Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council marks first anniversary

Media release

29 November 2017

The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council has now been operational for a year.

The Council’s role is to inform, engage and advise on sentencing matters led by a group of independent legal experts and community advocates with extensive experience in criminal law, domestic and family violence, victims of crime, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice issues and youth justice.

Acting Chair Professor Elena Marchetti said: “Since our launch a year ago, we have consulted extensively with the community and stakeholders across the state about sentencing issues.

“There is a lot of perceived discontent about sentencing and we acknowledge it’s a very complex and emotive area of the criminal justice system.

“That’s why we have created a suite of resources to help bridge this gap between public expectation and sentencing outcomes.

“We are also a source of independent advice to government, the courts and the public on complex and emotive sentencing issues.

“The Council comprises people from a wide variety of backgrounds. They do not speak on behalf of their organisations but from their knowledge and experience to provide impartial and credible advice.”

In the Council’s first 12 months, it has

  • delivered a report on the classification of child exploitation material for sentencing purposes
  • commenced two new reviews: sentencing for child homicide offences; and intermediate sentencing options and parole
  • launched an interactive website Judge for Yourself enabling the community to walk in the shoes of a judge or magistrate to sentence offenders in real-life court cases
  • hosted four Sentencing Seminars providing the opportunity to learn about the sentencing process in Queensland, nationally and internationally
  • released five Sentencing Spotlights looking at the offences of murder, manslaughter, child exploitation material, and possession of dangerous drugs
  • launched the Sentencing Matters podcast series releasing five episodes
  • established the National Sentencing Network providing a discussion forum for professional practitioners and academics across Australia concerned with sentencing issues
  • held community sessions, giving the public the chance to voice their opinions on sentencing, in Beenleigh, Cairns, Thursday Island, Ipswich, Mackey, Maroochydore, Maryborough, Toowoomba, Southport, Townsville, Redcliffe, Weipa, Aurukun and Cunnamulla
  • launched the Council’s website, Twitter and Facebook platforms
  • held two internal Research to Practice forums for policy makers to hear from thought leaders and academics in particular areas of sentencing
  • published a three-year strategic plan and a part-year annual report.

Professor Marchetti added: “As we enter our second year, we will continue to build our resources, talk to the community and stakeholders about issues that affect them, and provide evidence-based advice on sentencing matters.”