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New offences on their way including aggravated graffiti charges and strangulation

Issued: Wednesday, 7 May 2014

New graffiti laws will make it easier for police and the courts to deal with graffiti offenders and will remove the risk to young hopscotch players which has existed since 1988, Attorney General Brad Hazzard announced today.

“The Graffiti Control Amendment Act modernises graffiti laws to deal with emerging threats such as acid etching, unifying the laws so they are simpler for police to apply and clearing the way for more offenders to be given clean up orders.

“In modernising the law, the final Bill clarifies an existing offence which technically, but improbably, could have stopped children innocently playing or dampened community spirit,” Mr Hazzard said.

The Act, which passed the Legislative Council today;
· introduces a new offence of aggravated marking for graffiti that can’t be readily removed by wiping, water or detergent which carries a 12 month jail sentence and fine of $2,200,
· clarifies that courts can include a community clean up order as part of a graffiti offender’s sentence even if hasn’t been specifically sought by the prosecutor or offender, and
· includes an exemption to prevent a person from being prosecuted for chalking on a public pavement in NSW, technically an offence since at least 1988.

Mr Hazzard said a new report into Graffiti Removal Day, funded by the NSW Government, showed strong community support for a graffiti-free environment.

“Graffiti Removal Day 2013 saw an 83 per cent increase in volunteers, with almost 1100 community members taking part in the clean up,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Their work resulted in 23,140 square metres of graffiti being removed, saving taxpayers and businesses an estimated $1.5 million in clean up costs.”

Graffiti Removal Day 2014 will be held in October and for the third consecutive year, the NSW Government is teaming up with Rotary Down Under to run the event.
“The NSW Government has worked with communities to reinvigorate and protect public facilities, such as parks and sporting grounds, that have been spoilt by senseless vandalism, and we will continue with measures to strengthen local communities,” Mr Hazzard said.

Issued: Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The NSW Government is toughening up penalties relating to strangulation and reforming the law to ensure people who commit such violent acts, generally in the context of domestic violence, can be successfully prosecuted.

Attorney General Brad Hazzard said the Director of Public Prosecutions had been concerned the current offence of strangulation was inadequate and did not fully reflect its serious nature.

“The new offence of strangulation does away with the need to prove the offender choked the victim while intending to commit another offence, such as sexual assault, murder or robbery. This will make prosecution much easier,” Mr Hazzard said.

“The new offence attracts a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and clearly sends the message that this is a very serious offence which deserves significant punishment.”

Currently 70 per cent of strangulation cases in a domestic violence context are dealt with as common assault, attracting a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment.

Minister for Family and Community Services, Gabrielle Upton, said on average there were nearly 15,500 proven charges of domestic violence in NSW each year.

“Choking a vulnerable partner is a horrific act that instils great fear and often acts as a threat within escalating domestic violence,” Ms Upton said.

“Often perpetrators strangle their intimate partner to the point of unconsciousness, putting their partners in fear for their lives, but leaving little or no physical evidence.”

The Crimes Amendment (Strangulation) Bill 2014 was introduced into Parliament today. It will retain the aggravated version of the offence, committed in the context of another indictable offence with a maximum penalty of 25 years.

The reform builds on other measures across the police and justice system to deal with domestic violence such as specialist domestic violence training for police prosecutors, the establishment of a Violent Domestic Crimes Taskforce to look at current sentencing options and It Stops Here , the whole of Government domestic and family violence reform.

“Where there are shortfalls in the law we will take a common sense approach and act on that advice, delivering a criminal justice system the community can have confidence in,” Mr Hazzard said.

Cited from Lawlink

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