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Mandatory sentencing for child sex abusers: The debate that nearly left Hinch speechless

Sex crimes crusader Derryn Hinch has conceded mandatory sentencing could pose problems in a robust debate with Neil Mitchell this morning.

The federal government is planning to propose tough new laws that could see perpetrators of sex crimes against children locked up for longer and make it harder for them to avoid jail.

And Neil Mitchell this morning said he understands Labor is considering supporting the move.

But he urged caution.

“There are shades of grey in the law and in crime, and you have to allow for that,” Neil said.

“Judges are occasionally out of step with community standards, but forcing them to lock somebody up regardless of circumstances will only cause a push back.

“In fact, my tip is that if it is applied as read at the moment, some will resign rather than enforce it.”

Later, Justice Party leader Derryn Hinch told Neil Mitchell “I think the mandatory idea is fantastic”.

A robust debate ensued, which ended with Mr Hinch conceding mandatory sentencing could present “tough” circumstances, particularly around intellectual disability.

Neil Mitchell: What about a severely intellectually disabled person who assaults a child?

Derryn Hinch: Well there would be a case there.

Neil Mitchell: Well there can’t be; if it’s mandatory sentencing it’s mandatory sentencing.

Derryn Hinch: *Pauses* The mental side of things is tough. I’ll grant you that.

Click PLAY to hear the full conversation