Evidence, Community Protection and Liberty in Australian Post-Sentence Protection Legislation

Geoffrey Smith

Abstract


This article addresses a number of issues regarding post-sentence detention order regimes in the context of an analysis of a collection of publicly available judgments made under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 (Qld). The article raises concerns regarding the accuracy of the psychiatric evidence presented to the court. However, it
suggests that the way in which the psychiatrists conduct their prisoner assessments, and the way in which judges have applied the main rules of expert evidence, have combined to ensure that the potential for unjust outcomes has been minimised. The article also suggests that judges have
struck a fine balance between community protection and prisoner liberty, by in most cases making supervision orders which allow prisoners to be released into the community under strict conditions, rather than making detention orders. As no prisoner released under a supervision order is known to have committed a further sex offence, it is the conclusion of this
article that the judges’ approach to cases under the dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 (Qld) has been highly successful, and may represent a solution to the serious problem of recidivist sex offenders within the community.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/dlr2008vol13no1art155

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