Liberty Victoria opposes changes to the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) (Crimes Act) to deal specifically with ‘Grab and Drag’ offences. As noted in Issues Paper I, there are many indictable offences in the Crimes Act that cover the criminal conduct sought to be targeted by these proposed laws.
A specific ‘grab and drag’ offence related to sexual harm may overlap with existing offences, further complicating existing law. Liberty Victoria has repeatedly highlighted the potential for confusion, misuse, inconsistent application and overcharging where there is potential overlap between proposed and existing offences.
Further, where such new offences may attract presumptive or mandatory sentences, this creates a litany of problems, including a disincentive for accused persons to plead guilty, delay in proceedings, erosion of judicial discretion. Liberty Victoria is also concerned that these kinds of offences will lead to key decisions being made by prosecution authorities as to whether to proceed with such offences, which may operate unfairly and could lead to ambit claims to encourage plea negotiation by accused.