: Criminal Gangs

Criminal Gangs

Kate Galloway and Allan Ardill
Queensland
The Criminal Law (Criminal Organisations Disruption) Amendment Bill 2013 allows the Governor in Council to declare ‘prescribed criminal organisations’. Lawyer Jeff Johnson, a former member of the LNP’s state executive, has pointed out the power could ‘wrongly sweep up innocent people’. The Bill creates a new offence for participants in criminal organisations who knowingly gather in a group of three or more, carrying a mandatory minimum penalty of six months. It removes the right to silence for a person deemed a member of a criminal organisation, attracting mandatory sentencing, and grants police powers to search without a warrant a person ‘reasonably suspected of being a participant in a criminal organisation’.

The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Bill was passed on 15 October. It provides for the ‘disestablishment of associations that encourage, foster or support persons who commit serious offences’ and ‘impacts on the rights and liberties of individuals through increasing penalties, imposing mandatory terms of imprisonment and denying parole for particular types of offenders’.

Both Bills recite that there are ‘no alternative ways of achieving the criminal law reforms,’ candidly noting that ‘consultation has not been possible because of the need to respond urgently to the significant public threat criminal gangs pose in Queensland.’

KATE GALLOWAY teaches law at James Cook University, and ALLAN ARDILL teaches law at Griffith University. At the time of going to press, the majority of these Bills had been passed.

(2013) 38(4) AltLJ 278
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