1. The Young Offenders Amendment Bill 2003 was referred to the Standing Committee on Legislation on April 1 2004 for inquiry and report by June 30 2004. The Legislative Council granted an extension of time within which to report, to October 21 2004 and a further extension to November 19 2004.
2. The Bill is a private Member’s bill, which is a bill introduced by a Member other than a Minister. Hon Peter Foss QC MLC introduced the Young Offenders Amendment Bill 2003 in the Legislative Council.
3. The Bill proposes to amend the Young Offenders Act 1994 to affect the application of certain Criminal Code provisions, which are commonly known as the ‘three strikes’ legislation, to young offenders.
4. Pursuant to sections 400 and 401 of the Criminal Code, if a young person is convicted of three offences (or ‘three strikes’) of burglary committed in respect of a place ordinarily used for human habitation then the court is required to impose a mandatory sentence of 12 months imprisonment or detention. A number of judicial decisions have held that when these sections of the Criminal Code are considered in light of provisions of the Young Offenders Act 1994, there are certain situations in which offences committed by young persons do not constitute convictions or ‘strikes’.
5. The Young Offenders Amendment Bill 2003 is intended to overcome the effect of these judicial decisions and expand the circumstances in which an offence committed by a young offender will constitute a conviction or a ‘strike’ for the purposes of sections 400 and 401 of the Criminal Code.
6. The Report outlines the purpose of the Young Offenders Amendment Bill 2003, the nature of the proposed amendments and some of the issues raised by the submissions. Given time constraints, the Committee did not analyse or address the issues raised by the submissions because these are matters that have previously been through political debate in the Legislative Council.
7. To assist the Legislative Council, the Committee has attached at Appendix 3 a copy of the relevant sections of the Young Offenders Act 1994 with the proposed amendments marked.
8. A majority of the Committee comprising Hon Jon Ford MLC, Hon Giz Watson MLC and Hon Kate Doust MLC accepts the arguments raised by the submissions opposing the Bill and recommends that the Young Offenders Amendment Bill 2003 not be passed.
9. A minority of the Committee comprising Hon Peter Foss QC MLC and Hon Bill Stretch MLC dissents from this recommendation and presents a Minority Report.
Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that the Young Offenders Amendment Bill 2003 not be passed.
There was dissent from this recommendation.