25 January 2024

South Australia proposes indefinite jail terms for repeat child-sex offenders

| Andrew McLaughlin
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SA Premier Peter Malinauskas

SA Premier Peter Malinauskas will introduce the new legislation in March. Photo: Screenshot.

Repeat child-sex offenders in South Australia will be faced with the prospect of indefinite imprisonment and lifetime electronic monitoring if new laws to be introduced by the State Government are passed.

The South Australian Government has announced it will introduce the legislation into parliament in March.

If passed, the amendments to the Sentencing Act 2017 will see a person automatically sentenced to indefinite detention for a second serious child sexual offence, and would only be released if they can demonstrate through two psychological assessment reports that they can control their sexual instincts.

Upon release from prison, they would be faced with electronic monitoring to re-enter the community.

“We will be introducing legislation in March that will see a repeat child-sex offender be put away for the rest of their life,” Premier Peter Malinauskas said at a 23 January media conference. “That is to say, they will be in jail indefinitely.

“They should not be released, unless they can demonstrate to a court that they are willing and able to control their sexual instincts. Unless they can prove that, they do not get out, forever!

“In the event that they do pass that stringent test, then these laws will ensure that they are subject to electronic monitoring forever.”

READ ALSO SA’s trial program launched to give vulnerable youth a better chance at growing within a home

The Premier’s apparent urgency comes after a previously convicted child-sex offender accused of assaulting a 12-year-old girl on a train on 11 January was refused home detention bail on 22 January.

“The events that we’ve seen unfold with allegations of a serious child-sex crime occurring on a public train are shocking,” he said.

“The obligation of the community isn’t to a repeat child-sex offender, the obligation is to innocent children in the community, who should be protected from such crimes.”

The State Opposition supports the legislation and says it will not play politics when it is introduced.

“We’re not going to be obstructionist on this by any means,” Opposition Leader David Speirs told media.

“We’re not going to get in the way of legislation that keeps the most abhorrent criminals off South Australia’s streets.”

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