Queensland Criminal Justice System reform
Queensland Criminal Justice System reform
Why this petition matters
On 11 August, 2022 a killer was sentenced to only 20 months jail. If you are as appalled by this slap on the wrist and would like to see heavier penalties for convicted criminals imposed, please sign this petition. We need to stop the further victimisation of victims at the hand of the "Criminal Justice System". Keep reading if you want the full details of the case and my appeal to the sentencing judge to hand down the maximum sentence which went unheeded.
After yesterday's disgraceful sentence, I have had to take a beat and decide what, if anything, I can do. I come to the realisation that I can't do anything on my own and that the only way the "Criminal Justice System" can be changed is if we as a society stand as one by putting our votes, voices and disapproval to the politicians. In doing so, we need to demand sweeping reforms of the whole unjust system be implemented.
To that end, I have published my entire victim impact statement below for you to repost far and wide. What you probably don't know is the restrictions placed on a victim when writing this statement, those being that you are not allowed to mention the victimising incident at all, you are also not allowed an opinion of the piece of garbage that made you a victim. In other words, the victim is victimised by the system that is supposed to be our protection. The system that is supposed to be society's punishment tool. Instead our punishment tool has been hijacked by the criminals it is supposed to punish to reward their bad behaviour instead. Something needs to be done to address this appalling lack of justice.
Here is my statement.
Ian was a father, husband, son, brother, son-in-law but he was also so much more than this. Ian was a loving, faithful, funny, intelligent man who was loved and respected by everyone who knew him. Ian had a fabulous sense of humour, he was quick to make fun of himself and always had a quick comeback for any conversation piece, he loved dad jokes and he could produce a dad joke for any occasion. Part of Ian’s comedic ways was his knack for parody. He quite often created parodies while a song was playing in the background. They were always brilliant and funny and they brought an instant smile to our faces. Ian was without a doubt the smartest person I have ever known, I could ask him about anything and he always had some knowledge about nearly every topic. This was probably as a result of his eclectic reading list which included encyclopedias, the Guinness Book of Records, other non-fiction books and fiction novels.
Ian was a devoted family man and he was especially proud of our son Aaron and the man that he grew into. Aaron would not be the well-rounded individual he is if he had not had Ian to shape him through his developmental years. Ian was the cool calm and collected parent in our household and Aaron and I both relied on him to provide that calming influence. Ian was very rarely rattled, he always had a way of looking at all sides and saying exactly the right thing at the right time to diffuse any situation.
When Ian was younger he played representative polocrosse for the South East Zone, Queensland and Australia. He was a keen sportsman playing indoor cricket and netball and has he got older and wasn’t able to compete any longer, he became an avid spectator. He loved cricket in particular and would watch any country or regional cricket being televised. As a weight loss action, Ian and I took up walking and we walked miles and miles every day. We both had Fitbit activity trackers and we were competitive with the number of steps per day and all of the other health related tracking the devices provided. Although Ian was never really a tennis fan, he happily kept me company when I went to the tennis. We talked all things tennis even though he wasn’t overly interested because he knew I liked it and it made me happy. That was Ian all over.
Ian would always put himself out there for the people he cared about. There was nothing too big. He would give everything a go both personally and professionally. He always went the extra mile for his family, the people he worked for and his customers. If something needed to be done, he never procrastinated, he just got in there and did it no matter if it was something he didn’t want to do or not. He just made sure that everything that needed to be done was done. Ian was a fun, happy, gentle giant who everyone just seemed to gravitate towards. He was generous with his time and spirit.
Ian and I were only married for 29 years. You may think this is a long time, but it didn’t feel like that length of time had passed at all. We were in the process of planning a special trip to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary but Ian was killed before we had the opportunity to celebrate this milestone. We should have been married for at least another 30 years as Ian’s genetics were definitely pointing towards that type of lifespan and I am beyond angry that I have not had the opportunity to spend the rest of my life with this kind, loving gentle giant. Ian was not just my husband, he was my best friend, confidant, patience and just generally the best part of our relationship. He really was my better half and I feel like I am less than a whole person now that I don’t have him by my side to share my life with. I loved spending time with Ian, he had big dreams for the rest of our lives which included the usual winning lotto dreams. He always said that if he won the lotto tonight, he would have the vehicle and caravan bought tomorrow to travel around Australia. I am furious that Ian never had the opportunity to travel around Australia, retire or grow old.
On 1 November 2020, my entire life was changed forever. We never thought that our Sunday morning walk with our dog would end with Ian and I being mowed down while we were crossing the road on a green walk signal. How can a walk which was supposed to improve our health and fitness result in Ian’s death? I still find it extremely difficult to comprehend. I see it over and over in my head and I doubt that it will never leave me. I was supposedly lucky on that day to only receive minor physical injuries, one of which resulted in my having to wear a moon boot for three months. I hate driving past this intersection and if I can avoid it, I do. I am extremely careful when crossing the road even if I have the green light, I won’t step out until I am positive that the traffic has stopped. The sound of ambulance sirens sends shivers through me and I am instantly tense when I hear them. My first thought when I hear them is “there’s another family who has had their life ruined”. Ian was my rock. My safe place. I no longer feel safety of any kind because I know that it can be ripped away so easily.
Although I was injured on the same day, I am here today for Ian, as his advocate and one of the people who loved him and want his life to be acknowledged and avenged. I hope that my voice will not go unacknowledged and that Ian will not be victimised once again by the Criminal Justice System. Note the name, Criminal Justice System… Think about that for a bit, criminal justice is right because there certainly doesn’t appear to be any justice for the victims of the crimes committed by criminals. When the Justice System was first formalised it was easy, “an eye for an eye”, if you killed someone you were tried and executed, if you stole something then your hand was cut off. I am not saying that we should revert to capital punishment, but we need to at least have punishments that fit the crime. Ian was killed. We no longer get to hear him laugh, tell a joke, talk or just be in his presence. We as his loved ones have been denied at least 30 years of our wonderful Ian.
Everything in this entire system is weighted in the criminal’s favour. The criminal has the right to choose their attorney, they have the right to appeal neither of which are available to the victim. In our first meeting with Ian’s legal representative, we were told “I am here to manage your expectation. A maximum sentence will not be handed down in this case because a maximum sentence is never handed down”. I have a few questions about this statement:
1. Why is a maximum sentence never handed down?
2. What incentives are there for criminals not to offend/re-offend if a maximum sentence is never imposed?
3. If you had that choice of a solicitor, would you want this defeatist attitude to be yours or your loved one’s legal representation?
Our society is crying out for harsher penalties for criminals. Try sitting in our shoes. You have no idea how it feels to scream into the black hole of our so-called justice system only to have your voice sucked away and never heard. We have been told that the outcome will be decided by precedent. Remember how the Justice System started and the punishments were delivered. At some point, the punishments moved from capital punishment to taking time from the criminal instead. In the beginning, the time taken from the criminal was equal to the time they stole from the victim. Over time and as a result of judges handing down lesser sentences for the same crimes, the precedents have been set lower and lower by the toothless tiger known as the criminal justice system, where it is supposedly acceptable to reduce a person’s life to only a few years.
Tell me where is the incentive to stop committing crimes when a mere slap on the wrist is the only punishment received? You as the judge in this matter have the ability to set a precedent where a more meaningful punishment is delivered to the criminal and to send a message to all future criminals that society will no longer tolerate their wrongdoings. I implore you to put aside precedent and consider yourself as an instrument of change to set a new precedent where the maximum sentence can and will be handed down. I beg you to hand down an adequate punishment and I promise society will thank you for keeping them safe.