Criminal Law

2018/19 Annual Report

The 2018/2019 financial year was once again a very busy year for the members of the Criminal Law Committee.

The Committee is well balanced with prosecutors, defence lawyers, barristers, sole practitioners and lawyers from community legal services, Aboriginal Legal Services and Legal Aid.

The Committee continues to monitor the mandatory sentencing provisions under the burglary offences of the Criminal Code for unjust outcomes for offenders. The Law Society remains committed to its opposition to all forms of mandatory sentencing.

The Criminal Law Committee has continued to advocate for many things in the last 12 months. A priority has been to arrange a meeting in August 2019 with the new Commissioner for Corrective Services, to discuss issues around solicitor prison visits.

The Committee reviewed a number of law reform initiatives being progressed by the Attorney General including amendments:

  • to section 55 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2004;
  • to the Criminal Property Confiscation Act 2000;
  • arising from the statutory review of section 9AA of the Sentencing Act 1995;
  • arising from the statutory review of Part 5A of the Criminal Appeals Act 2004; and
  • proposed amendments to the Bail Act 1982.

The Committee has also contributed to submissions to Law Council of Australia, including the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor into citizenship revocation provisions.

The Committee drafted a detailed submission to the Standing Committee of Environment and Public Affairs on the mandatory registration of children and young people on the sex offender register.

Finally, the Committee has continued to monitor delays in the Supreme Court and the District Court, and is represented on other Law Society Committees and external Committees:

  • Registrar Whitbread is a member of the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court Committee;
  • the Convenor David Davidson is the WA delegate to the LawCouncil of Australia’s National Criminal Law Committee; and
  • the Deputy Convenor Karen Farley SC is the representative on the Strategic Criminal Justice Forum as well as monitoring and reporting on the Disability Justice Centre.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au