Top politician’s secret visit amid crime crisis
Queensland's Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath and the state's top magistrate had a secret meeting yesterday to watch how Townsville juvenile court cases unfolded as the city is in the grips of a crime crisis.
Ms D'Ath and Chief Magistrate Terry Gardiner flew in and out of the city on Tuesday after sitting in on Townsville's Specialist High Risk Youth Court for the first time.
They watched 13 matters unfold in the visit to North Queensland which was kept from media.
Ms D'Ath, speaking to ABC North Queensland outside court, said she wanted to see whether the system needed to be improved in wake of a vocal call from the community, police and politicians to have the Youth Justice Act be amended.
She "alluded" that she did not observe this in court and "dodged" questions about reviewing the legislation.
"I'm not going to talk about the Youth Justice Act because what I am here today is to see how the court processes work," she said.
"To see how agencies interact and see the sort of matters that are before the courts and how they are being dealt with and take that learning back to my colleagues.
"The powers that the magistrate had in exercising his discretion about granting bail or not was exercised without limitation.
"The very large majority of those youths [yesterday] were already on remand … very few received bail."