Qld laws 'great leap backward' say interstate lawyers

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.

TWO interstate lawyers have weighed and measured Jarrod Bleijie's law reforms and found them wanting, accusing the Attorney-General of orchestrating a "great leap backward".

Melbourne criminal defence lawyer Andrew Trotter and Harry Hobbs, a human rights legal and policy adviser at the ACT Human Rights Commission, have published their paper The Great Leap Backward: Criminal Law Reform with the Hon Jarrod Bleijie, in the Sydney Law Review.

It puts Queensland government's law reforms in historical context "to illustrate that together they constitute a great leap backward that unravels centuries of gradual reform calculated to improve the state of human rights in criminal justice".

Mr Bleijie said the government was just "keeping the promise we made to Queenslanders", "that we would rebalance the scales of justice for victims of crime and make this state the safest place to raise a family".

But the article singled out the government's unexplained wealth laws, admissibility of prior convictions, mandatory minimum sentences, VLAD and anti-gang laws, offender levy, sex offender laws, publishing offenders' details and G20 laws as impacting on the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial and the principle of a fresh start for offenders.

"Bleijie and his government are cutting red tape, green tape, and blue tape," they wrote.

"To this we would add the 'golden thread' of the presumption of innocence, and the various other strands of gold tape meticulously woven over the course of centuries to restrain criminal proceedings from impinging upon human rights and ensure the fair administration of criminal justice." they wrote.

"...The development of a government website to publish the photos of sex offenders is reminiscent of scarlet letters laws dating back to 1364. Unexplained wealth laws serve to further unravel the presumption of innocence, which the common law began weaving as early as 1468 and had more of less perfected by 1935.''

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Topics:  jarrod bleijie justice law reform

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