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Acurate information. Hooray for the Canberra judiciary!

Smithers 23 April 2011 47

Over the past year or so it has been hard to miss on Rio-act the very cynical view that a collection of contributors on here seem to have with regard to the ACT criminal justice system.

I only caved and felt the need to write in about it because I am shocked that there are still so many who take the media seriously. Jesus I would bet some have even made financial decisions based on the shite they dish up.

It seems though there are some out there who actually believe that not only are the ACT courts somehow failing to operate as they should. But yet even more astoundingly, there is a fanciful idea that they are controlled by judicially corrupt officials who are being accused of being apparently ‘soft on crime’. This has also been followed with a theory that any ex defense lawyer who becomes admitted to the bar naturally would have to favor the defense. This alone just highlights how much or little is known about how our system even works. And I hasten to add, it doesn’t work at all if both sides aren’t represented equally.

It seems there is a good number of people on here with this view and even some who appear to be working in law enforcement, though by nature they aren’t typically fans of the system. And understandably so. Courts can be very confronting and frustrating places.

Made me think a bit about my views on it. I even thought maybe I don’t get it. Am I out touch with the real world? Entirely possible and for most other areas concerned, yes. I am out of touch with the real world that is why I have no influence or agency and don’t get laid nearly as often as I would like. Is it really a travesty in the halls of the criminal courts of Canberra? Really? Maybe, if you read the Canberra times or any other court reporter’s genius insights, you could be forgiven for thinking the justice system is nonsensical and killers are let off all the time and sent home with gift vouchers to Coles Myer. There in lies the real problem. People are not getting the accurate information that they deserve and have a right to. Mind you it is combined with a willingness to make assumptions and jump to conclusions using only the information they have received via mass media. I can certainly understand that this might pose the question of where does one go when you need the facts? The courts would be a good place to start.

I think it can be dangerous when plying people with information to do with serious crimes, as it perpetuates a needless anxiety within the community. So I went looking for something that might be of a resource to the hang them high mob of the Riotact. It just so happens that the Australian Institute of Criminology website has everything you could ever want on the matter. Mostly it is all there in black and white about the public’s perception on crime. But I hit the jack pot as there has just recently been a study completed on judges accuracy in sentencing. Wouldn’t you know it : “Study of jurors shows judges get it right on criminal sentencing”

I highly recommend reading it. Fascinating.

http:/www.aic.gov.au/publications

FROM THE AIC website.

“The public’s perceptions of crime and of criminal justice can have an important influence on policy decisions relating to operational activity in front line law enforcement and in judicial sentencing. However, there can be and indeed often is, a discrepancy between the public’s perception of the likelihood of crime victimization and the actual risk of victimization. This discrepancy is apparent in the public’s concern regarding a perceived increase in crime amidst declining crime rates”

The public lacks knowledge of sentencing practice and
those most dissatisfied with the criminal justice system are those whose perceptions are
particularly inaccurate. Improving access to information about sentencing and the principals would advance the overall understanding of criminal justice and maybe even curb that needless fear of crime.

Regurgitating media stories is not a substitute for the facts of a case. In fact it is possible that you have been fed a pile of rubbish just to see if you would swallow it.

Our role as members of the community with a conscience on criminal justice is to to think critically and independently, to be reasonable.


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47 Responses to Acurate information. Hooray for the Canberra judiciary!
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colourful sydney racing identity colourful sydney racing identity 11:32 am 27 Apr 11

buzz819 said :

After seeing how many people re-offend while on bail, you can say that locking them WILL stop them re-offending.

Don’t suppose you know the percentage of people who reoffend while on bail?

EvanJames EvanJames 9:38 am 27 Apr 11

Special G said :

You mention Justice Higgins is a judge genius – if he can sleep through a trial and still make a judgement then I guess he must be. Would hate to miss that crucial piece of evidence.

I imagine the judge is such a genius, he writes his judgements before the trial commences, and then can use the down-time in the courtroom for other things, like sleeping.

Special G Special G 8:26 am 27 Apr 11

First thing – what’s with the name change.

