Queensland gets tough on murderous ex-lovers

Queensland Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Paul Lucas have announced that new laws targeting murderous ex-lovers, graveyard vandals and unfair landlords have been passed in Parliament.

Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Paul Lucas said the passing of the Criminal Code and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 had closed loopholes relating to the partial defence of provocation, the prosecution of graveyard vandals and the use of 'ratchet' clauses in shop leases.

Partial provocation defence

The amendments follow the Queensland Law Reform Commission finding that some offenders who kill their lovers claim provocation on the basis of their victim's alleged infidelity, insults or threats to leave the relationship.

Graveyard vandals

Mr Lucas said people who willfully damage and destroy headstones, cemeteries, places of worship and war memorials will face tough new penalties.

The new provisions increase the maximum penalty for graveyard vandals to seven years' imprisonment.

The amendments also introduce a new summary offence of interfering with a grave or similar property to deal with those occasions where the desecration does not cause physical damage.

'Ratchet' clauses

Another amendment will protect businesses from rental rorts such as contractual 'ratchet' clauses.

"The amendment of the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 will ensure the use of ratchet clauses in shop leases are banned," Mr Lucas said.

"This will provide greater protection for lessees by ensuring when there are market review clauses that rents can fall, as well as rise, according to the current economic circumstances and where appropriate," he said.


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