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Queensland Judgments
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Attorney-General for the State of Queensland v Ruhland

Unreported Citation: [2020] QSC 33
EDITOR'S NOTE

In this recent matter, the court considered the mechanics of supervision orders under s 13 of the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003: specifically, whether the term of a supervision order may be extended by force of the exercise of judicial power. That issue arose in the context of the respondent being held in custody for a period during the currency of an existing order.

Davis J

6 March 2020

The applicant sought an order extending the duration of the supervision order by a period equivalent to that during which the respondent was in custody for contravening the order. [1], [4].

The legislation

Sections 23 and 24 of the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 apply to the scenario where, after being released from custody under a supervision order or interim supervision order, a released prisoner is sentenced to a term or period of imprisonment for any offence, apart from an offence of a sexual nature. Section 24 states:

24   Period in custody not counted

(1) The released prisoner’s supervision order or interim supervision order is suspended for any period the released prisoner is detained in custody on remand or serving the term of imprisonment.

(2) The period for which the released prisoner’s supervision order or interim supervision order has effect as stated in the order is extended by any period the released prisoner is detained in custody.”

Whether the court could extend the length of the order

In framing the order ultimately made, his Honour clarified that ss 23 and 24 do not permit a court to extend the term of a supervision order by the period during which the prisoner was detained in custody. Rather, the provisions identify circumstances which enable the duration of the supervision order to be automatically extended by operation of the statute. [10].

Accordingly, he declared that the respondent’s supervision order was extended by 63 days – the period of time he had spent in custody. [12]. That was the appropriate course in view of the fact that there was plainly utility in making the order, having regard to “the powers vested in corrective services officers to control and manage the respondent under the supervision order, and given the consequences for the respondent of a breach of the supervision order”. It followed that it was in the interests of both parties that the effect of the operation of s 23 and s 24 of the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 upon the supervision order be the subject of declaration. [19].

A de Jersey

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