Qld report finds clear sentencing bias in murder cases
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women in Queensland are being sentenced for murder at much higher rates than the rest of the population, an advisory council on sentencing has found.
The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council, a statutory authority that examines sentencing issues in the state, said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders accounted for 18.5 percent of offenders despite only representing 3.8 percent of the population.
Manslaughter rates were even higher at 21.4 percent.
The council’s Sentencing Spotlights report looked at sentencing outcomes from July 2005 to June last year.
It found that there were 195 sentenced murder cases in the state in the 11-year period. Of the 182 men sentenced for murder, 18.1 percent, or 33, identified as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Of the 13 female offenders, 23.1 percent, or three, were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
Of the 187 men sentenced for manslaughter, 23 percent, or 43, were of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women accounted for 13.5 percent, or five, of the 37 cases of manslaughter in which a woman was involved.
QSAC member assistant commissioner Tracy Linford said the council wanted to better understand and address what was driving the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Queensland criminal justice system.
All 189 murderers charged as adults in Queensland in the last 11 years received life sentences.
Offenders charged with manslaughter averaged eight years in prison. All 224 received a custodial penalty.
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