The Queensland Government has appointed former solicitor-general Walter Sofronoff to conduct a “thorough examination” of the state’s parole system in the wake of the death of Elizabeth Kippen.
Ms Kippen, 81, was found stabbed to death last month in her home in the Townsville suburb of Wulguru.
A 32-year-old man on parole has been charged with her murder, as well as two counts of attempted murder following attacks on a 28-year-old man and 26-year-old woman.
He has also been charged with seven counts of wilful damage, two counts of seriously assaulting police and three counts of seriously obstructing police.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Mr Sofronoff’s appointment at lunchtime on Tuesday.
“It will be a thorough examination,” she said.
“We will be immediately expanding the role of the existing office of the Chief Inspector within Queensland Corrective Services to investigate incidents involving offenders on parole.
“There will be sweeping reform in this state.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the terms of reference for the review would also include recommendations from Victoria’s review of their parole system.
“We’ll also be noticing that some of those reforms have been implemented in Queensland,” she said.
“Where there are gaps, we will wait and see what our independent reviewer says.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the review would be presented to her at the end of November.
The Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group’s Ross Thompson welcomed the review but said the terms of reference must not be too specific.
“When they are broad they have a lot bigger range, a far better examination of the system,” he said.
“But when they are narrow and only been given a few references it makes it very hard to give a fair and appropriate outcome.”
Two-tiered parole system could work
Mr Thompson said Victoria’s two-tiered system, where a second panel can overrule the decision of the parole board, could work in Queensland.
“If the first one does make an error of judgement the second board would pick up on that and be able to correct that,” he said.
“Where it stands at the moment is if an individual does the right things and persuades the parole board to give them parole and they are not suitable, there is no recourse.
“They are released and we could have what happened in Townsville happen again, which is horrific.”
Mr Thompson also hoped psychological examinations of prisoners before the granting of parole would be covered by the review.
Victoria changed their parole system following a review after the rape and murder of Jill Meagher by Adrian Bayley.
Bayley was on parole for previous rapes when he attacked Ms Meagher in September 22, 2012.
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