So Annastacia Palaszczuk has demanded answers about the tragic deaths of Kate Leadbetter, her partner Matty Field and their unborn baby.

Well it's about bloody time.

Yesterday the Queensland Premier insisted she couldn't possibly comment about the state's youth bail laws and the circumstances that led to the couple's appalling death because there was a police investigation under way.

Matty Field and Kate Leadbetter.
Matty Field and Kate Leadbetter.

Less than 24 hours later Ms Palaszczuk has pointed the finger at the courts and questioned why the 17-year-old accused of their murder was out on bail while promising to tighten the laws, if needed.

"I want answers just like everyone else," she said. "I want to know why the courts allowed this young man out on bail."

However, amid the Premier's belated quest for answers, she might want to question her Government's flip flopping on youth justice laws before blaming members of the judiciary who are charged with enforcing them.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has demanded answers to how a teenager accused of killing a couple at Alexandra Hills was out on bail. Picture: Matt Taylor
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has demanded answers to how a teenager accused of killing a couple at Alexandra Hills was out on bail. Picture: Matt Taylor

That's because the Government radically watered down the rules around keeping accused youth offenders behind bars while they awaited trial in 2019.

The rushed decision split Cabinet but dominant Left faction figures demanded an immediate solution to revelations young accused were being kept in adult watch houses.

Those changes ensured certain provisions of the Bail Act didn't apply to young people, changed the framework so there was an explicit presumption in favour of release and forced the courts to use "detention as a last resort".

 

Flowers left at the scene of the fatality. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Flowers left at the scene of the fatality. Picture: Sarah Marshall

 

 

There were warnings internally at the time that the raft of changes would put repeat offenders back on the streets and there was consternation among some members of Cabinet.

Yet the Government forged ahead anyway.

While the Government partially backflipped last year so those who were an ongoing risk could be denied bail, Queensland's youth justice laws have never been fully restored.

So it's welcome that the Premier has now joined the community in wanting answers as to whether the justice system failed this family.

But those answers will only come if Ms Palaszczuk is prepared to question the decisions she and her Government made rather than play the blame game with Queensland's judiciary.

Originally published as Premier must question her own bail laws if she wants answers


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