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Tougher penalties for driving fatalities

By 16 November 2011 6

The Liberals have got their Laura Norder mojo on having secured support for new laws bringing in tougher penalties for culpable driving and manslaughter.

“I am pleased that the majority of the Assembly has indicated they will support these practical and necessary penalty increases which reflect community expectations,” ACT Shadow Attorney General Vicki Dunne said today.

“The Canberra Liberals Crimes (Penalties) Amendment Bill 2011 proposes that the maximum penalty for the criminal offence of culpable driving causing death be increased from seven years to 15 years.

“For an offender who has committed the crime knowingly against a pregnant woman (an aggravated offence), the penalty would be increased from nine to 17 years.

“For culpable driving offences that result in grievous bodily harm, the maximum penalty would rise from four to ten years, with the aggravated form of the offence rising from five to 12 years.

“The Canberra Liberal’s Bill also responds to the recommendations of a 2009 inquiry into murder laws by increasing the maximum penalty for manslaughter from 20 to 25 years, with the aggravated form going from 26 to 30 years.

“For too long the sentencing for culpable driving offences and manslaughter has been out of touch with community expectations and other jurisdictions.

“The courts, too, have been constrained by a sentencing ceiling that does not regard the crime as seriously as those in other states and territories.

UPDATE: Simon Corbell has announced Labor have amended the Bill before passing it:

“The government has added clauses to the bill to raise maximum penalties for the three offences of intentionally, recklessly and negligently inflicting grievous bodily harm,” Mr Corbell said.

“These clauses are necessary to ensure that the ACT scale of maximum penalties remains balanced and progresses logically according to the seriousness of each offence.

“The Government also felt it important to put politics aside and do the right thing and support the opposition bill, despite the liberal party failing to vote for the Government bill in the last sitting.

“These are important reforms to properly reflect the seriousness of offences relating to culpable driving, which may seriously injure or even kill a person.”

FURTHER UPDATE: The Greens’ Shane Rattenbury is not impressed with this hairy-chestedness.

The ACT Labor and Liberal parties today combined to double prison sentences for some crimes despite failing to produce any evidence that the harsher punishments will reduce crime.

A Canberra Liberals bill was passed today with support from the ALP which will increase sentences for culpable driving and grievous bodily harm.

“The two old parties have swaggered in to the Assembly with a promise to be tough on crime. The question is whether this has added any value to the justice system in the ACT, or whether it is more related to the election next year and a perceived need to be seen as tough,” Greens Attorney General spokesperson, Shane Rattenbury MLA, said today.

“They have voted together to create these new sentences in an evidence vacuum and the Greens think the Assembly should have done better.

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6 Responses to Tougher penalties for driving fatalities
#1
Captain RAAF3:37 pm, 16 Nov 11

Quote “The ACT Labor and Liberal parties today combined to double prison sentences for some crimes despite failing to produce any evidence that the harsher punishments will reduce crime.” unquote

It’s not all about deterring crime, but putting these scumbags away for as long as possible.

Should not make any difference whether it has an impact on the number of occurrences, just get rid of these people as, five will get you fifty, they are more than likely responsible for a myriad of other crimes, so society wins out in the end.

#2
Jethro3:58 pm, 16 Nov 11

The only difference between a drunk driving at twice the speed limit and a drunk driving at twice the speed limit and killing somebody is that one was lucky not to have killed anyone and the other was unlucky to have killed someone.

Both parties are guilty of the original offence of criminally dangerous driving. However, one faces years in prison (as they should) and the other gets off with a small fine and an admonition not to do it again(even if it is their 5th or 6th offence.

Why not start getting tough on people before they kill someone?

#3
shirty_bear4:14 pm, 16 Nov 11

Jethro said :

Why not start getting tough on people before they kill someone?

This seems to be blatantly obvious on RA, yet completely beyond those enforcing the law.

#4
Pork Hunt5:36 pm, 16 Nov 11

How about summary excecution for car thieves ?

#5
vandam7:02 pm, 16 Nov 11

shirty_bear said :

Jethro said :

Why not start getting tough on people before they kill someone?

This seems to be blatantly obvious on RA, yet completely beyond those enforcing the law.

I would argue those enforcing the law are doing the best they can. I’d argue the magistrates are the problem. They’re need to toughen up.

#6
Jethro8:02 pm, 16 Nov 11

vandam said :

shirty_bear said :

Jethro said :

Why not start getting tough on people before they kill someone?

This seems to be blatantly obvious on RA, yet completely beyond those enforcing the law.

I would argue those enforcing the law are doing the best they can. I’d argue the magistrates are the problem. They’re need to toughen up.

I mostly agree with you that the police are doing the best they can (although the Canberra Times story a week or so back about police officers being limited to issuing 10 traffic infringements a month, was somewhat concerning. If I had the ability to issue TFIs I could probably give out 10 every time I drove).

But this article is about changes to legislation. As long as the legislation allows magistrates to let an unlicensed, unregistered 6th time DUI offender off with a warning we should be focusing on fixing that up, not changing the maximum penalty for culpable driving causing death.

And as if our magistrates would ever impose the maximum penalty for that anyway…. if Mully had lived he probably would have got 18 months before being up for parole.

If the magistrate was feeling particularly mean.

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