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Criminals Shouldn't Prosper For Serving Time

The case of a convicted rapist held in jail 'illegally' for 15 months - after two-thirds of his sentence, but still within the ten years the judge handed down - highlights a need for law change, ACT Justice Spokesman MP Stephen Franks said today.

"This wouldn't be an issue if we had truth in sentencing: ten years should mean ten years.

"The law surrounding early release brims with naïve, good intentions. The result is an unworkable tangle of patched-up legislation. The Government's proposed sentencing changes will not fix the problem. They will widen the discretionary power to let criminals out early.

"Richard Hunia should have had no prospect of early release whatsoever. Hunia - convicted for rape, abduction and threatening to kill - was sentenced to ten years. Yet he spent just eight years behind bars, and is claiming a hundred thousand dollars for being there 'too long'.

"Hunia was released on trust once before: he broke his parole by raping, abducting and threatening to kill a woman, inflicting "every indignity one could imagine" according to the sentencing judge. The statistics on reoffending would have warned the Government that Hunia had an 80 per cent likelihood of creating more victims if let out.

"Nobody ever intended criminals to prosper financially for being in jail. Hunia's victims didn't get $100,000. It will be scandalous if Hunia gets compensation while they get nothing.

"Our law should be clear: the judge's sentence must be served in its entirety. Officials should not be authorised to subvert courtroom decisions," Mr Franks said.


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