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Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party Victim Rights Amendments pass Legislative Council

09 February 2022
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party Victim Rights Amendments pass Legislative Council

Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party last night advanced Victoria’s recognition of people harmed by crime when the Legislative Council passed two key changes to the government’s omnibus criminal procedure legislation.

The Opposition and crossbench supported two of three DHJP amendments to the Justice Legislation Amendment (Criminal Procedure Disclosure and Other Matters) Bill 2021.

These changes were first recommended to the government by the Victorian Law Reform Commission six years ago in a landmark review of the role of victims in criminal trials.

The first will mandate the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) to notify crime victims of their right to make a victim impact statement at an offender’s sentencing.

The second will compel the OPP and other crime agencies to inform victims of their right to compensation or restitution from a convicted offender, and to refer them to available legal help.

The third, endorsed by the Victims of Crime Commissioner, would have enabled victims to seek a review of an OPP decision to discontinue an offender’s prosecution, or allow a serious offence to be plea-bargained to a lesser charge, and to be told of this right.

But the proposed right to a review was defeated on a tied vote, 18-18, when the Reason Party’s Fiona Patten and Greens’ Samantha Ratnam shifted their support to the government, which opposed the change.

The Animal Justice Party’s Andy Meddick opposed each of the DHJP amendments.

Comments from Stuart Grimley MP:

“With these amendments, the simple fact is that whatever is in the current regulations, policies and legislation, dealing with victim impact statements and restitution is not working.

“These amendments are simple and straightforward and will further strengthen the rights of victims within the judicial process.

 

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