Call to introduce ‘grab and drag’ laws after Jackson Williams case

Nurse and aged care worker Emm Jones is calling for new ‘grab and drag’ laws following the case of Jackson Williams. 

There’s a push for Victoria to introduce a new law in the wake of a shocking attack where a nurse was dragged into an alleyway and pinned to the ground. Read at the Herald Sun

When Emm Jones saw a video of Jackson Williams dragging an innocent nurse into an alleyway, pinning her to the ground, rolling on top of her and covering her mouth as she screamed, she thought of her own three daughters.

“This offender is walking among us still,” she said.

Williams was sentenced last week to a two-and-a-half year community correction order after being convicted of assault but found not guilty of intent to commit a sexual offence by the County Court of Victoria.

He spent 42 days in jail before his trial.

She believes the result was “grossly inadequate” and was spurred to start a petition that now has almost 100,000 signatures.

On Thursday morning, she met with Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy and shadow Attorney-General Edward O’Donohue.

The nurse and aged care worker has also teamed up with Justice Party MP Stuart Grimley in a push to introduce new legislation for “grab and drag” offences.

“This has highlighted the flaws of the system,” she said of Williams’ case.

“We need to hold these offenders accountable.”

Mr Grimley said a “grab and drag” law would fill the legislative gap between common assault — of which Williams was found guilty — and intent to commit a sexual offence — which a judge found could not be proven in his case.

He said as a former police officer, seeing men grab and drag women off the street was all too familiar.

“It’s a precursor to more violent offending for these creeps, and it’s about time we introduced something to put a stop to it,” he said.

Mr Grimley said he would discuss introducing the proposal with the Andrews’ government.

Introducing a private members’ bill himself was also “on the table”.

“We need to explore all avenues with this one,” he said.

Mr Grimley is a member of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, who said Williams’ victim had been let down by the system.

“Why else would a young man drag a young woman into a deserted laneway, throw her to the ground and lie on top of her? Did he want to play Scrabble?” he said.

Another woman was grabbed and dragged by a man on Sunday morning in Melbourne before bravely fighting him off and biting his finger.

“We need to send that message that this won’t be tolerated,” Mr Grimley said.

Shadow Attorney-General Edward O’Donohue has written to the Office of Public Prosecutions asking them to appeal Williams’ sentence, which he said “alarmed and perplexed” Victorians.

Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said she had asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission to consider a “grab and drag” offence as part of a current review into sexual offence laws.

“I met with Ms Jones today and was impressed with the strength of her advocacy on this issue – and her commitment to the gender equality conversation,” she said on Thursday.

“All women should be safe and feel safe – in their homes, in the street and everywhere.”

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