Friday, April 03, 2009

Arbitrary, retrospective... and unnecessary

One of the most offensive things about yesterday's insta-law imposing retrospective arbitrary detention for crimes already punished is that it was completely unnecessary. As the Attorney-General points out [PDF], the policy objective can be achieved in a manner consistent with the BORA:

It would appear to be possible for the imposition of restrictions amounting to long term detention to be achieved in a rights consistent way through use of the preventative detention regime or though amendment to the Sentencing Act 2002 to allow courts to impose an extended parole period as part of the sentence following convictions for specific offending. This is broadly the scheme which was adopted in Canada.
In other words, get a judge to do it as part of someone's sentence, and its OK. But I guess the idea of having sentences imposed by the courts in a fair and transparent manner is just too "soft" for the government now. Better to rewrite the law to punish after the fact.