In the second round of anti-bikie laws, the Queensland Police Commissioner will be granted the power to give details of bikies’ criminal records to journalists, if it is in the public interest.
The law hopes to inform the public of the nature of activities that bikies take part in, but the Australian Council for Civil Liberties president says that the release of these records could seriously undermine the right to a fair trial. Jurors could easily google a defendants criminal history, and infer guilt based on previous convictions. Generally in a trial, criminal records are only relevant in sentencing, and cannot produced as evidence of the commission of an offence unless allowed by a judge under certain circumstances.
Parliament will vote on these new laws tonight.