‘No body, no release’

Tania Maxwell today moved in Parliament to keep convicted killers in jail if they refuse to share the location of their victim’s remains with police.

The Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party Member for Northern Victoria said the state passed laws in 2016 that prevent a killer being paroled unless they divulge the whereabouts of their victim’s body.

“But victims’ families deserve better,” Ms Maxwell said.

“I propose a ‘no body, no release’ rule by amending the Serious Offenders Act 2018 and extending existing detention powers that would allow the Director of Public Prosecutions to ask the Supreme Court for a detention order where a prisoner won’t help police to recover their victim’s body.

“They should stay in prison until they do.

“When someone has been killed and their body not recovered, their loved ones serve a life sentence of pain and misery.

“It is small consolation, but consolation nonetheless, that a perpetrator should serve a similar sentence.

“Some might suggest this is an unfair proposition for killers who have disposed of a body in a river or another location that makes finding the remains near impossible.

“But I say they should think of that before they choose to take a life and hide the primary evidence.

“There are established cases where offenders have played ongoing mind games with our justice system and victim families over the location of the body.

“Let’s take that power away from them.

“To take a life and not be prepared to declare where the body has been discarded is abhorrent.

“The perpetrator deserves a prison sentence that reflects the seriousness of the crime and gives a victim’s family some comfort in knowing they will never be released.”

Seven prisoners were subject to Victoria’s ‘no body, no parole’ law when it was enacted at the end of 2016.

These included Sudo Cavkic, sentenced to more than 25 years in prison for the murder of solicitor Keith Allan, who police concluded was probably killed in the Mount Macedon region, and Thomas Keith Halliday, sentenced to 32 years for the murder of Mildura mother Shelley Joy Stephenson in 2006.

The victims’ remains have never been found.