Review

INSLM review into the prosecution and sentencing of children for Commonwealth terrorist offences

Following a referral by the Prime Minister, the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM) will undertake a review of legislation related to the prosecution and sentencing of children for Commonwealth terrorist offences.

Dr James Renwick SC today announced the review will consider whether Commonwealth legislation should ensure a consistent approach across all States and Territories for the trial of children aged between 10 and 17 years for terrorism related offences. This will not include consideration of changing the age of criminal responsibility for children.

In relation to prosecution of children: Section 20C of the Crimes Act (Cth) means that a child charged with a Commonwealth terrorism offence may be tried, punished or otherwise dealt with as if the offence was an offence against a law of a State or Territory.  The requirements for the trial of children differ among the States and Territories. The review will consider whether Commonwealth legislation should ensure a consistent approach to such matters.

In relation to sentencing: Section 19AG of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) establishes minimum non-parole periods for persons convicted of certain offences. For most terrorism offences, upon conviction, s 19AG (2) compels the court to fix a single non-parole period of at least three-quarters of the sentence for that offence. The review will consider whether s 19AG should be amended for children convicted of Commonwealth terrorism offences.

The INSLM welcomes the participation in the review of interested persons and institutions. Further details about the review, including how to make a submission, will be made available on the INSLM website.

The INSLM is required to complete his review and report to the Prime Minister by 1 December 2018.  Submissions from interested persons and government agencies may be published on the INSLM website.

As a part of the review the INSLM will hold public hearing in Canberra in the second half of 2018. Details of the hearings will be made available closer to the time.