Sly’s radical solution to fix the backlog of homicide cases in Victoria
Sly Of The Underworld says there needs to be more incentive for murderers to plead guilty to prevent the huge backlog of homicide cases in Victorian courts.
He says too much time is wasted in legal back-and-forth in the lead-up to trial.
The veteran crime reporter told 3AW Breakfast there were currently 140 homicide cases waiting to be heard in Victorian courts.
He said homicide briefs “used to be 100 pages” but were now regularly well over 1000 pages.
“Not only do the police have to prove who did it, but who didn’t do it, because once you deliver the brief, the defence will have a look and will want all the documents, all the material, relating to one line in the 1000-page brief which takes homicide away from investigations and doing this sort of research,” he said.
Sly said it was “ridiculous” given police had a conviction rate of 95 per cent in court.
“Largely, because people plead guilty,” he said.
“Which means the whole episode that’s gone on for years (before) is simply a fishing expedition – can we find a weakness – and when we can’t they plead guilty.
“There is a 30 per cent discount for pleading guilty.”
He’s proposed offering a 50 per cent sentence discount to those who plead guilty immediately after committing the crime.
That offer would reduce to a 30 per cent discount for pleading guilty prior to a committal hearing and would shrink again to 10 per cent before the case went to trial.
Additionally, Sly said it would also mean NO discount on sentence could be afforded should the accused “roll the dice” in court and be found guilty.
“Don’t come back after saying you didn’t do it and be found guilty and then put plea material before the court stating why you deserve a discount,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone cares that you were frightened of Humphrey Bear when you were six, or lost a filling when you swallowed a chew chew bar when you were 10 – cop it, because you’ve done it.”
Sly said people would understandably be concerned by the idea of a 50 per cent discount for murderers, but had a fix for that problem, too.
“We bring back the top-end of the sentence as mandatory,” he said.
Press PLAY below to hear Sly’s proposal in full