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Cronulla riot bail refusal a set back for justice

Riot bail refusal a set back for justice

There is no legal or moral justification for denying bail to the young men involved in the Cronulla riot who appeared in the Sutherland Local Court today, says Greens MP and justice spokesperson Lee Rhiannon.

"The riot laws rushed through the NSW parliament are doing nothing to make our community safer and have done a great disservice to the rehabilitation of those who perpetrated the violence," Ms Rhiannon said.

"The riot laws were more of a PR stunt than a genuine attempt to tackle the root causes of violence and racism.

"Gaol is a horrendous experience. Prisoners are brutalised and often leave the criminal justice system with a sense of hopelessness about their own future and the wider society.

"The three young men who were refused bail today certainly need to be punished if they attacked people of Middle Eastern appearance.

"But surely our society can do better than locking up first time offenders on assault charges.

"These young men could be most productively dealt with by community service orders and group conferencing with people from non-English speaking communities.

"The government should be using the justice system to foster cooperation and understanding between different communities.

"The present lock-them-up response promotes distrust and hatred. "It is time Premier Iemma broke the law and order mould of his predecessor and approached the criminal justice system with more intelligence and sensitivity," Ms Rhiannon said.

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