Murderers and rapists should be jailed indefinitely if they reoffend, the Victorian premier says.
Criminals previously locked up for murder, attempted murder, manslaughter or serious sexual offences such as rape would be jailed indefinitely for reoffending under a raft of new laws pledged by the coalition.
Premier Denis Napthine said the laws would stop violent criminals hurting more innocent victims.
“This will guarantee dangerous criminals forfeit their right to walk among our community,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Repeat offenders would be kept behind bars until a court is certain they pose no threat to the community, and they would not be eligible for parole.
Courts can already impose indefinite sentences but the laws would make them obligatory for these serious criminals.
Smart Justice spokeswoman Michelle McDonnell said the system already worked well, with judges best placed to consider sentences on a case-by-case basis.
“Every case is different and needs to be determined on the evidence put by both the prosecution and defence,” she told AAP.
She said the new laws had not been tested to check they complied with the state’s Charter of Human Rights, and it was too important an issue to be a “last-minute vote-grabbing exercise”.
“Even prisoners have fundamental human rights for their risk of reoffending to be determined on the evidence, not on a harsh deeming provision that puts every person into the same category,” Ms McDonnell said.
The new laws would also give the Director of Public Prosecutions more power to appeal sentences, and abolish a double jeopardy rule which requires the DPP to consider possible distress to an offender.
Attorney-General Robert Clark said it was currently harder for the DPP to appeal than offenders, running the risk that inadequate sentences went unchallenged and future crimes weren’t deterred.
“A number of recent cases, where the DPP’s been called upon to consider whether or not an appeal should be brought, have highlighted that the law is currently unsatisfactory and confusing,” he said.
Shadow Attorney-General Martin Pakula said Labor wouldn’t adopt a policy dropped 96 hours before the election.
“If we are successful on November 29, we will seek advice from the Department of Justice about the merits or otherwise of this particular proposal,” he said.
WHAT THE LAWS MEAN:
* Indefinite jail for repeat murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and serious sex crimes
* Courts obliged to hand down these sentences
* Offenders only released if court deems safe
* No parole
* No release until minimum sentence served equals non-parole period otherwise received
* More power for DPP to appeal.