Territory Stories

Response to petitions No 57



Response to petitions No 57

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Tabled Paper 2279


Tabled papers for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




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RESPONSE TO THE PETITIONS PRESENTED TO THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ON 29 NOVEMBER 2000 BY THE HONOURABLE CHIEF MINISTER AND ATTORNEY-GENERAL, MR DENIS BURKE MLA, REQUESTING THE REPEAL OF MANDATORY SENTENCING LEGISLATION Petition 56 alleges that mandatory sentencing legislation: breaches international human rights standards; is inconsistent with the doctrine of the separation of powers; is leading to manifestly unjust results; is not cost effective; is not contributing to the prevention of crime; and is impacting with disproportionate and devastating results on Aboriginal people and children Petition 57 alleges that mandatory sentencing legislation should be repealed because: The petitioners believe that the recent death of the fifteen year old Aboriginal boy who was being detained in Darwin under the Territorys mandatory sentencing laws was avoidable; It is counterproductive, disrespectful, morally abhorrent, discriminatory, unjust and under many circumstances gives scope to racism; It takes the responsibility for law and order away from the local custodians of the law in each Aboriginal community in the Territory and the Magistracy; and Statistically crime is not being reduced. The Territory Government has consistently maintained that mandatory sentencing laws are consistent with obligations established under international law. In addition, attempts to challenge the constitutional validity of the laws have been unsuccessful. The mandatory sentencing laws are intended to ensure that courts sentence property offenders appropriately and in accordance with community expectations. The laws apply to all Territorians equally. The only way to avoid the operation of mandatory sentencing laws is to refrain from offending. There is no intention to repeal mandatory sentencing legislation. P20002936B

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