Law Society concerned by Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill

Law Society of Western Australia Media Statement

The Law Society of Western Australia is concerned by the Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill, which is currently being debated in Parliament. The Bill is too general and may erode fundamental aspects of our criminal justice system, which protects our entire community.

The Law Society believes that the criminal offences in this Bill are too broad. All laws should be drafted so that they are clear to the public, the police and the courts. The Law Society President, Elizabeth Needham said, “The community needs to understand the laws in order to abide by them”.

The Law Society is also very concerned about the reversal of the onus of proof. The bedrock of our successful criminal justice system has been for the State, with their significant resources, to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed.

“These laws will place too much discretion in the hands of the police and prosecutors, especially combined with the reversal of the onus proof and it’s not fair on anybody when the public have to second-guess how the police may enforce such very broad criminal laws,” Mrs Needham said.

The Law Society calls on the Government to withdraw the Bill and refer it through to the parliamentary Committee process for proper scrutiny.

– ENDS –

For comment please contact:
Andrew MacNiven
Communications and Media Officer
(08) 9324 8634
amacniven@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Law Society concerned by Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill

The Law Society of Western Australia is concerned by the Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill, which is currently being debated in Parliament. The Bill is too general and may erode fundamental aspects of our criminal justice system, which protects our entire community.

The Law Society believes that the criminal offences in this Bill are too broad. All laws should be drafted so that they are clear to the public, the police and the courts. The Law Society President, Elizabeth Needham said, “The community needs to understand the laws in order to abide by them”.

The Law Society is also very concerned about the reversal of the onus of proof. The bedrock of our successful criminal justice system has been for the State, with their significant resources, to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed.

“These laws will place too much discretion in the hands of the police and prosecutors, especially combined with the reversal of the onus proof and it’s not fair on anybody when the public have to second-guess how the police may enforce such very broad criminal laws,” Mrs Needham said.

The Law Society calls on the Government to withdraw the Bill and refer it through to the parliamentary Committee process for proper scrutiny.

– ENDS –

For comment please contact:
Andrew MacNiven
Communications and Media Officer
(08) 9324 8634
amacniven@lawsocietywa.asn.au