As of the 3rd of October 2023, anyone charged with rape, sexual assaults, attempted to commit rape and assault with intent to commit rape in Queenslandwill be allowed to be publicly identified prior to trial.
‘These new changes to the Criminal law (Sexual Offences) Act 1978 (Qld) are directed at shifting the perception of the cultural attitude towards cases of sexual offences.’ According to Minster Yvette D’Ath the minister for Justice and prevention of domestic and family violence minster. “The Palaszczuk government will continue to look at how we can further strengthen our justice system so it will hold offenders accountable and increase the transparency of sentencing decisions to meet community expectations.
The changes to Queensland laws are intended to ensure that there is fairness across the board in all states and territories in Australia. As all the states after the 3rd of October excluding the Northern Territory will be able to identify the accused prior to the trial commencing.
What happens if you are charged with a sexual offence?
Anyone who is charged with rape, sexual assault, attempt to commit rape and assault with intent to commit rape will be allowed to be publicly identified prior to trial. There is only one exception to this new law, which is if identifying the accused would identify the accuser.
The applications for NPO, are already coming in fast to try and protect the identities of the accused from the media. As recent as five days ago in Toowoomba there was an application made to the Supreme Court to give the man’s identity supressed until the matter is fully heard, this injunction was granted.
The Supreme Court of Queensland have settled the law on this topic with the decision of
|Lehrmann v Queensland Police Service & Ors  QSC 238|
So, what can you do to avoid be publicly named?
Accused sexual offenders can still apply to prevent their names from being publicised by the media by putting an application before the court for a non-publication order (NPO). This would need to be filed immediately, or they will run the risk of their names being printed.
This new legislation applies to any new, ongoing to historical case in Queensland. That essentially means that anyone who has been accused of sexual offences, or who was accused in the past, may now have their matter publicised.
What if someone is named and the charges get dropped?
The system will be similar to what happens in the other states, that the media can post an article stated that the alleged offender was fund not guilty. The issue lies in the fact that the media do not need to delete the posts once the person has been found not guilty which means that when the persons name is google that the old articles will still be accessible by the general public.
Which as a result means that the person that was found not guilty will still be affected by the stigma of being accused of a sexual offensive, that is imposed on people by the general public. As even the allegation of sexual offences in itself is damaging to a person.
This is mean that the accused offenders will face their trial in court and be and a trial by the media that voids the fundamental right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
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