Yesterday’s County Court decision that saw two defendants avoid jail time for a vicious attack on a hard working paramedic highlights the urgent need to make it clear to the courts that 2014 minimum sentencing laws were intended to see strong sentences for despicable attacks on emergency workers.
In 2014, the previous Coalition Government introduced tough minimum sentencing laws to send a clear message to violent thugs that violence against first responders like paramedics will not be tolerated.
Since that time, courts have refused to apply those laws as intended by Parliament leading to the extraordinary situation where not one person has been sentenced to a minimum term.
Courts have ignored the clear parliamentary intention behind those laws and have, by extension, dismissed community concerns about how seriously violence against our first responders ought to be treated.
Over the last three years, we have repeatedly called on the Andrews Labor Government to clarify the intention of those laws so the courts can’t continually avoid applying them.
Daniel Andrews has ignored those calls and first responders continue to pay the heavy price.
If elected later this year, Matthew Guy and the Liberal Nationals will immediately address the refusal by the courts to apply minimum sentences for attacks against first responders.
This will be in addition to other strong sentencing measures like mandatory minimum sentencing for our worst offenders and a crackdown on concurrent sentencing.