If you sit through enough court you’ll find recidivist offenders will reoffend any time they are not in jail. This is why they keep going back there.

You mention Justice Higgins is a judge genius – if he can sleep through a trial and still make a judgement then I guess he must be. Would hate to miss that crucial piece of evidence.

Lookout Smithers Lookout Smithers 9:31 pm 26 Apr 11

Mystery2Me said :

Not said :

While I am happy to admit being naive, i probably would use a more fitting term. Naivety relates to uniformed or unaware. I have some info on the matter.

However, your information comes from a newspaper article, a professor sitting in a musty room writing a report or a whole bunch of statistics that could be manipulated or interpreted to suit anyone’s opinion. My information comes from first hand experience. Apologies for calling you naive. I thought naive meant a lack of EXPERIENCE, wisdom or judgement. You clearly have wisdom, albeit someone else’s.

Nothing has been taken from any news paper in what I wrote. I referenced where I got it from? Did you not read the link? And I said, I have been to court as defendant and witness before in big and small cases. I wouldn’t comment if I hadn’t ever been to court.

Lookout Smithers Lookout Smithers 8:08 pm 26 Apr 11

EvanJames said :

Not said :

Yes absolutely, out of everything you could attack, you choose grammar!! Says so much in so little. And he is Chief Justice, namely a Judge genius. You use your finger for all your brainstorms.

I can see why you would find criticism of poor written expression upsetting.

Ur a funny guy.

Mystery2Me Mystery2Me 6:52 pm 26 Apr 11

PJCanberra said :

Have to agree! Just like the violent detainees we seem intent on assisting, our criminals are just another few looking for a free ride! I know of one or two individuals who continually stuff up and get caught but get a slap on the wrist and are sent out into society only to re-offend! How is anyone going to learn if the only punishment they receive is a day in court and maybe a monetary fine???

Eventually those days in court lead to days in gaol. It might take time, but eventually it will happen. If someone is continually “stuffing up” by committing petty crimes, then naturally they will not be sentenced to a custodial sentence. However, I once knew someone who went to gaol for six months for stealing 5 bananas. Seems petty and stupid, however, it was their 31st conviction for shoplifting, so 6 months was probably a good result. I also knew someone who stole $250 worth of stuff from dick smith and got 12 months, that was their third offence…

I have no idea what my point is other than to say there is no rhyme or reason to the criminal justice “system”. It does what it can when presented with “evidence” from both the prosecution / police and the defendant.

Mystery2Me Mystery2Me 6:41 pm 26 Apr 11

I’ve just read the OP again, without the influence of Boag’s, and I think what Lookout Smithers is getting at is that we (being the general population) are fed all this crap from the media about crime and the punishment of criminals without actually knowing the true “facts” of each individual case.

Is ….Smithers suggesting that along with an article in the Canberra Times about the punishment handed down to someone for a particular crime, the C.T. should also publish the Court Transcripts so as to:
a. Present a complete and accurate picture of the Court’s reasons behind their decisions, and
b. To allay those misconceptions created by the media that a particular crime is more prevaeant and therefore deserves a certain type of punishment in order to deter it.

Well, that just doesn’t sell newspapers does it????

PJCanberra PJCanberra 6:23 pm 26 Apr 11

Pommy bastard said :

Due to the nature of my work I come into contact with a large number of young people, many (40%+) of whom have contact with the courts. I can tell you now that they consider justice in the ACT a joke. There is no deterrence.

Some even LOOK FORWARD to going into Bimberi or the Hume Hilton as a few weeks R&R. Why should they not? Good quality accommodation, good food, a chance to be away from stress, meet with their mates, good medical and health care, and great facilities.

If the justice system provides no disincentive to them to stop stealing/mugging/drunk driving/taking drugs and/or selling drugs/stealing cars and initiating “chases”, then what purpose does it serve?

Have to agree! Just like the violent detainees we seem intent on assisting, our criminals are just another few looking for a free ride! I know of one or two individuals who continually stuff up and get caught but get a slap on the wrist and are sent out into society only to re-offend! How is anyone going to learn if the only punishment they receive is a day in court and maybe a monetary fine???

