Section 193A of the Corrective Services Act 2006 (the Act) provides that the Board must refuse to grant an application for parole where the prisoner is serving a period of imprisonment for a ‘homicide offence’ and
- the body or remains of the victim of the offence have not been located; or
- because of an act or omission of the prisoner or another person, part of the body or remains of the victim has not been located
unless the Board is satisfied that the prisoner has cooperated satisfactorily in the investigation of the homicide offence to identify the victim’s location.
The term ‘victim’s location’ is defined under section 193A(8) to mean:
- the location or last known location of every part of the body or remains of the victim; and
- the place where every part of the body or remains of the victim of the offence may be found.
If the Board is not satisfied, then the Board must refuse to grant the application for parole. Otherwise, the Board will go on to determine the application on its merits.
The ‘No body No parole’ amendments
Section 193A was inserted into the Act by section 4 of the Corrective Services (No Body, No Parole) Amendment Act 2017 (Qld) (the Amendment Act) which was assented to and commenced on 25 August 2017.
The law implemented Recommendation 87 of the Queensland Parole System Review Report (the QPSR Report) which recommended the establishment of a No body, No parole policy in Queensland. The QPSR Report acknowledged that:
Withholding the location of a body extends the suffering of victims’ families and all efforts should be made to attempt to minimise this sorrow.
The amendment is designed to help victims’ families and aims to encourage and incentivise prisoners to whom section 193A applies to assist in finding and recovering the body or remains of a victim by making parole release contingent on his/her satisfactory cooperation.
As stated in the QPSR Report:
…such a measure is consistent with the retributive element of punishment. A punishment is lacking in retribution, and the community would be right to feel indignation, if a convicted killer could expect to be released without telling what he did with the body of the victim.
Section 193A of the Corrective Services Act – application
Section 193A(7)(a) of the Act provides that, in determining whether the prisoner has cooperated satisfactorily in the investigation of the offence to identify the victim’s location, the Board must have regard to:
- a written report of the Commissioner of Police stating whether the prisoner has cooperated in the investigation of the offence to identify the victim’s location and, if so, an evaluation of:
- the nature, extent and timeliness of the prisoner’s cooperation; and
- the truthfulness, completeness and reliability of any information or evidence provided by the prisoner in relation to the victim’s location; and
- the significance and usefulness of the prisoner’s cooperation; and
- any information the Board has about the prisoner’s capacity to give the cooperation; and
- the transcript of any proceeding against the prisoner for the offence, including any relevant remarks made by the sentencing court.
Further, section 193A(7)(b) provides that the Board may have regard to any other information the Board considers relevant.
Section 193A(3) provides that cooperation may have happened before or after the prisoner was sentenced to imprisonment for the offence. That means that cooperation after conviction and sentence is relevant to the Board’s determination of the threshold question.
Equally, the Board considers that the prisoner’s cooperation in the investigation of the offence to identify the victim’s location before conviction and sentence, or after conviction but before sentence, is relevant to the determination of the question.