Queensland Premier Steven Miles has put the state judiciary on notice after clashing with the legal community amid a political storm on youth crime.
Miles has previously flagged the possibility of opening children’s court to journalists, after media access was denied in the case of Ipswich grandmother, Vyleen White, who was allegedly murdered.
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White, 70, died after she was stabbed in the chest in a Redbank Plains shopping centre carpark during an alleged robbery in front of a six-year-old girl on Saturday.
A 16-year-old Bellbird Park boy was charged with White’s murder on Tuesday.
Four other boys — a 16-year-old from Goodna, a 15 and 16-year-old from Bellbird Park and a 15-year-old Ripley boy — were all charged with a range of property offences relating to the alleged theft of White’s car.
“I’m certainly happy, in the first instance, to talk to her about how we can change that magistrate’s behaviour,” Miles said.
Vyleen White was allegedly stabbed in a Redbank Plains carpark. Credit: Supplied
Legal experts have hit back, saying judges simply enforce the laws written by the government.
“They’re using it as a weak, unprincipled and gutless attack on the judiciary, simply because this government has got its back up against the wall on a law and order crisis,” Queensland Council of Civil Liberties Terry O’Gorman said.
“The government has the power to change the youth justice act and the government has the power to change the bail act,” Queensland Law Society President Rebecca Fogerty said.
“If the legal community is saying we need to change the law to reduce magistrate discretion, I will consider that,” Miles told 7NEWS on Thursday, in response to comments from Queensland’s legal community.
Premier Steven Miles. Credit: AAP
“For justice to be done, it has to be seen to be done, and we will reopen the children’s court to the media because that’s the way we can have more transparency,” Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said.
The Queensland Police Union has said it wants to see ankle monitoring bracelets used on all youth who are released on bail — a call that’s been echoed by the White family.
“It’s about time the courts start to do what the community want,” Ian Leavers from the police union said.