Labor softening penalties for property criminals

by Ted Sorensen
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The LNP is warning new laws proposed by the Palaszczuk Labor Government will put community safety at risk by drastically weakening penalties for criminals who steal cars and property.

Buried in Labor’s Justice and other Legislation Amendment Bill is a clause that raises the threshold for offenders of property crime to go before the powerful District Court.

Currently, offences of theft where the value of property is less than $30,000 are determined by the Magistrates Court, which can only sentence offenders to up to three years in jail.

Offences of theft where the value of property is more than $30,000 can be determined by the District Court, which can impose longer sentences and more severe penalties.

Labor’s new laws will raise the threshold to $80,000, meaning many criminals guilty of stealing property won’t have to face the District Court’s severe penalties.

LNP Shadow Attorney-General said the government should be strengthening laws to deter crime, not watering them down.

“Communities like Townsville, Cairns and the Gold Coast are suffering badly from a wave of car theft and property crime,” Mr Janetzki said.

“The last thing communities need is softer penalties for criminals stealing people’s cars and property.

“One way to prevent theft is to have strong laws in place to act as a deterrent, but Labor is watering them down.

“Labor’s new laws send the message that stealing from someone else in the community shouldn’t be dealt with as harshly anymore, and that’s the wrong message to be sending.

“This proves Labor is soft on crime and Annastacia Palaszczuk is deaf to the concerns about crime in communities across Queensland.

“In stark contrast to Labor, an LNP Government will get tough on criminals and invest more resources in frontline police and community safety to reduce crime rates.

“It’s clear that the only way to stop the crimewave is to change the government.”

Offences weakened under Labor’s laws

 

Offence Current penalty Proposed penalty under Labor bill
Threshold change If heard on indictment in District Court as value of goods is $30K or more If heard summarily in Magistrates Court as value of goods is $80K or less
Punishment of stealing s 398 Maximum Penalty:  5 – 14 years imprisonment depending on the thing stolen Maximum Penalty: 3 years imprisonment
Unlawful use or possession of motor vehicles, aircraft or vessels s 408A Maximum Penalty: 7 years imprisonment Maximum Penalty: 3 years imprisonment
Fraud s 408C Maximum Penalty: 5 years imprisonment Maximum Penalty:  3 years imprisonment
Burglary s 419(1) Maximum Penalty: 14 years imprisonment Maximum Penalty: 3 years imprisonment
Unlawful entry of vehicle for committing indictable offence s 427 Maximum Penalty: 10-14 years imprisonment Maximum Penalty:  3 years imprisonment
Fraudulent falsification of record s 430 Maximum Penalty: 10 years imprisonment Maximum Penalty: 3 years imprisonment
Receiving tainted property s 433 Maximum Penalty: 7 – 14 years imprisonment Maximum Penalty: 3 years imprisonment
Wilful damage s 469 Maximum penalty: 5 – 14 years imprisonment Maximum Penalty: 3 years imprisonment
Extortion  s 415 Maximum penalty: 14 – life imprisonment Maximum Penalty: 3 years imprisonment

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