The Fragility Of Liberty In Australia

January 21, 2014

By PATRICK KEYZER, Professor of Constitutional Law.

Last week the Queensland Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie MP, decided not to appeal two decisions of the Queensland Court of Appeal, handed down on 6 December last year, striking down the Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Act.

The Public Interest Declarations Act, enacted on 17 October 2013, was the latest in a decade of reforms to the law governing the preventive detention of serious sex offenders.

The Act authorized the Attorney-General to “request” the Governor of Queensland “in Council” to make a “public interest declaration” that a sex offender released from detention by the Queensland Supreme Court or the Queensland Court of Appeal should be returned to prison if it was in the public interest to do so.

Read the rest of this entry »


Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Act Deemed Unconstitutional

October 18, 2013

By PATRICK KEYZER, Professor of Constitutional Law.

The Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Act is almost certainly unconstitutional.  The High Court has said previously that the imprisonment of a person who is judged to be dangerous can only be ordered by a court reviewing the evidence.  This unprecedented law usurps the role of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the Queensland Court of Appeal, giving the Attorney-General the judicial power to order that a person should be imprisoned.

This legislation will certainly be subjected to a constitutional challenge.

The Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Bill 2013 can be accessed here: Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Amendment Bill