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Stronger community protections against serious offenders

23 July 2020

South Australia's serious repeat offender laws are being amended this week to ensure there is clarity in how the laws are applied.

Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said the Marshall Liberal Government had reviewed the laws due to inconsistencies in the current legislation. 

"These laws are designed to ensure that offenders who have committed a certain number of serious offences are dealt with much more harshly by the courts for any new matters - regardless of the severity of the new crime," Attorney-General Chapman said.

"It's an important deterrent in the fight against recidivism.

"However, it's become clear that there are problems with the laws as they currently stand. 

"Changes over the years have meant it is unclear how many offences it takes to reach the threshold for being considered and sentenced as a serious repeat offender. There is also confusion around the types of offences that are covered and how offending in other jurisdictions is considered in our courts.

"These amendments remove the ambiguity, by making it clear exactly what types of offences are considered under the scope of serious repeat offending, and the number of previous offences required before an individual is sentenced under these provisions.

"Under these amendments, a person will be considered a serious repeat offender if they have been convicted of at least three serious repeat offences committed on separate occasions, or two serious sexual offences where the victim was under the age of 14." 

Attorney-General Chapman said the changes would ensure Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Courts have a more streamlined process by which serious repeat offenders are identified and dealt with and a clear appreciation of the circumstances in which these laws apply.