Justice Legislation Amendments (Criminal Responsibility) Bill 2020 - Have your say

This Bill amends the Criminal Code Act 1924 and the Sentencing Act 1997.

These amendments have been made in accordance with the Government’s commitment to respond to “one punch” type attacks as part of their “Law and Order” policy.

Amendments to the Criminal Code

Section 13(1) provides that a person is not criminally responsible for an act “which occurs by chance”. In other Code jurisdictions, the term “accident” is used. Courts have generally considered these provisions as comparable.

The Bill replaces the reference to an event occurring “by chance” with a specific explanation of what this means.

The addition of 13(1)(a) and (b) reflects the definition set down in the case of Kaporonowski and which has been generally accepted by courts in the various Code jurisdictions as a just means of defining the boundaries of criminal responsibility.

In addition, the Bill introduces an additional subsection (1A). This provision enshrines the “eggshell skull principle” into the Code. This will ensure that someone cannot escape criminal responsibility for causing death or grievous bodily harm due to the fact that their victim had a defect, weakness or abnormality.

Amendment to the Sentencing Act 1997

The Bill includes the addition of section 11C to the Sentencing Act 1997.

The new provision specifies that the court cannot treat the self-induced intoxication of the offender as a mitigating factor when determining an appropriate sentence.

The final Bill has been tabled and is now available on the Parliament of Tasmania website.

Consultation and Publishing submissions

Public consultation on a draft Bill commenced on 24 September 2019 and concluded on 4 November 2019.

The consultation process was undertaken by the Department of Justice and was subject to the Government’s ‘Publication of Submissions Received by Tasmanian Government Departments in Response to Consultation on Major Policy Issues’ policy.

Further details on the policy and a link to the full document are available on the Department of Premier and Cabinet website.

The Department of Justice received 3 submissions that are required to be published in accordance with the policy. As the Government’s consideration of all submissions has now concluded, those submissions that are required to be published have been made available.

Important information to note

  1. Your name (or the name of the organisation) will be published unless you request otherwise.
  2. In the absence of a clear indication that a submission is intended to be treated as confidential (or parts of the submission), the Department will treat the submission as public.
  3. If you would like your submission treated as confidential, whether in whole or in part, please indicate this in writing at the time of making your submission clearly identifying the parts of your submission you want to remain confidential and the reasons why. In this case, your submission will not be published to the extent of that request.
  4. Copyright in submissions remains with the author(s), not with the Tasmanian Government.
  5. The Department will not publish, in whole or in part, submissions containing defamatory or offensive material. If your submission includes information that could enable the identification of other individuals then either all or parts of the submission will not be published.

Accessibility of submissions

The Government recognises that not all individuals or groups are equally placed to access and understand information. We are therefore committed to ensuring Government information is accessible and easily understood by people with diverse communication needs.

Where possible, please consider typing your submission in plain English and providing it in a format such as Microsoft Word or equivalent.

The Government cannot however take responsibility for the accessibility of documents provided by third parties.

The Right to Information Act 2009 and confidentiality

Information provided to the Government may be provided to an applicant under the provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI). If you have indicated that you wish all or part of your submission to be treated as confidential, your statement detailing the reasons may be taken into account in determining whether or not to release the information in the event of an RTI application for assessed disclosure. You may also be contacted to provide any further comment.