The Government has introduced laws to compel priests to report offences revealed in confessions — while dropping another planned child sex offence measure.
The Government has introduced laws to compel priests to report offences revealed in confessions — while dropping another planned child sex offence measure.

Child sex simulation doll ban near but abuse bid dropped

THE State Government has dropped plans to allow for past convictions to be raised with juries in child sex prosecutions and will outlaws doll used for child sex simulation.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath announced the change as she introduced new legislation that would make it a criminal offence for priests not to report an offence learned about during religious confession, with a penalty of three years' jail.

The Bill will also ensure good character cannot be used as a mitigating factor in sentencing, where that same good character facilitated the offending.

"The draft Bill proposed amendments to increase the admissibility of propensity and relationship evidence and to change the standard of proof required for this evidence in criminal trials," Ms D'Ath told Parliament.

"Propensity and relationship evidence is generally evidence of earlier wrongful conduct by an accused person.

"This can include evidence of prior convictions, uncharged conduct or past conduct that is not necessarily criminal."

She said stakeholders had given "vastly divergent views" on this measure, and there were significant concerns the amendments were too complex, difficult to apply and could result in more pre-trial applications, longer trials and more appeals.

"This would have a detrimental impact on the entire criminal justice system, including victims," she said.

Meanwhile, a "failure to protect" offence will also be introduced, carrying five years' jail time.

"It includes, for instance, an organisation moving a known child sex offender to different branches of its organisation, despite knowing the danger that person poses to vulnerable children," Ms D'Ath said.

"This type of behaviour cannot be allowed to continue."