News

$300 set to add to crim's tab

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OFFENDERS will leave the courtroom with a larger hole in their pockets, with a new levy of up to $300 set to slug those found guilty.

The fee will apply to people found guilty in the Supreme and District Courts and a $100 levy will apply to people found guilty in the Magistrates Court.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said revenue raised from the levy would be used for frontline services and strengthening support systems for victims of serious crime.

"This levy will apply to all adult offenders; there will be no exceptions," he said.

"To avoid paying the levy, the answer is simple: Don't do the crime."

But Warwick solicitor Phillip Crook said the fees would likely end up in the pool of fines sent to the State Penalties and Enforcement Registry (SPER) for collection.

"If this fee can be deferred to SPER, then I think that's what will happen in most cases," he said.

"A lot of the clients I see are paying off previous fines and the trouble out here is there isn't a lot of access to community service so people can't work off their debt," he said.

"If you're on a pension and get a $700 fine and then another $100 on top of that, you will have to pay it off.

"Some people treat it like a hire purchase."

Mr Crook said he wasn't sure what the rationale was behind the levy, but it certainly wouldn't be a deterrent against crime.

"Most people, when they commit offences, aren't thinking rationally because they're under the influence of drugs or alcohol," he said.

"If you're going to assault someone you're not going to stop and think 'I'm going to have to pay $100 if I do this'," he said.

The levy will be imposed separately to any fine or other sentence imposed.

The Penalties and Sentences and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 will also include an increase in the value of penalty units from $100 to $110.

"The penalty unit is the basic monetary value for most fines and penalty infringement notices issued by courts, police and other Queensland agencies," Mr Bleijie said.

The bill was passed in parliament earlier this week and will apply upon assent from the governor.

Topics:  court criminal guilty



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