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Expansion of Court and Police Powers in Relation to Public Safety

The amendments passed by the Queensland Parliament in the Serious and Organised Crime Legislation Amendment Act 2016 (Qld) relating to the Peace and Good Behaviour Act 1982 (Qld) have now commenced, increasing police powers and expanding the types of orders that the courts can make. This article will cover 3 types of orders. We note that each order is subject to its own separate rules, hence if you are subject to another type of an order not covered, you should contact our lawyers as the procedures you should follow could differ substantially. Public Safety Orders Public safety orders are orders which prohibit a person or group...

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Historical gay convictions set to be expunged in bill being considered by committee

Two men stand together holding hands in the dock in a Queensland District Court in the late 1980s – their only crime is being in love. In a shameful episode from the state’s history, gay people were prosecuted for a range of offences including indecency, unnatural offences and sodomy, until homosexuality was decriminalised in 1991. John and John were in a committed relationship for 15 years, one had served his country in Vietnam, and they loved each other dearly. One day, police came to their home on the Gold Coast to investigate an unrelated and unproven matter. While there, the officers noticed photos of them on the wall,...

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Potts Lawyers Awarded as a Leading Criminal Law Firm

Potts Lawyers Awarded as a Leading Criminal Law Firm by Doyle’s Guide 2016. Managing director, Rob Franklin is pleased to announce that Potts Lawyers has again been recognised by the prestigious Doyle’s Guide as a “first tier” leading criminal law firm in Queensland. Director Bill Potts has been named as a leading criminal lawyer whilst director Cameron Browne has been named as a recommended criminal lawyer. It is heartening to see that amongst the total of 26 criminal lawyers listed for Queensland, more than a quarter have spent several years working in our practice. The Doyle’s Guide recognises top Queensland Criminal Lawyers who have been identified by clients and peers...

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Locals can get involved with the sentencing process in a Gold Coast event as judge for a day

IT’S time to strap on your wig, pop on your robes and lay down the law — a free event is allowing Gold Coasters to be a judge for a day. Today’s Judge for Yourself community event will give locals the opportunity to put themselves into the shoes of a judge and decide on a sentence based on real events. Former Queensland Law Society president and Southport-based criminal lawyer Bill Potts said the event, run by the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council, was a great way to demystify the sentencing process. “The sentencing of criminals is one of the most misunderstood and difficult tasks,”...

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Cancellation of visas for those who commit crimes in Australia

Non-citizens: Can I remain in Australia if I have a criminal conviction? For non-citizens, including permanent residents and special category visa holders (New Zealanders), having a criminal conviction may lead to deportation or involuntary removal from Australia. A criminal conviction (even if no conviction is recorded) may also affect those on work or travel visas. What is the “character test”? Section 501(3A) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) states that the Minister must cancel a visa that has been granted to a person if the person does not pass the “character test”. A person will fail the character test if: the person has a “substantial criminal record”...

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Domestic violence: Bill Potts says blanket bail refusal not the answer

Changes should be made in the way courts deal with domestic violence offenders with mental health issues, rather than making bail harder to secure, a prominent Queensland lawyer has argued. The LNP has pledged to introduce laws reversing the onus of proof for bail on domestic violence cases in the first sitting week of Parliament in 2017. Queensland Law Society immediate past president Bill Potts says reversing the onus of proof for bail in domestic violence cases is not the answer.    The LNP’s legislation would cover people charged over domestic violence-related incidents, including offences of strangulation, assault, deprivation of liberty and kidnapping. That means...

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Potts says new anti-bikie laws are a step forward – but not without problems

Queensland Law Society has applauded the Palaszczuk Labor Government for dispatching the LNP’s flawed and unworkable VLAD anti-bikie laws to the dustbin of history. However, Society president Bill Potts said the new Serious and Organised Crime Legislation Amendment Bill had its own inherent shortcomings and problems – but was a marked step forward from the previous legislation. “QLS is delighted the government has repealed the Newman LNP Government’s controversial Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Association Act – which was the subject of considerable criticism among the legal profession,” he said. “The Society has always strongly advocated for evidence-based legislation and policy. “We have always sought...

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Appointment of Queenslander as nation’s first female High Court Chief Justice a worthy and inspired choice

Queensland Law Society has praised the Federal Government for its appointment of esteemed jurist Susan Kiefel as the nation’s first female High Court Chief Justice. President Bill Potts said the appointment was a just and warranted recognition for the tireless leadership and contribution Justice Kiefel had made to the judiciary since her appointment to Queensland’s Supreme Court in 1993. “Justice Kiefel’s appointment is most welcome and the decision to appoint her is probably the easiest one Prime Minister Turnbull will have to make during his tenure; Her Honour is clearly the best person for the job,” Mr Potts said. “She is not only...

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Potts calls for abolition of laws allowing 17-year-olds to be sentenced as adults

Queensland Law Society has called on the state government to implement swift legislation reform to ensure 17-year-olds are no longer considered adults in the eyes of the law. Society president Bill Potts said it was simply appalling Queensland remained the only state or territory in Australia that treats 17-year-olds as adult offenders and subjects them to terms locked up in adult prisons with hardened and seriously violent criminals. Mr Potts said Tuesday’s (Aug 30) revelation about the harsh summary punishment inflicted on a teenage offender by guards in an adult wing of Brisbane’s Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre lent credence to the Society’s long-held...

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QLS President Message

Our profession has much of which to be proud as I come to end of my year as your 2016 president. I said at the beginning of the year that I am a proud to be a Queensland solicitor and after a year in the role as the QLS’s most privileged elected position it has given me a great amount of respect and pride in the more than 13,000 solicitors across the state. I have long believed that advocacy for good law and educating the public as to what we do as lawyers is integral to enhancing and fortifying the reputation of...

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