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Queensland kids face ‘tougher bail laws than bikies’

Felicity Caldwell reports in the Brisbane Times (22.4.21) on the state government’s new youth justice laws which aim to crack down on repeat offenders, particularly in areas of Queensland’s north.

‘In one way, Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government is being tougher on children as young as 10 than it is on bikies.

‘Labor’s youth justice laws will create a presumption against bail for children charged with crimes such as breaking and entering, serious sexual assault and armed robbery if the offence is allegedly committed while they are already on bail for an indictable offence.

‘Reversing the presumption of bail means anyone who has been arrested and charged can be kept in jail for months or years until they get a court hearing, unless they can prove why they should be released.

‘… There are not many offences in Queensland with a presumption against bail. Murder is one.

‘Under former premier Campbell Newman’s anti-bikie measures, bikies had to prove why remand in custody was not justified. But in 2016, the Palaszczuk government accepted the findings of a taskforce led by retired Justice Alan Wilson and scrubbed various laws, including the LNP’s presumption against bail for bikies.

‘Police Minister Mark Ryan says the current youth justice laws, which passed on Thursday night, are necessary to crack down on a small contingent of “hardcore” young offenders.’

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