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Sentencing Statistics in the ACT

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August 29, 2016

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Great care needs to be taken when using statistics during sentencing submissions at courts, as a recent ACT Court of Appeal judgment confirms. The old legal maxim that “every case turns on its own facts and circumstances” holds true as much today as when it was first uttered. The recent ACT decision dealt with a man convicted of driving a motor vehicle without consent, driving whilst disqualified, attempted burglary, attempted aggravated robbery, obstructing police, possessing an offensive weapon, theft, burglary and possessing an article with intent to use it in the […]


Value of rehabilitation at sentence

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August 25, 2016

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A recent Court of Criminal Appeal decision in NSW reinforces yet again the value of rehabilitation in keeping people out of prison. Successful rehabilitation was considered so important in this case that the appeal court decided not to send a man to prison, even though it had found that his offending warranted it – and that a District Court judge had been wrong not to imprison him. “The sentence imposed by her Honour [in the District Court] was manifestly inadequate and a sentence of imprisonment should have been imposed,” the three-member […]


Non-conviction disposals – a comparison between New South Wales and Queensland

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August 16, 2016

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In recent days, for reasons which are presently unclear, there has been some media attention given to the ability for courts in New South Wales to dispose of an offender without imposing a conviction against them. As the cynic might expect, this attention is not favourable and is accompanied by the shrill suggestion that there should be no way to avoid a conviction for contraventions of the law. A conviction is, in essence, a record against a person’s name that they have committed an offence against our law. In the ordinary […]


When is a gun not a gun?

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August 12, 2016

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When is a gun not a gun? The ACT Court of Appeal recently wrestled with this question in a judgment that has meant the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has now discontinued a number of firearms cases against Canberrans. A Full Appeal Court (Refshauge, Burns and Wigney JJ) upheld a judgement of Justice Penfold, who had found in the Supreme Court that a replica or imitation firearm was not “a firearm” – despite the Firearms Act spelling out that “an imitation or replica of any firearm” was “a prohibited […]


Riding under the influence in the ACT

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August 9, 2016

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In the ACT have you ever ridden your bicycle home after a few beers with friends? Or chosen to ride a bicycle, rather than drive, because you have had a few drinks? If you ride a bike intoxicated you may still be charged with a criminal offence in the Australian Capital Territory. The offence of ‘Driver Intoxicated’ is an offence under s24A of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drug) Act 1977. With more bikes on the road per capita than any other state or territory in Australia and a recorded 87,000 […]


Supermarket customers are far more comfortable with theft when using self-service check-outs

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August 5, 2016

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Research form the United Kingdom has suggested that supermarket customers are far more comfortable with theft when using self-service check-outs. It certainly seems from the research that people using the checkouts are quite happy to not scan certain items, or perhaps scan them as a cheaper item. Interestingly, theft through self-service checkouts was almost triple the rate of theft on the shop floor. It may well be the case that people who intend to steal are targeting the self-serve checkouts as being a “weak point” in the supermarket’s system. However the […]


Racist and insulting comments made on social media sites

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August 3, 2016

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Not too long ago it seemed like “keyboard warriors” could get away with any comments they posted online, no matter how offensive, because they could hide behind the safety of their computer screen. However, with the continual rise of social media, the police are starting to crack down on racist and insulting comments made on such social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Laws governing offensive comments have recently been brought to light by the racist remarks made by a member of the public towards the outgoing Senator Nova Peris. […]

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