New SA laws proposed for concealing bodies

·1-min read

Killers who conceal or dispose of the bodies of their victims could face extra jail time under new laws to be introduced in the South Australian parliament.

The state's Labor opposition will introduce a bill to create a specific offence of concealing or interfering with a corpse.

Under its proposal, such charges could be laid in addition to those of murder or manslaughter and would provide for maximum term of 10 years in jail.

Labor says disposing of a body provides a significant forensic advantage to the offender, potentially depriving the prosecution of autopsy evidence.

It says this makes criminal prosecutions more difficult and may lead to charges being downgraded and can even allow offenders to claim the killing was an accident.

Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said offenders should not obtain an advantage by virtue of disposing or tampering with a body.

"When a killer tries to conceal a body of their victim, it adds to the suffering of families and this is unacceptable," he said.

"Labor's changes mean that an offender could face a significant term of imprisonment for concealing a body in addition to any other charges."

Opposition legal affairs spokesman Kyam Maher said the new laws would also give police and prosecutors more tools to use against offenders who killed people or covered up deaths.

"But it is not only important for investigators and prosecutors, it is extremely distressing for families who are are denied the chance to hold a proper funeral," he said.

"So, we hope these laws will also prevent some of that pain and suffering too many families must go through."

Labor said if the Liberal government decided against supporting the measures in parliament, the party would take the idea to the next state election in March.

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