Tooks Tooks 5:45 pm 26 Apr 11

Wily_Bear said :

Tooks said :

Jailing as a form of punishment maybe serve as that, but it does nothing to prevent crime.

Jailing an offender prevents them committing further crimes while they are locked up. Is that not preventing crime?

It would appear to be an extraordinarily expensive approach to crime prevention, especially if the judiciary started to impose the kind of sentences demanded here on Riotact. We would soon have need of a new prison. The ‘Red Hill Ritz’ perhaps ?
Anyway, if the current one is even half as luxurious as is complained about so often, surely there’d be no element of punishment involved in a lengthy sentence ?

So you’re saying we shouldn’t put criminals in gaol because it’s expensive? Can’t say I agree with you there.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 5:00 pm 26 Apr 11

Why can’t gaol be about putting a physical barrier between criminals and society, to protect society?

Mystery2Me Mystery2Me 2:45 pm 26 Apr 11

Not said :

While I am happy to admit being naive, i probably would use a more fitting term. Naivety relates to uniformed or unaware. I have some info on the matter.

However, your information comes from a newspaper article, a professor sitting in a musty room writing a report or a whole bunch of statistics that could be manipulated or interpreted to suit anyone’s opinion. My information comes from first hand experience. Apologies for calling you naive. I thought naive meant a lack of EXPERIENCE, wisdom or judgement. You clearly have wisdom, albeit someone else’s.

EvanJames EvanJames 10:39 am 26 Apr 11

Not said :

Yes absolutely, out of everything you could attack, you choose grammar!! Says so much in so little. And he is Chief Justice, namely a Judge genius. You use your finger for all your brainstorms.

I can see why you would find criticism of poor written expression upsetting.

JC JC 9:33 am 26 Apr 11

You are right, our world is ruled by the media, in particular politicians . The pollies in government fear anything negative, because everyone, especially the media expects them to get it right every single time. The opposition relies on media beat ups to issue silly censure motions and to make cheap political shots at the government. Every time there is a high profile criminal case you will find the media and opposition parties sniffing around to find any opportunity to grandstand and discredit the government of the day. The only way the get away with it is because most believe what the media says.

In an ideal world the media would report, not give opinion and the opposition would come up with their own policies rather than just trying to discredit the government.

buzz819 buzz819 7:50 am 26 Apr 11

Lookout Smithers said :

Tooks said :

Jailing as a form of punishment maybe serve as that, but it does nothing to prevent crime.

Jailing an offender prevents them committing further crimes while they are locked up. Is that not preventing crime?

I guess if you believe you can predict the future. In micro terms it might be a possible theory but you would need hardcore proof that the inmate was unquestionably guilty of crimes in the future post release. I think that is not really possible so I don’t think it has prevented something that may or may not happen. And its a bit arrogant to say that every person jailed is always going to commit crimes isn’t it? I mean that in a nice way. Hate to have you as a parole officer! Jesus.

After seeing how many people re-offend while on bail, you can say that locking them WILL stop them re-offending.

I don’t think that tooks said everyone jailed will commit crimes, he said jailing an offender will prevent them, there are people out there who deserve a second chance, there are people out there with actual defences BUT there are people out there that very much deserve to go to jail, it is attitudes like yours that have totally f$cked up the court system.

Tooks Tooks 6:44 pm 25 Apr 11

I guess if you believe you can predict the future.

You cannot be so naïve that you believe these criminals would not be offending if not locked up. I don’t need to predict the future. Have a look at the past and present. Recidivist offenders commit offences when they are free. That’s why they are called recidivist offenders. I’ll bet you my house that at least 50% of the current AMC inmates will reoffend once released.

In micro terms it might be a possible theory but you would need hardcore proof that the inmate was unquestionably guilty of crimes in the future post release. I think that is not really possible so I don’t think it has prevented something that may or may not happen.

