders to slip back into the community after being charged with serious crimes.
"The federal and state governments don't wait there for the terrorist to blow the bridge up, they intervene to make sure that doesn't happen and that's what we have to do," she said.
The call comes amid shocking revelations that Brian Earl Johnston, the man charged with murdering his estranged partner Kelly Wilkinson, had walked from police custody on serious charges eight days earlier without even having to apply for bail.
"We have to respond in the same way we would respond to a terrorist and that's the same way we have to view these very dangerous perpetrators," Ms Lynch said.
In 2017, Queensland Parliament passed the Bail (Domestic Violence) and Another Act Amendment Bill which made it more difficult for offenders to be granted bail.
The new laws were prompted by the violent death of Gold Coast mum Teresa Bradford, who was murdered by her estranged husband while he was on bail for a previous attack on his wife.
Ms Lynch said the Bail Act had to be reviewed once more to help authorities "better respond to levels of dangerousness".
"These are all interactions and points of contact where there could be a better response. We have to review this case very carefully.
"We owe that to Kelly and we owe that to her children that we take this very seriously and that we try to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"We said that in Hannah's case as well and here we are."
Hannah Clarke and her children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, were ambushed by her estranged husband Rowan Baxter in their car when he doused them in petrol and set them alight in the Brisbane suburb of Camp Hill on February 19, 2020.
The Gold Coast's Domestic Violence Prevention Centre chief executive Rosemary O'Malley said it was important for communities to help protect victims of abuse.
"As a city we need to look at how we can support the courageous women who make that decision to leave a relationship because the risk of staying becomes greater than the risk of leaving," she said.
"Kelly was very strongly seeking support and was trying to improve the safety of her and her children and it's wrong for her to be remembered for the way she died."
Originally published as DV bail fail: 'You don't wait for a terrorist to blow a bridge up'