‘Courts should be called out when they get it wrong’

POLICE Minister Mark Ryan vows "nothing is off the table" when it comes to his government's new tough-talking approach to tackling youth crime.

Mr Ryan yesterday also launched a blistering attack on the judiciary, partly blaming magistrates for out-of-control youth crime and not his own Labor State Government's laws.

After the Bulletin revealed the Palaszczuk Government's new $15 million "five-point plan" to deal with kindergarten crooks who repeatedly flout the law, Mr Ryan yesterday gave a stinging rebuke to magistrates he said weren't keeping with the spirit of the new Youth Justice Act to maintain public safety.

Police minister Mark Ryan has vowed to get tough on youth crime. Picture: Matt Taylor
Police minister Mark Ryan has vowed to get tough on youth crime. Picture: Matt Taylor

He claimed they were letting too many "hardcore" offenders out on bail.

But Queensland Law Society president Luke Murphy said magistrates were simply following the State Government's law.

In his extraordinary broadside, Mr Ryan said the courts were not properly locking up child criminals, arguing the "intention" of the laws to protect public safety was clear.

"The courts are not immune to criticism, and they should be called out when they get it wrong," he said.

 

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"And quite frankly I think they have gotten it wrong in a number of instances recently.

"They have to make decisions which fulfil the intention of the legislation and the intention of the legislation is clear, community safety comes first."

Mr Ryan's comments follow the new Youth Justice Act last year that makes it clear children must only be remanded to custody as a last resort.

The Bill's explanatory notes say the law removes legislative barriers that were contributing to children being refused bail, breaching bail, or remaining in detention or on remand for extended periods.

Queensland Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, Di Farmer gets tough on youth crime.
Queensland Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, Di Farmer gets tough on youth crime.

But he told the Bulletin last night: "The first principle of the Youth Justice Act is the community should be protected from offending.

"Where there is an unacceptable risk, the courts and police can refuse bail.

"Nothing is off the table - including legislative change to reinforce the principle that community safety must come first."

He added an extra 20 police had been deployed to the Coast with more "on the way" adding to 1000 police in the city.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's five-point plan signed off this week included tougher action on bail applications, a police blitz on bail and appeals where appropriate plus a 24/7 police strike team involving youth justice workers for high-risk offenders.

 

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Mr Ryan revealed more detail to the Bulletin saying the strike team would target 10-17-year-old repeat offenders not at home at night or who are "high risk".

"They will focus on high-demand locations and work outside of business hours - 24/7 if required. Youth Justice workers and police will patrol the community together, being co-located and in cars, sharing information as it comes to hand. Police and Youth Justice staff will share real time intelligence and information, and attend known problem places and high risk young people at the times they are most vulnerable or at risk of offending."

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the LNP will “scrap Labor’s ‘catch and release’ laws”.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the LNP will “scrap Labor’s ‘catch and release’ laws”.

Mr Murphy said Mr Ryan's judiciary attack wasn't justified and police have always had power to appeal decisions if desired.

"There is nothing to our knowledge that indicates any magistrate has incorrectly applied the Youth Justice Act since it was amended by the Palaszczuk Government last year.

"It is not appropriate to criticise them."

Opposition leader Deb Frecklington said "LNP will shut the revolving door of justice".

"As a priority, the LNP will bring back breach of bail for juveniles as an offence and scrap Labor's 'catch and release' laws," she said.


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