Former judge blasts bikie and sexual offender laws
THE former judge who led the fight against corruption in Queensland has warned politicians not to rush into 'foolhardy' new laws without proper research.
In an opinion piece published today, Tony Fitzgerald, AC, QC, said judges too were concerned about the safety of families - and outraged by the actions of criminals.
"Pedophilia is abominable. Violence and bullying are abhorrent. Violence and intimidation in company are cowardly. Profiting from the misery caused by illegal drugs is despicable,'' he wrote.
But he said it was "foolhardy for politicians who lack material expertise to make major changes to the criminal law without first obtaining and acting on advice from criminologists, penologists, prosecutors and other experts.
He warned tougher new laws could actually result in worse outcomes for victims.
"Draconian penalties might increase the possibility of pedophiles killing children whom they've molested or violent criminals or their associates killing witnesses,'' Mr Fitzgerald said.
"History teaches us that claims that repressive laws will reduce serious crime are usually hollow and that laws which erode individual freedom and expand a state's power over its citizens are fraught with peril.''
Mr Fitzgerald also warned about politicians targeting those opposing the laws. Last week, Premier Campbell Newman called critics of the sex offender laws "apologists" for pedophiles.
"It is extremely arrogant and socially destructive for politicians to slander citizens who disagree with their "political solution" or to denigrate the judicial branch of government and its generally conservative judges who must make sometimes unpopular decisions in accordance with the law and available evidence and their oath of office,'' Mr Fitzgerald said.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are Queensland's new laws going too far or have judges been too soft for too long? Leave your comments below and vote in our poll
Have Queensland's laws gone too far?
This poll ended on 09 November 2013.
Yes. They are not necessary and erode basic human rights
No. Our judges and magistrates are too soft on crime
Yes. Politicians should not interfere with judiciary
No. If the judges don't get it right, new laws should
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.