“Absolute gutter politics”
Last week, CLANT President Marty Aust published an Opinion piece in the Sunday Territorian commencing with the words “We cannot afford a ‘Law and Order’ or ‘Tough on Crime’ election”.
Today, the NT Leader of the Opposition published a statement expressing her outrage at recent youth offending, and “crazy measures like removing breach of bail conditions as an offence”.
Mr Aust has today responded, as follows:
CLANT is disappointed and angry at the absolute gutter politics we have cautioned all political hopefuls against heading in to the upcoming election.
Such political gamesmanship puts victims of crime last. It is dangerous and incorrect.
We want to see a reduction in crime. We do not want to see Territorians struggling as victims of crime.
NT police have an extremely difficult job to do and it is made more difficult by misleading and intentionally untruthful and dishonest statements by political parties.
There is absolutely no link between this terrible and outrageous daylight offending and anything to do with breach of bail amendments or youth justice policy reform.
1- It is dishonest and misleading in the extreme to suggest that breach of bail laws have been removed
Breach of bail remains an offence for youths. Only conditional breaches, as opposed to breaches by fresh offending or non appearance at court are no longer offences. A conditional breach does not result in a crime against any member of the NT community.
2- It is dishonest and misleading in the extreme to suggest that there are no consequences for breaching a condition of bail or a grant of bail.
Real and serious consequences remain for any youth that breaches bail, either by way of a conditional breach, a breach by non-appearance at court or by re-offending.
If a youth breaches a condition of bail, they can still be brought before the court and have their bail varied or revoked and be remanded in detention.
If a youth is on bail and commits fresh offences the youth can be arrested, remanded in detention and taken to court. At Court the court may re bail the youth on the same or varied conditions or may remand them in detention to a future date.
If a youth is on bail and they do not appear at court in answer to that bail the youth can be arrested, remanded in detention and taken to court. The youth will be charged with a breach of bail offence. At Court the court may re bail the youth on the same or varied conditions or may remand them in detention to a future date.
Further the actual offence of breach of bail, was only created in 2011, by the then CLP government. Its enactment applied to both adults and children. Since the introduction of the offence has been no appreciable reductions in offending as a direct or indirect consequence attributable to the creation of the breach of bail offence.
The change to the breach of bail offence for conditional breaches by youths, only came into effect on Monday last week!
It is so very disappointing to see NT politicians putting victims of crime last again.
The community rightly has had enough of crime and youth offending. The way forward is to acknowledge the policy errors made in the past, and accept that they are a large part of the reason we are crippled by the current issues.
A long term evidence based approach is the only appropriate answer to our current problems. If you really want to reduce crime, have consequences and put victims first, then we must persist and strengthen our commitment to youth justice policy reform in line with the recommendations of the Royal commission.
Retrograde steps that can in no way whatsoever effectively tackle the problem but sound ‘tough’ are just plain dumb and risk the problems escalating through further generations.