The Queensland Government has implemented various new laws to create safe precincts as part of their “Safe Night-Out Strategy” to target and prevent violent anti-social behaviour. Drug and alcohol-related violence is a concern for all members of the community who look to the law to deter this behaviour.
The Maroochydore, Mooloolaba and Caloundra areas are now considered Safe Night-Out Precincts and subject to new stricter laws effective immediately. Changes include increased maximum penalties a court can impose on a person who breaches these Safe Night-Out Precinct laws. For example, a person who refuses or tries to resists being removed from a licensed premises or tries to enter licensed premises after being refused entry can be fined up to $5,890.
The powers of police have also been increased in these precincts so a police officer can issue on-the-spot fines of up to $589. The police also have the power to issue a banning notice on a person preventing them from being within a Safe Night Precinct or entering a licensed premises if the person has previously behaved in an offensive, disorderly, violent or threatening manner.
A banning notice can be issued without the person being charged with an offence and can be in place for up to three months. A breach of a banning notice could see that person facing a fine of up to $6,600. A person can make an application asking for the banning notice to be removed or changed. Lifetime bans have also been introduced as a way to deter rowdy revellers.
A person charged with an offence of violence in a public place, particularly where alcohol is involved, can expect to face harsh penalties from the Court. For example, a person will find themselves facing a potential prison sentence if charged with an assault occasioning bodily harm, even if they have never been in trouble with the law before. Factors such as being young or remorseful will not prevent the Court taking a dim view of such violence and imposing a strict sentence.
Several other initiatives of the “Safe Night-Out Strategy” include addressing transport, lighting of facilities and installing increased CCTV cameras in these precincts. There are hopes the installation of secure taxi zones, increased public transport, ‘sober safe’ centres, and other sobering up services will help reduce alcohol violence in these areas.
After an incident has occurred and a person has been charged with an offence under these new laws the Court can include orders requiring compulsory counselling and community service.
Image credit: Copyright: QLD Police and QPS Media http://mypolice.qld.gov.au/blog/2014/02/12/completed-alcohol-related-violence-survey/
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