Pollentine v Bleijie [2014] HCA 30

ON 14 AUGUST 2014, the High Court of Australia delivered Pollentine v Bleijie [2014] HCA 30 (14 August 2014).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2014/30.html

The Criminal Law Amendment Act 1945 (Qld) provides that a judge of a trial in which a person is found guilty of a child sexual offence may seek medial opinion as to whether or not the offender is “incapable of exercising proper control over the offender’s sexual instincts” and if the opinion is that the offender is incapable of exercising such control, the judge may in addition to or in lieu of any other sentence, declare that the person is incapable of exercising such control and direct that the offender be detained in an institution during “Her Majesty’s pleasure”.

The plaintiffs challenged the validity of s18, alleging that the provision is contrary to Chapter III of the Constiution by way of infringing the principle identified in Kable v Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) [1996] HCA 24; (1996) 189 CLR 51.

The court upheld the validity of s18, holding that the provision is not contrary to Chapter III because the presiding judge has the discretion whether to direct the detention; and a decision to release an offender is not the subject of an unconfined executive discretion as it is subject to safeguards including medical opinion and judicial review.

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