New laws to hit drug traffickers and crime gangs

Premier Denis Napthine

Premier Denis Napthine

PEOPLE convicted of serious drug offences such as large scale drug trafficking or cultivation will forfeit almost everything they own under tough new laws being introduced to the Victorian Parliament this week.

The new forfeiture provisions will apply on top of the 14 year average jail term offenders will face under the baseline sentencing legislation before Parliament.

 Under the new laws, there will be no need to prove that the offender’s property came from the proceeds of crime or was used to commit a crime.

Instead, upon conviction these serious drug offenders will lose everything they own, whether lawfully acquired or not, save for basic household goods and tools and a modestly priced vehicle.

An order restricting disposal of an accused’s property will be able to be obtained at the time they are charged, and will remain in place until the outcome of their trial or until the charges are withdrawn.

Premier Denis Napthine described drug traffickers as "peddlers of death and misery, who wreak a terrible

 toll on young lives across our state".

“Those behind the mass distribution of ice and other drugs across our state need to be hit hard," he said.

 Attorney-General Robert Clark said the laws will send a strong message to would-be drug traffickers that crime will not pay in Victoria.

“Not only will they go to jail for a long time, they will lose almost everything they own," he said.

"Any financial gain drug traffickers may have stood to make will be wiped out." 

 The legislation will also strengthen the powers of police to tackle bikie gangs and other criminal organisations involved in drug trafficking and other serious criminal activity, and restrict gang members from holding firearms licences.

 Orders to ban or restrict gang activities will be able to be made based on any offences punishable by five years’ imprisonment or more where the court is satisfied that the gang or its members are engaged in or facilitating such criminal activity and an order is necessary or desirable to prevent or reduce a serious threat to public safety and order.

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