LNP proposes tough Mason’s Law to punish child killers
THE Palaszczuk Government says it will consider a new report on the sentencing of child killers before deciding what new sentences might be needed to ensure justice is served.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington today announced a future LNP Government would bring in a new child manslaughter offence to ensure the killers spend at least 15 years behind bars rather than the average of less than seven years.
The laws have been been dubbed Mason's Law are designed to ensure the cruel, shocking death of toddler Mason Jett Lee is not in vain.
Ms Frecklington has called on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to adopt the laws and vowed to do so herself if Labor does not.
Government Minister Mick de Brenni yesterday said while he understood the community was crying out for change, the State wanted to hear what the experts on the Sentencing Advisory Council had to say before any firm decisions are made.
They delivered their report to Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath last week.
It will be released publicly on November 22.
OVERNIGHT: HOW MASON'S DEATH WON'T BE IN VAIN
CHILD killers will spend at least 15 years behind bars under a plan to ensure justice is finally served for those who prey on Queensland's most vulnerable.
The Sunday Mail can reveal Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington will move to introduce a new child manslaughter offence should she and her party win the next state election.
The laws, dubbed the Mason Jet Lee laws, are designed to ensure convicted child killers no longer escape with lighter sentences because they could be convicted of manslaughter but not murder.
Mason's stepfather William O'Sullivan could walk free on parole in less than four years after admitting to brutally bashing the 22-month-old, who then died.
The sentence, announced in September, sparked widespread community outrage and is being appealed by the state.
Ms Frecklington said her new child manslaughter offence would carry a mandatory penalty of 15 years jail.
The minimum non-parole period for the murder of a child under 18 would also be increased from 20 to 25 years under the LNP plan.
"It breaks my heart to think about what Mason suffered - and I'm appalled his killer could be free from prison in less than four years," Ms Frecklington said.
"That's why we will introduce the Mason Jet Lee laws - Australia's toughest child killer laws. I want to make child killers pay for their crimes."
Opposition Justice and Attorney-General spokesman David Janetzki said the current laws had been failing to deliver justice. The average sentence for child manslaughter in Queensland was just 6.8 years, compared to 8.5 years for adult manslaughter.
Child killers are more often found guilty of manslaughter over murder because a murder conviction is much harder to secure in many circumstances when children are involved.
"Intent must be proven in any murder conviction," Mr Janetzki said. "Child murder cases may present challenges due to the lack of witnesses and determining the cause of death.
"The LNP's new laws will mean that if murder is not proven, much stronger penalties will still apply to a child manslaughter conviction."
The State Government last week was handed a report from the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council into the sentences being handed down for child homicide, including whether the current penalties are adequate.
It is due to be publicly released on November 22.
The review was ordered last year following community outrage over the manslaughter sentence handed to one of the offenders charged in relation to the death of Gold Coast boy Tyrell Cobb, who was just four years old.
Opposition frontbencher Ros Bates is also an Act for Mason patron.
She has spoken to the group and Mason's grieving family about the changes and said they were supportive of the move.
"There is nothing more evil than killing a child," Ms Bates said.
"It's time for Queensland to get tougher on animals who kill defenceless children."