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The Bottom Line on Baseline Sentencing

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September 19, 2016

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On 17 November 2015, the Victorian Court of Appeal handed down its decision in DPP v Walters (a pseudonym) [2015] VSCA 303, finding that the baseline sentencing provisions are ‘incapable of being given any practical operation’. To recap, the baseline sentencing provisions were enacted in 2014 – a signature policy of the Coalition Government’s ‘tough-on-crime’ agenda. The system required Victorian courts to base prison sentences for seven serious offences, including murder and incest, on legislated median sentences. However, the system was widely criticised by members of the legal profession for eroding […]


Tackling the Match Fixers: Strike Force Narulda to Investigate Cheating in the NRL

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September 16, 2016

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Strike Force Narulda has officially been launched to investigate allegations of match fixing within rugby league matches. An initiative of the NSW State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad, Narulda has begun interviewing dozens of players, officials and members of the community after a preliminary investigation suggested match fixing took place during the 2015 NRL season. Prior to the launching of the Strike Force it was widely expected that suggestions of match fixing would again be dismissed without recognition of the seriousness of the allegations, as has occurred in the past. Although […]


Consorting with convicted criminal – Andrew Fifita and Jarred Hayne bring offence into the spot light

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September 15, 2016

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The offence of consorting with a convicted offender has been brought to light through the much hyped media coverage of Andrew Fifita and Jarred Hayne. Andrew Fifita has been heavily scrutinised for his support of the well known one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge. Fifita wrote on strapping on his left wrist during at least seven NRL games this season “F.K.L” which is interpreted as either “Free Kieran Loveridge” or “For Kieran Loveridge”. Further, it has been alleged that Fifita has visited and called Kieran Loveridge on numerous occasions. The offence of consorting […]


New Restrictions for P Platers in NSW

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September 12, 2016

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There has been a raft of new restrictions placed on all provisional drivers. These significant restrictions have come into play due to the spike in the rise of fatal accidents among young people. The primary target of these restrictions has been on the use of mobile phones, with any use of a mobile phone completely restricted. Initially, all drivers, including provisional drivers, were allowed to use their mobile phone to; make or receive a call, use the audio playing function for music as well as using the GPS. However, the use […]


Broadcasting Sentencing Remarks

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September 8, 2016

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Queensland is to allow cameras into its courtrooms in a pilot program that has weighed the delicate balance between detriment to victims, offenders and the public interest as against aiding public understanding of, and confidence in, the sentences the courts impose. It might be seen as ironic that the media, from whose ranks so many so often call so loudly for tougher sentencing, has led the push that might result in greater public acceptance of the sentences actually imposed. Studies show that increased awareness of the facts of individual cases improves […]


High Court Judgment – Gerard Baden-Clay

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September 2, 2016

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The High Court has handed down judgment in the Crown’s appeal in the matter of Gerard Baden-Clay. The prosecution had appealed Mr Baden-Clay’s successful appeal against the overturning of his conviction for murder. In other words, the High Court restored the jury’s verdict of “guilty" to murder, that an appeal court had overturned. Gerard Baden-Clay was accused of murdering his wife. At trial, despite their being no persuasive evidence about exactly how Mrs Baden Clay had died, the court convicted Mr Baden-Clay of murder. This matter piqued the interest of criminal […]


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 […]


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 […]


Crime Prevention Orders

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July 28, 2016

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New alleged crime prevention measures could seriously impact individual freedoms, according to the NSW Law Society and NSW Bar Association. The Crimes (Serious Crime Prevention Orders) Act and the Criminal Legislation Amendment (Organised Crime and Public Safety) Act 2016 came into force in early May 2016. A Serious Crime Prevention Order can be issued against a broad range of individuals. These could seriously impact individual freedoms. The other Act allows the police to issue Public Safety Orders against individuals, or classes of people, which prohibit them from being at specified premises […]

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