Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls has dismissed critics who say proposed laws are
Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls has dismissed critics who say proposed laws are "ineffective" and "populist". THINKSTOCK

Tim Nicholls: No body, no parole laws about the victims

A LAW that would ban parole for convicted murderers unwilling to locate their victim's remains has been defended by the Queensland Opposition Leader after it was labelled "ineffective", "populist" and "politicised"

The so-called No Body No Parole law proposed by the LNP Opposition has won support from victim support groups and prominent child safety activists Denise and Bruce Morcombe, who endured a decade-long search for their slain son Daniel.

On Tuesday, the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights warned that not only would the laws be unlikely to work, they also undermined the rights of the convicted.

ALHR vice president Kerry Weste said it also meant those who were wrongly convicted would stay in prison because they would appear unwilling to cooperate.
 

Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls.
Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls. GLENN HUNT


Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls dismissed the criticism, saying the LNP was concerned for victims, not murderers.

"Our policy unashamedly focuses on helping the families and friends of murder victims to heal," he said.

If the laws encouraged one murderer "to do the right thing and end one family's agony", they would be worthwhile, he said.

Mr Nicholls said it was also a chance for a convicted killer to show remorse.

"We believe many Queenslanders would also support any measure that helps to deliver closure to families who have already suffered enough."

 

Even murderers deserve justice, say human rights lawyers

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to refuse parole to convicted killers if they do not reveal the location of their victim's remains has been slammed by a group of Australian lawyers specialising in human rights.

Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls announced the "no body no parole" policy on Monday, which would ban prisoners from parole unless they cooperated with authorities.

The government was already considering the idea as part of its own review into how prisoners are given parole.

The would-be law also won the support of Sunshine Coast parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe, who searched for their son Daniel for almost 10 years after his disappearance in 2003.

Their son's remains were ultimately discovered in 2011 after police launched a sophisticated sting against his killer Brett Peter Cowan, who has since been jailed for the boy's abduction and murder.
 

FOR DANIEL: Bruce and Denise Morcombe at the 2016 Walk for Daniel.
FOR DANIEL: Bruce and Denise Morcombe at the 2016 Walk for Daniel. Patrick Woods

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights warn the laws would not only be ineffective in forcing prisoners to co-operate it also ignored how the parole system works.

Vice-president Kerry Weste said any convicted criminal who does not cooperate is unlikely to be given parole anyway.

Ms Weste said it also risked making miscarriages of justice even worse for the wrongly convicted.

"Australian Lawyers for Human Rights sympathise with the families of murder victims who endure sometimes many, many terrible years seeking the body of their loved ones," she said.

She said that even with that understanding, such a law would "undermine principles of human rights and natural justice" in relation to parole.

"Most important of all, arbitrary laws such as no body no prole provisions risk compounding serious miscarriages of justice," she said.

"It is very important to note that a person may not "cooperate" with giving the location of a body because they are in fact innocent and truly have no knowledge of the body's location."
 

Ms Weste gave the example of the Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton case, who was found guilty even by the High Court, despite her later being innocent of murdering her infant daughter.

Ms Weste said the laws like this were "often a populist and politicised move motivated by an effort to appear tough on crime".

The Opposition described its proposed laws as "tough" then described the government as being "soft on crime" in its announcement.

The Opposition has been sought for comment.


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