find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
Senior family lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Family Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Outstanding national firm · High-calibre family law team
View details
LCA issues caution over ‘unjust’ firearm trafficking bill

LCA issues caution over ‘unjust’ firearm trafficking bill


The Law Council of Australia has raised concerns over the federal government’s firearms trafficking bill, saying including mandatory sentencing could lead to unjust punishments and unintended consequences.

The warning comes as the Senate meets to debate the Criminal Code Amendment (Firearms Trafficking) Bill 2016, which includes a proposed mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment for those found guilty of trafficking illegal firearms.

Law Council president Fiona McLeod SC said while the legal body supports increasing maximum penalties for firearms trafficking, “minimum penalties are never appropriate”.

“They are too blunt an instrument and have repeatedly proven not to produce the desired effect,” Ms McLeod said.

“A minimum mandatory five-year penalty would not deter hardened criminals. These kinds of criminals have already likely factored in considerable jail time as a risk they are willing to take.”

Ms McLeod noted that the important goal of the bill was being undermined by the inclusion of mandatory measures.

“Mandatory sentencing may lead to unjust punishments by forcing courts to apply a rigid standard with no regard to individual circumstances,” she said.

"For example, there have been multiple examples of individuals who have a legitimate use for firearms inadvertently looking to travel on planes with gun parts. These individuals could be in prison if these reforms were in force.”

Ms McLeod pointed to the case of former Victorian police chief commissioner, Simon Overland, who in 2010 inadvertently carried a magazine containing live rounds of ammunition on a flight from Melbourne to Canberra.

According to Ms McLeod, Mr Overland had removed a firearm from his bag but forgot to take out the magazine. She noted that under the proposed laws, he would face a mandatory five-year jail term.

“Judicial discretion is a core principle of our justice system for a very good reason,” she said.

“The world is complex and judges need to be able to adapt their sentence to the circumstances of an individual case.” 

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

LCA issues caution over ‘unjust’ firearm trafficking bill
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...