Monday, October 18, 2010

Victorian plan to monitor criminals with GPS

CRIMINALS under supervision and high risk defendants on bail would be subject to GPS monitoring under a Victorian coalition government. 
Firebugs could be subjected to GPS tracking by next year's fire season under the plan.  The election pledge would also enable courts to slap GPS tracking devices on convicted sex offenders and high-risk suspects on bail.

Victorian Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said GPS units would replace outdated monitoring technology and better protect the public by enabling broader surveillance.
He said the $5 million plan had broad support and could be up and running next year if the coalition won the November state election.

But the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) says it was never consulted, has serious reservations about the plan, and has sought an urgent meeting with Mr Baillieu.

Arson experts have questioned whether it would have any impact on curbing the number of deliberately lit bushfires.
LIV president Steve Stevens said tracking suspects on bail would breach their right to the presumption of innocence and could result in high-risk defendants, who would otherwise be held in custody, being allowed out while they await trial.

"It's a gross extension of a monitoring system for people who have not been found guilty of any criminal offence and are entitled to the presumption of innocence, and we think that's an unwarranted extension of the monitoring system," Mr Stevens told AAP on Monday.
He said there was no detail about how the surveillance information would be used or evidence the community would benefit.

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