Alexander calls for 3-year minimum gang sentence
For immediate release
Wednesday, 3 March, 2004
Alexander calls for three-year minimum gang sentence
The Government should push for a three-year minimum jail term for participating in criminal gangs, United Future's Marc Alexander said today in revealing to Parliament that there had been just 12 convictions averaging 16-month jail sentences, in the past four years.
"We have Section 98A of the Crimes Act which is supposed to be taking criminal gang members off the streets for up to five years - but the reality is very different," Mr Alexander, United Future's law and order spokesman, said.
"If the courts won't do the job, Parliament needs to readdress the situation and insert a mandatory minimum sentence," he said.
While Associate Justice Minister Margaret Wilson acknowledged United Future's strong anti-gang position, she distanced the Government from the courts' handling of such matters.
Mr Alexander said later that this was all the more reason why the Government should reflect society's abhorrence of drug-peddling gangs with a three-year minimum sentence.
United Future continues to push a comprehensive package of initiatives to at once tackle gangs, confiscate their assets and by so doing, hit the drug scene hard.
Mr Alexander renewed his call for a cross-party approach to the issue of gangs and drugs.