Law Reform Commission’s push to hide violent prisoners from police

JANET FIFE-YEOMANS
DERANGED killers could get even more protections as the government is urged by law reformers to keep their release secret even from the police.
Angry officers have joined the outcry over the list of soft options put forward by the state’s Law Reform Commission, including that killers found not guilty of vile murders because of mental illness should no longer be held for an unlimited time because it is considered too “punitive”.
The commission, chaired by the former judge James Wood, who is also head of the State Parole Authority, has also said locking violent forensic patients in a secure unit in a jail should be a last resort.
One recommendation is that people found not guilty because of mental illness should be able to take up court time appealing the finding “regardless” of whether that was the defence they pleaded in the first place.
The Law Reform Commission report, which is being considered by the state government, has said the police minister no longer needs to be officially told about the ¬release of forensic patients and it can be left up to government agencies to share the ¬information “by agreement” with the police. Only the ¬Attorney-General and Health Minister would be automatically informed in the future.
A spokesman for Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the commission’s report was being “carefully considered and will be taken to Cabinet in due course”.
But Police Association president Scott Weber said it was “policing 101” for the force to know what dangerous offenders were being released.

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