Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 07, 2023


Violent Offender Sentencing

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD (15:16): It is very good to be here, I assure you. Thank you. I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Attorney-General regarding sentencing in our courts.

Leave granted.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD: On 7 September 2001, Mr Raymond Page—who was under the influence of drugs and alcohol—inflicted an unprovoked attack on an elderly man, a grandfather, Mr Francesco Candido, which led to Mr Candido's death around a fortnight later. Mr Page, a repeat offender with an extremely violent and extensive history, pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter and was yesterday sentenced to jail for six years, nine months and two weeks, with a non-parole period of five years, five months and six days.

Given the sentence was backdated to the time of the offence, Mr Page is expected to be released in about four years' time. In reference to Mr Page's penalty, Mr Candido's son has stated publicly that it constituted, in his own words, 'no justice at all'. My question to the Attorney-General is:

1. What powers does the Attorney-General have to inquire of and intervene now that a sentence has been handed down by the courts?

2. Is the Attorney-General satisfied that justice has been done in this extraordinary case?

3. Will the Attorney-General undertake an urgent review into sentencing guidelines for violent repeat offenders who instigate fatal and unprovoked attacks on our citizens?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:18): I thank the honourable member for his question and would like to join you in saying how good it is to have his smiling face back in this chamber. In relation to the matter that the honourable member raises, I don't have a briefing on the particular sentencing outcome that he refers to.

I have every confidence that, when sentences are handed down, the officers from the DPP look at those sentences and if there is an error of law in the verdict or something inadequate in the terms of the sentence that is handed down, it is not uncommon for the DPP to take an appeal on that sentence. I am sure that if it falls well outside the range that would usually be contemplated for such an offence they will do that here.

The courts impose sentences taking into account a wide range of factors under the Sentencing Act. A lot of the factors that the courts take into account and the envelope of sentencing is set down by us as a parliament. I will ask for some advice in relation to this particular matter but, as I say, I have every confidence that, if there has been an error in the sentence that has been applied and the ranges that are usually applied for these sorts of crimes, the DPP will have a look at it.