Rob thy neighbour

THE Queensland Police Union is calling court sentences for burglars an “absolute joke” and the Opposition says judges need to hand out harsher sentences.

It comes after a string of burglars went through the Rockhampton Magistrates Court in the past fortnight but escaped custodial sentences.

They included a drunken man who broke into his neighbour’s house and stole cash, leaving a trail of blood that led police to arrest him.

Kenneth Thomas Webb yesterday pleaded guilty to one charge of entering premises and commit an indictable offence for a burglary at an address on Dowling Street in Rockhampton between January 28 and February 20 this year.

He received a $500 fine from Magistrate John McGrath who also imposed $1063 compensation.

Burglary carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail.

Queensland Police Union President Ian Leavers said the justice system “seemed to forget about the victim”.

“The penalty is tough but the courts are not imposing it because there’s no direction from government.”

Mr Leavers said the system was a “revolving door” for offenders and an “absolute joke”.

He said police officers were frustrated with “picking up the same people” for property crimes and then seeing them walk free after a court appearance.

“Because we are dealing with the victims we see the pain of the victim and how they fear to be in their own home at times.”

Mr Leavers said it was more important for burglars to be jailed than for judges to worry about prisons becoming full.

As of yesterday the Capricornia Correctional Centre was at 93% capacity with 363 at the secure facility and 47 on the farm.

LNP shadow justice minister Jarrod Bleijie said the law was adequate to deal with burglars but judges were not imposing the penalties.

He called on judges to follow the lead of Southport District Court Judge Clive Wall.

“Over time we have had a softening up of sentencing.”

“Judge Wall said: ‘Enough is enough, I’m going to impose harsher penalties on robbers’,” Mr Bleijie explained.

“We need judges to start saying what Judge Clive Wall has said.”

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