MP calls for tougher sentences

MINIMUM sentences should be done away with for people who commit certain kinds of heinous or dangerous crimes, State Lismore MP Thomas George said.

Responding to proposed new laws that would jail people who lead police on high-speed chases for up to two years – or for up to five years for a second offence – Mr George welcomed them, but was sceptical many would get the maximum sentences.

The new laws – dubbed ‘Skye’s Law’ after 19-month-old Skye Sassine, who died during a police chase in Sydney on New Year’s Eve when two alleged robbers veered into the car carrying her – were unveiled by Premier Kristina Keneally, Attorney-General John Hatzistergos and Police Minister Michael Daley at Parliament House yesterday.

“The NSW Government listened to the concerns raised by police and the community about this issue and acted accordingly,” Ms Keneally said.

“We are giving police the laws they need to come down hard on criminals who recklessly place the lives of officers and the public at risk.”

Mr George backed the laws, but said the community needed to know people breaking them would receive the maximum penalty.

“We sure have to do something,” he said. “They (criminals) are not only putting police in danger, they put innocent bystanders in a position that can cause death.”

Mr George said the Coalition had long advocated flat sentences – no minimum or maximum – for certain crimes, such as shooting a police officer. Others, including Skye’s Law, also warranted flat sentences.



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