Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Crimes Amendment (Remissions of Sentences) Bill 2021
The need for this Crimes Amendment (Remissions of Sentences) Bill 2021 can be best summarised in relation to a case study which the Australian Federal Police provided as its submission to part of the review of this bill in relation to the sentencing of Mr Adam Brookman:
On 23 June 2021, Mr Brookman was sentenced to 6 years and 8 months imprisonment, with a nonparole period of 5 years, after pleading guilty to the charge of performing services in Syria in support or promotion of the commission of an offence against the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 (Cth). But for his guilty plea, Mr Brookman would have been sentenced to imprisonment for 8 years and 6 months with a non-parole period of 7 years. At the time of sentencing, Mr Brookman was expected to serve an additional 9 months in custody (noting he had been in custody on remand for 5 years and 11 months).
Note that this is an individual charged with respect to performing services in Syria in relation to committing offences under the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act. The submission also said:
It is important to note that the sentencing judge, in her remarks, already considered and accounted for hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What happened in the case of Mr Brookman? The submission states:
On 23 June 2021, the same day Mr Brookman was sentenced, the AFP was advised that Mr Brookman had been granted a total of 342 EMDs pursuant to s 58E of the Corrections Act 1986 (VIC), resulting in a reduction of Mr Brookman's overall sentence and his release into the community—
This is a person who went to Syria and was convicted under the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act—
… resulting in a reduction of Mr Brookman's overall sentence and his release into the community late on the evening of 23 June 2021.
Note the date, Madam Deputy President: it's the same date that he was sentenced. On the same day that he was sentenced, and within a matter of hours, because of this extraordinary grant of 342 EMDs he was released. As the AFP said:
The time between sentencing and Mr Brookman's release was a matter of hours. As a high risk terrorist offender, Mr Brookman was a risk to community safety …From the time of his release till 6 July 2021, when an interim control order application was determined by the Federal Court of Australia, there was a short period of time—
Count the days: 23 June 2021 through to 6 July 2021—
There was a short period of time where a control order was not in place against Mr Brookman.
That was a direct result of the fact that the extraordinary total of 342 EMDs had been granted and Mr Brookman's sentence had to be reduced by that amount. If nothing else, it draws into stark relief—