The offence of witch craft is set to do a vanishing act from the statute books, along with several other outdated sanctions, Attorney-General Rob Hulls said today.
Mr Hulls said that, following a review of the Vagrancy Act by State Parliament’s Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee (SARC) last year, the Bracks Government had decided to repeal the Vagrancy Act, which outlaws witch craft and fortune telling.
Under Section 13 of the Vagrancy Act, it’s an offence punishable by a $500 fine to practice witch craft, sorcery, enchantment or fortune telling.
“The Vagrancy Act contains a range of offences and provisions which are largely obsolete or which need modernising,” Mr Hulls said.
“Offences for witch craft and fortune telling are virtually never used in practice and are out of place in a culturally diverse and tolerant society. The Act is a hangover from English laws dating back hundreds of years and does not reflect current community values or social attitudes.
“The Government supports the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee recommendation to repeal the Vagrancy Act, while up-dating those provisions which remain useful and keeping them in the Summary Offences Act.”
Mr Hulls said the Bracks Government embraced multiculturalism and diversity.
“We govern for all Victorians – and that includes witches, magicians and sorcerers. That’s why I can predict, without having to looking into any crystal ball, that these offences are going to be repealed and disappear in a puff of smoke,” Mr Hulls said.
There were currently 2,091 witches living in Victoria.
Mr Hulls said other offences contained in the Act, such as those for begging, consorting or loitering, would be more fully reviewed and updated.
“We will be looking closely at several offences contained in the Act to consider better ways for the criminal law to be more effectively applied,” Mr Hulls said.
The Government supports SARC’s recommendation to retain the offence pending a fuller review of the problem of begging and its links with homelessness, poverty, drugs and crime.
“Begging is a complex social problem with no quick fix. Further research into the problem will enable the Government to provide responses that tackle the causes of the problem and help those people in genuine need,” Mr Hulls said.
This press release is from:
THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL, Victoria, Australia, http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/newmedia.nsf/0/35b23e59c58fa572ca256d090001de77?OpenDocument
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