Tele: Attorney-General Mark Speakman to look at mandatory non-parole sentences for murderers

A special report analysing whether murderers should receive tougher sentences is due to be released within days.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman asked the Sentencing Council to conduct the review in 2018, after a Daily Telegraph campaign exposed­ a pattern of lenient punishments being handed down to murderers who kill their partners.

Expected “imminently”, the paper will guide Mr Speakman on whether he should change laws to make mandatory non-parole periods in murder and manslaughter cases.

“I thought 20-years non parole was on the light side for a murder. I asked the Sentencing Council to look at homicide sentencing generally. The report will be available imminently – any day,” Mr Speakman told The Daily Telegraph.

“They may not reach a consensus and I’m not bound by anything they recommend, but it’s a well-credentialed, broad cross-section of players and I’ll be very interested in what they have to say.”

The Council chaired by Peter McLellan who ran the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse includes criminologists, statisticians, victim groups and the Department of Public Prosecutions.

As it stands, the standard non parole period for murder is 20 years and 25 years in aggravated circumstances, including if the victim was a police officer or a child.

Sister of rape and murder victim Anne-Marie Culleton, NSW resident Eileen Culleton, wrote to the review asking for sex-crime killers to receive a mandatory life sentence with no parole.

The NSW Bar Association opposed mandatory sentencing laws in its submission, with president Tim Game SC writing “individualised justice” was essential for the criminal justice system.

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia executive officer Karen Willis warned the state government to “carefully monitor” unintended negative impacts a reform could have on women who kill their abusive partners.

Over 248 submissions were received by the Council calling for a law prohibiting murderers from being released if they have not disclosed the location of a victim’s body.

The NSW Police Association wrote it supported the ‘no body, no parole’ law.

The report comes after The Telegraph’s Life for a Life campaign revealed that out of more than 150 cases in NSW between 1991 and 2018, there had never been a case where someone ­received a life sentence solely for killing their female partner.

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