The prosecution and sentencing of children for terrorism

2 April 2019

Under s 7 of the INSLM Act, following a suggestion made by the CDPP, Ms Sarah McNaughton SC, and a request by me, the then Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, referred to me for review the matter of ‘the prosecution and sentencing
of children for terrorism offences’.

His letter of referral said that consideration should be given as to ‘whether to implement arrangements to ensure a consistent approach to the prosecution of children for Commonwealth terrorism offences’.

This has required me to review in particular ss 19AG, 15AA and 20C of the Crimes Act, but also many other provisions of Commonwealth, State and Territory laws.

Other significant matters have arisen during the review which fall within my ‘own motion’ power to review, and which are necessary and convenient to review and report on concurrently with the Prime Ministerial reference.

In conducting this review, I have received many submissions, and held private hearings with relevant Commonwealth agencies, and public hearings with them and others.

Within Australia, I have consulted ministers, judges, agencies, human rights bodies, legal experts and organisations, and juvenile justice and corrective services officers. In the United Kingdom (and to an extent in New Zealand), I have consulted with judges, prosecutors, experienced counsel, my current and recent counterparts,2 and experts in disengagement and counter-radicalisation.

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