Child killers ‘guaranteed’ 15 years in jail – LNP
THE LNP has made good on its pledge to introduce rival child killer legislation, introducing its Private Member's Bill in State Parliament today.
Opposition Attorney-General spokesman David Janetzki again slammed Labor's legislation - introduced 24 hours earlier - as weak and urged the House to back his Bill.
Named after toddler Mason Jet Lee who died after being savagely beaten by his step-father, Mr Janetzki said the LNP's laws would "guarantee" all convicted child killers spend at least 15 years in prison.
"Only the LNP will guarantee that child killers receive a minimum of 15 years imprisonment," Mr Janetzki told Parliament.
However Labor slammed the Bill as giving families "false hope".
Mr Janetzki said the discrepancy of jail time between the manslaughter of adults and children was "too significant."
He said research found adult manslaughter offenders received an average sentence of 8.5 years while those for child manslaughter were slapped with a 6.8-year sentence.
"These light punishments do not reflect the value of the child's life but have, unfortunately, formed strong precedent, making it almost impossible for courts to deviate from them and apply a punishment that fits the crime," Mr Janetzki said.
LNP's bill would also increase the minimum non-parole period for the murder of a child under 18 from 20 to 25 years.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said Labor's laws favour offenders and make it too easy for them to seek plea bargains and subsequently reduce their prison time.
"Labor's legislation will just tinker at the edges of a system that is tipped too heavily in favour of offenders. There is no crime more despicable than killing a child.
"The LNP's Mason Jett Lee laws would deliver real justice for child victims and their devastated families," Ms Frecklington said.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath, however, hit back at the LNP, insisting their proposed laws would do nothing but give people "false hope".
"Our Bill is about capturing the most serious offences and child homicide cases that particularly include violence and sexual assault...capturing that very serious end where you may not have been able to prove intent but morally is equivalent to murder," Ms D'Ath said.
She said it would mean that if convicted, they would serve a minimum of 20 years, non parole.
Ms D'Ath said under the LNP laws - without the reckless indifference changes Labor as proposed - those cases would be captured as Child Homicide offences attracting a sentence of 15 years, non-parole.
"They say that ours won't work because you will see people pleading down but there is evidence that wouldn't occur under theirs and in fact...they have chosen to adopt the Victorian offence that QSAC has shown only three have been sentenced under that offence in 10 years and it took seven years before the first person was sentenced under that.
"What that says is clearly prosecutors, police and individuals are pleading out of this.
"It is giving false hope to families."