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Law Reform:
Create special laws for cults: DPP
Catherine Hockley in Canberra
The Advertiser
November 03 2011

Source

SA's chief prosecutor Stephen Pallaras is calling for new laws to thwart the rise of cults across the nation.

Mr Pallaras says a new approach by law-makers needs to address the "mental damage and mental harm" caused by cults.
 
 
"under Australian laws, prosecution is difficult"

 

SA's chief prosecutor Stephen Pallaras is calling for new laws to thwart the rise of cults across the nation.

Mr Pallaras says a new approach by law-makers needs to address the "mental damage and mental harm" caused by cults.

"Conventional laws have difficulty in coping with the injuries that are caused. What I'm interested in is finding a way to deal with the damage that the cults do," he said.

His calls are backed by South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, who invited Mr Pallaras to Canberra yesterday to meet the chief of the French Government's cult-busting agency, Miviludes.

The DPP faced criticism earlier this year over its handling of the case involving those involved with the doomsday Adelaide-based cult, Agape Ministries.

Mr Pallaras would not comment on that case, but said Australia could learn from the French approach to cults.

"The sorts of mental damage and mental harm that we're hearing about from these people are not easily coped with by the laws we've got, not only in our state, but across Australia," he said.

"And it may be that we've got to look at something like the French are doing to help us cope with that evil which is a social evil." Senator Xenophon said "the Agape Ministries debacle is proof our current laws don't work".

"For the first time an Australian DPP has recognised the weaknesses in our laws when it comes to abuse within cults," he said.

Senator Xenophon said the French "cult-busting laws work; they give protection to victims".

Mr Pallaras says under Australian laws, prosecution is difficult.

"They're (cults) not any harder to prosecute than anyone else if they commit conventional offences," he said.

"The trouble is the evil they represent ... is much more difficult to address with conventional laws, so we've got to look at something a bit unconventional."

Attorney-General John Rau yesterday agreed: "This is a very difficult area for prosecutors".

But he warned: "Any government contemplating specific anti-cult legislation would need to tread carefully.

"I am interested in discussing this issue with the DPP and hearing his ideas about a better approach to tackling their damaging behaviour," he said.

 

 


Disclaimer:This news page is about groups, organizations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form. But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful. Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing. Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organization or person on this page, is not necessarily meant pejoratively. Readers are encouraged to read widely on a topic before forming an opinion. Never accept information from a single source at face value. This website only holds a small amount of information and should not be relied on as a complete source. For example, if you find older information, this should be weighed up against newer information as circumstances can change.
 
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ABC Radio:
16 Oct 2010
14 Oct 2010

 

 
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Canberra 2011
Seminar 2011
Brisbane 2010

 

 
Video:
Visions of Paradise

 

 
Research:
Cults: After-Effects

 

 
Powerpoint:
Cults

 

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