Police Must Release Details Of Covid Tickets
"The police must have the consent of the community in order to be effective. This means that the police must ensure that the way that they behave is fair, so that it engenders trust in the community. This is always so, but is particularly so in times where the police have been given draconian powers"
The extraordinary powers, even though they may be justifiable, demand immediate accountability.
"We have already seen media criticism, entirely justifiably of police use of these powers in other States. Everyday citizens have entirely legitimate questions about what they can and cannot do under these laws. To address this issue, the Commissioner should regularly provide details, without identifying the person charged, of what every person charged under these laws has done to result in them being charged."
The Home Confinement Direction, as we have noted previously:
1. Is incredibly vague
2. does not state that punitive action should be the last resort
3. includes a defence of reasonable excuse, which we won't know the meaning of until some Court tells us in the distant future
4. reverses the onus of proof onto the defendant.
"In the end, these issues are being addressed by the exercise of police discretion. It is in the interests of both the police and the community that the police are transparent about how they are exercising this discretion."
"In this time of crisis, greater accountability is needed. To that end, we call upon the Queensland Parliament to establish a committee, along the lines of that which has been established in the Federal Parliament to oversee the government's conduct during this crisis."
The police should be required to send details of all tickets and charges laid under laws relating to Covid19 to that committee and the committee should report fortnightly on that information.
"Emergency measures do not justify less scrutiny. In fact, the opposite is the case, we need to be even more alert to the threats to our basic liberties."
13 April 2020
Queensland Council for civil liberties