Victoria Passes Bill to Keep Craig Minogue and Other Police Killers in Prison

Monday 30 July 2018 @ 9.27 a.m. | Crime | Legal Research

The Victorian Government has passed the Corrections Amendment (Parole) Bill 2018 (VIC) (‘the Bill’) on 26 July 2018, after introducing it on 24 July 2018. The Bill is for the purpose of making restrictive conditions for making a parole order for prisoners.  The Bill specifically names Craig Minogue, who was convicted in 1988 for the murder of a police officer. The Bill is currently awaiting assent.

Main Amendments

The Bill proposes to amend the Corrections Act 1986 (VIC) to achieve the following goals:

  • The insertion of a new section specifically naming Craig Minogue stating that the Board must not make a parole order in respect of Minogue;
  • The substitution of section 74AAA to provide clarification about the intended operation of parole laws as well as to clarify the High Court’s decision in Minogue v Victoria [2018] HCA 27;
  • The substitution of section 127A to provide that the amendments made by this Bill will apply to all parole applications made by prisoners that have not been determined upon commencement of the Bill.

Background to this Bill

The Bill aims to clarify the operation of parole laws applied in the High Court case of Minogue v Victoria [2018] HCA 27. Minogue was convicted in 1988 of one count of murder caused by the explosion of a car bomb which Minogue had parked near the Russell Street Police Complex and the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court Building on 27 March 1986. Due to Minogue’s actions, a policewoman, Angela Taylor, passed away, and 22 other people received injuries. Minogue was then sentenced to imprisonment for life with a non-parole period of 28 years. At the end of this non-parole period on 30 September 2016, he made an application for the grant of parole to the Adult Parole Board (‘the Board’). At this time, the Corrections Act 1986 (Vic) was amended by the insertion of section 74AAA, which provided that the Board must not make a parole order for a prisoner who was convicted for the murder of a person who the prisoner knew was a police officer, unless the Board is satisfied that the prisoner is in imminent danger of dying or is seriously incapacitated. Additionally, after the commencement of the parole application proceedings by Minogue, the Corrections Act 1968 (Vic) was amended again to provide that the amendments by section 74AAA applied to any prisoner, regardless of whether the prisoner was eligible for parole or whether the prisoner had taken steps to apply to the Board to ask for parole.

High Court’s Decision in Minogue v State of Victoria [2018] HCA 27

Minogue argued in the High Court that these provisions did not apply in respect of whim because his parole eligibility date had arisen, and the Board’s jurisdiction had been enlivened and exercised before the commencement of the provisions. His additional argument was that section 74AAA in particular did not apply to him because the provision appeared to turn on whether the prisoner had knowledge as to whether the person killed was a police officer. He argued that this state of mind issue was not addressed during his conviction.

The High Court decided that in the case of section  74AAA, the section applied to a prisoner who was sentenced on the basis that the prisoner knew or was reckless as to whether the person murdered was a police officer, and found that the original conviction contained to reference to Minogue’s state of mind about whether the person killed was a police officer. Due to this determination the High Court concluded that the provision did not apply to the plaintiff. For more information on this case, please read TimeBase’s earlier article

Media Response

In a media release, Corrections Minister Gayle Tierney stated on the matter that Minogue was specifically named in the Bill:

‘This legislation names Craig Minogue to make sure he remains behind bars – upholding the intent of the parliament and ensuring our laws reflect community expectations. Victorians can have complete certainty that Minogue, or any other person who murders a police officer is locked behind bars and fully serves their prison sentence.’

The Minister for Police, Lisa Neville was reported in this media release as stating:

‘Our police work tirelessly to keep the community safe – this legislation puts beyond any doubt that if you kill a police officer in this state, you will not get parole. While it will never bring Angela Taylor back, this legislation will provide some relief to her family that the person who killed their daughter will never receive parole.’

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.

Sources:

Corrections Amendment (Parole) Bill 2018 (VIC), second reading speech and explanatory memorandum, as published on TimeBase LawOne.

Corrections Act 1986 (VIC), as published on TimeBase Lawone.

Minogue v State of Victoria [2018] HCA 27.

[media release] Minister for Corrections, ‘Strengthening Parole To Keep Police Killers In Prison,’ 24 July 2018.

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