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Section 27 reports returning to original purpose – Paul Goldsmith

Section 27 reports will return to their original purpose following the Legal Services Amendment Bill passing its third reading in Parliament today, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith says.

“This will put an end to what has become a cottage industry costing the taxpayers millions with no benefits to the real victims of crime.

“When section 27 of the Sentencing Act was introduced more than 20 years ago, it was intended to allow an offender’s background to be explained verbally to the Court by a person known to them, such as a friend or relative.

“However, in recent years the provision of written reports prepared by a person previously unknown to the offender has become common practice.

“As a result, legal aid funding for section 27 reports has increased from approximately $40,000 in 2017, to more than $7 million in the last financial year.

“It’s also resulted in further discounts at sentencing, something the Government is widely concerned about.

“Once the Bill is enacted, Section 27 reports will be excluded from legal aid funding and return to their original purpose.

“This fulfils a key commitment under the coalition Government’s 100-day plan and is important step towards restoring law and order.”

Following Royal Assent there will be a two-week transitional phase before the Act commences.

 

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