Should Criminals Be Forced to Give Their Super to Victims?

The Victorian State Opposition Leader is pushing for a bold plan that would see victims of crime compensated with perpetrators’ retirement savings.

State Opposition Leader Matthew Guy unveiled the Liberal National’s proposed reforms, which aim to expand the rights of victims in the criminal trial process.

A statement from Mr Guy’s office revealed that a future Coalition government would explore the possibility of compensating victims using the superannuation funds of criminals.

This would be an expansion of the current Victorian assets confiscation scheme, which provides victims with compensation in the form of any beneficial interests owned by criminals.

“There is no good reason why superannuation entitlements should be treated differently to any other asset a criminal owns or may realise at some future point,” Mr Guy said in the statement.

“Victims deserve more say and influence…”

The Coalition’s other planned reforms include giving victims a more active role in the trial process, including more say in impact statements, expanded grounds to appear in trials, and further empowerment of the Victims of Crime Commissioner to address complaints.

The proposed reforms also include improving victims’ access to information about their compensation rights, and to existing forms of compensation and restitution. This would include obliging prosecutors and investigators to inform victims of their entitlements.

The laws would be based on most of the 51 recommendations provided by the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) in its report on the criminal trial process, which was submitted to the government in August 2016.

Requisitioning the superannuation entitlements of criminals, however, was not recommended by the VLRC.

“Victims deserve more say and influence and if I am Premier that is exactly what they’ll get,” Mr Guy said.

“We need to ensure our justice system prioritises the rights of victims and makes the process as simple as possible, because after enduring the horrific trauma and loss of a loved one, they deserve nothing less.”

Because Australia’s superannuation is enshrined in federal law, reforming the system to allow compensatory payments would likely require legal reform at both the state and Commonwealth level.

Depriving criminals of superannuation may also put the burden on taxpayer-funded pensions following retirement.

Killers with super

In October 2016, the Herald Sun revealed that Adrian Bayley, Jill Meagher’s killer and rapist, had almost $15,000 invested in an industry super fund, yet had not been ordered to pay compensation.

To make matters worse, taxpayers funded Mr Bayley’s $100,000 legal defence case.

 

Victims of Crime Commissioner Greg Davies told the Herald Sun Mr Bayley’s $15,000 nest egg should not be his.

“On any common sense grounds he should not be able to retain that money,” Mr Davies said.

“It should go towards his legal costs, which were paid by the taxpayer, or be distributed to his victims.”

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