KAP floats sweeping Youth Justice changes: “Do the crime, do the time”
Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) MPs have floated sweeping changes to the Queensland Youth Justice Act that would see violent juvenile offenders charged with committing rape, murder or causing grievous bodily harm tried as adults.
Under the same proposal, mandatory minimum sentencing would apply for youth offenders convicted of unlawful use of motor vehicle, burglary or break-in offences and cumulative sentences for recidivist offenders would become standard.
The harsher schedule of punishments is designed to join with the KAP’s long-touted Relocation Sentencing policy to insert a “circuit-breaker” into the youth crime crisis by locking up the “worst of the worst” while directing those with prospects of rehabilitation away from criminogenic influences.
KAP Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, who announced the party’s expanded crime policy today in Townsville, said Queenslanders were living in a never-ending nightmare.
Mr Dametto said his heart had gone out to the parents of murdered teen Angus Beaumont, and that he couldn’t agree more with their public sentiments about the state of Queensland’s youth justice system.
Last week, the two teenagers who had previously been found guilty of murdering 15-year-old Angus in 2020 in Redcliffe were sentenced in the Brisbane Supreme Court.
The teens, who were both 14 at the time of the murder, were sentenced to nine years and seven and a half years detention.
Despite having lengthy and serious criminal histories, both offenders will only be required to serve 60 per cent of their sentences.
The older of the two offenders, who is now 17 years of age, had a criminal history that included a threat to kill a baby, a violent physical attack on a girl using a scooter and other offences committed on bail that involved the possession of a knife.
The younger of the offenders, now aged sixteen, had a criminal history that involved being caught in possession of knives and drugs, trespassing and armed robbery where he threatened to stab someone over a bicycle.
Mr Dametto said that the youth justice system was working to protect savage young offenders, when instead it should be protecting the community.
“There are 21 principles in the charter of youth justice principles, and 19 of those relate to how best protect the offender – youth justice is all about justice for the offender and nothing to do with victims,” Mr Dametto said.
“It is hard to fathom that violent offenders are being repeatedly protected by law purely because of their age.
“What is equally distressing is the fact our State Labor Government representatives stand there day after day and justify their inept youth justice laws as if nothing is wrong.
“I echo the sentiments of Ben Beaumont and Michelle Liddle, and I’m calling for juveniles who commit particularly heinous and violent crimes to be dealt with by the courts as adults.
“Cumulative sentences should be mandatory for certain serious offences.
“The number of offences committed by one offender needs to be reflected in the penalty and not just absorbed into one term of detention, or probation as the case is most of the time with these kids.”
Mr Dametto said irrespective of the age of the offender, the harrowing impact of violent crime on victims was the same.
“Since 2019, there have been 12 criminal prosecutions against children for offences causing death,” he said.
“That’s four times a year that a family is shattered with the loss of a loved one, at the hands of a child.
“The Youth Justice Minister and the Attorney General must take responsibility and immediately implement drastic legislative reform before more lives are lost.
“My skin crawls and gut churns at the thought that child murderers will be back on our streets with their identities protected within three to four years.
“All the community wants is justice; do the crime do the time.”