The Federal Government is considering scrapping the death sentence for drug-related murder.
Key points:Victorian law says the death of an offender who was convicted of an offence but is now free on parole will not be treated as murder unless the offender commits the same offence againVictorian Premier Daniel Andrews says a moratorium on capital punishment should be put in place over a period of three yearsThe Australian Federal Police (AFP) is proposing to abolish the death row penalty, saying that under the current law offenders who are now free from the death chamber will not face any further penalty if they are found guilty of an offences committed in prison.
But the state’s chief justice, Angus Scott, has expressed reservations about the move, saying the death sentences should be kept in place for all drug offences.
He said it was unclear whether the abolition would be a “major change to the way we deal with drug crime”.
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission is considering the move and has not yet released a formal response.
But Mr Andrews said the moratorium should be in place to allow a three-year period for offenders to receive parole.
“The Commonwealth has made it clear that if an offender is found to have committed an offence and then released on parole, they will have to live in a community with that community, but the Commonwealth will continue to enforce the law,” he said.
“So it is very clear that we want to keep the death penalties in place, and we’re going to keep putting pressure on the states and territories to make sure that we do.”
Mr Andrews said he was “very much open” to the death-penalty debate.
“I’ve been in contact with a number of people in this field, and I’ve been very much open to the idea that there’s no better way to deal with a drug-based crime than by putting people behind bars for life,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“And I’ve made it very clear to the Government that I would like to see the death in the shortest possible period of time, not more than three years, but not more, not less.”
Mr Scott said he believed the moratorium could be put into place over three years and that it would be possible to keep it in place without compromising the deterrent.
He also said he had been told the Government was “open to” the death option.
“If the Commonwealth thinks it can make the transition from a mandatory minimum to a mandatory death sentence, that would be fantastic,” he was quoted as saying by The Australian.
“It would make it more appealing, it would make the system more effective.”
Drug offences are among the more than 200 types of drug offences that are punishable by the death.