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Legal loophole which allows the dismissal of charges against cemetery vandals

Eligibility - Queensland residents

Principal Petitioner:

Hilda Maclean
President, Friends of Toowong Cemetery Assoc Inc
PO Box 808
TOOWONG QLD 4066

Total Signatures - 1260

Sponsoring Member: Hon Andrew Fraser MP

Posting Date: 21/04/2010

Closing Date: 4/06/2010

Tabled Date: 8/06/2010

Responded By: Hon Cameron Dick MP on 30/06/2010

TO: The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland

Queensland residents draws to the attention of the House an apparent legal loophole which requires urgent action.  Currently, it appears that charges of wilful damage in a cemetery can be dismissed on the basis that the Crown has not proved that the defendants did not have the property owners' permission to inflict damage.  In the case of historic graves, which may be 150 years old, it can be almost impossible to trace the present holders or, indeed, those buried may have no descendants.  The onus of proving that damage is unauthorised must be removed from prosecutors in this instance and all wilful damage in cemeteries should be considered unauthorised.

 

Your petitioners therefore request the House to enact legislation to make wilful damage in a cemetery or other burial ground a serious offence, without the need for the Crown to prove that such damage is unauthorised.