Feb 25, 2014

Dark Knight: is a law to keep the Hoddle St killer imprisoned constitutional?

Victorian Parliament wants to pass a law to deny Julian Knight any possibility of parole. But Maurice Blackburn associate Lizzie O'Shea says it is on shaky constitutional ground.

Julian Knight (pictured) has joined a select group: those for whom a state parliament has made a specific law. It is, perhaps, slightly incongruous that some of the key advances in constitutional law have come about thanks to sex offenders, bikie gangs and now possibly a mass murderer.


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7 thoughts on “Dark Knight: is a law to keep the Hoddle St killer imprisoned constitutional?

  1. John Hamer

    I’m guessing Lizzie would have a different attitude to granting Julian Knight parole if a member of her family had been murdered by the scumbag. He should never ever be released.

  2. HB

    thank you, Ms O’shea for this clear explanation. the fact that Mr Knight is, in your view, unlikely to meet parole criteria is particularly interesting. The lines that governments appear willing to cross to appear ‘tough on crime’ are quite alarming.

  3. PaulM

    Who needs laws, Courts and the Parole Board when the lynch mob represented by the John Hamers of the world always know what is right. Ms O’Shea’s penultimate paragraph is the one to which we should all pay attention. Mr Knight has achieved a secondary degree of notoriety through his incessant use of the Courts during his time in gaol, to the extent that he was declared a vexatious litigant. It is hard to imagine that the such behaviour would aid his case with the Parole Board. But wait, there is a State election this year.

  4. Andybob

    John Hamer, if you bothered to read the article you would have noticed that Lizzie is not arguing that Knight should be paroled. In fact she believes it unlikely that he would be paroled under the current criteria. I also think he should serve his seven consecutive life sentences without being released, but that doesn’t mean that this legislation is necessary or constitutional. Perhaps we can talk about it without the talkback radio kneejerk reaction ?

  5. Gavin Moodie

    Quite. The motive for ‘throwing away the key’ is often not protecting the public as claimed but retribution.

  6. Elizabeth O'Shea

    Thanks everyone for your good spirited replies (Mr Hamer notwithstanding). You’re all correct: I think it’s fair to say that Knight is not safe to be released at this point, but that’s different to saying we should flout the constitution. I am gravely troubled by the implications of attempting to do the latter in this case.

  7. russell bennett

    Has some similarities to the case of Garry David where the Victorian Government introduced the Community Protection Act !990. This allowed the Supreme Court to hold him in preventative detention for 12 months if the evidence showed he was likely to re-offend and therefore represented a risk to the community.The court invoked it on a number of occasions. I don’t know if the legislation was subject to challenge.

    However it highlights the fact that the issue/scenario is not new. However ‘law and order’ was not the issue then that it is now and the Naphine Government while not as gung ho as some still sees some electoral benefits on banging the “L and O’ drum.

    There are also some parallels in Victoria to the treatment of sex offenders after they’ve completed their sentences.

    A complex issue and a stimulating informative article.

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