I’m not talking about post-release. I’m suggesting many of the criminals currently locked up would be committing crimes if they were free. Do you honestly believe none of the 300 odd inmates of AMC would be committing crimes if they were released? Is that really what you’re suggesting, or have I misunderstood? There are property offenders locked up at the moment who are prolific, offenders who have been locked up for years. There is no doubt they would still be offending if not locked away.

And its a bit arrogant to say that every person jailed is always going to commit crimes isn’t it? I mean that in a nice way.

It’s a bit arrogant to put words in my mouth. Where did I say every person jailed is always going to commit crimes?

Hate to have you as a parole officer! Jesus.

Based on your apparent naivety, I think I’d love to have you as a parole officer!

Lookout Smithers Lookout Smithers 5:45 pm 25 Apr 11

Tooks said :

Jailing as a form of punishment maybe serve as that, but it does nothing to prevent crime.

Jailing an offender prevents them committing further crimes while they are locked up. Is that not preventing crime?

I guess if you believe you can predict the future. In micro terms it might be a possible theory but you would need hardcore proof that the inmate was unquestionably guilty of crimes in the future post release. I think that is not really possible so I don’t think it has prevented something that may or may not happen. And its a bit arrogant to say that every person jailed is always going to commit crimes isn’t it? I mean that in a nice way. Hate to have you as a parole officer! Jesus.

Wily_Bear Wily_Bear 4:08 pm 25 Apr 11

Tooks said :

Jailing as a form of punishment maybe serve as that, but it does nothing to prevent crime.

Jailing an offender prevents them committing further crimes while they are locked up. Is that not preventing crime?

It would appear to be an extraordinarily expensive approach to crime prevention, especially if the judiciary started to impose the kind of sentences demanded here on Riotact. We would soon have need of a new prison. The ‘Red Hill Ritz’ perhaps ?
Anyway, if the current one is even half as luxurious as is complained about so often, surely there’d be no element of punishment involved in a lengthy sentence ?

Tooks Tooks 2:42 pm 25 Apr 11

Jailing as a form of punishment maybe serve as that, but it does nothing to prevent crime.

Jailing an offender prevents them committing further crimes while they are locked up. Is that not preventing crime?

LSWCHP LSWCHP 1:48 pm 25 Apr 11

Not said :

Affirmative Action Man said :

Yes but how come courts seem to defy logic when it comes to dealing with serial recidivists. EG if you break bail conditions that should be it. No more bail of any sort for 10 years. Same if you get pinched for the 4th 5th or 6th time – no more chnces — gorn.

Having said that we should be putting massive amounts of $$ into disfunctional families but hey nobody wants to pay more tax.

Carry on, Canberra must have one of the highest standards of living in Australia. I too have been in court, have been sentenced by the chief, and been a victim of crime. I have also been crown witness. All of which was an awful shite time of it. But I got justice each time. And I think I got what I deserved. It wasn’t a good outcome or bit rough. It was just what I deserved. Justice. Anyone with character has been in front of a wig!!

Anyone with character has been in front of a wig? WTF? Should there be a smiley face there to indicate that that comment is not to be taken seriously?

Not Not 12:58 pm 25 Apr 11

Tooks said :

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/prosecutors-question-kingston-stabbing-ruling/2138194.aspx

Prosecutors have lodged a reference appeal in the stabbing death of teenager Cameron Anderson in Kingston, arguing that ACT Chief Justice Terence Higgins committed errors in coming to his verdict.

I won’t post the whole thing, just click on the link. The DPP are claiming the CJ made several errors (not including falling asleep on more than one occasion…allegedly…). Sure it’s only one case, but it suggests pretty major problems with Higgin’s decision and will be interesting to see the result of the appeal.

Yeah I read the judgement. I thought it was the right outcome. I can’t see the girl as having killed a bloke without good reason being a plausible occurrence. I felt pretty convince it was self defence. I was actually pretty impressed with the judgement in the way it read. It was detailed and theorised really clearly. Though there were a few things that stood out in this case and I guess that will usually happen. The sad thing I think is that there are obviously no winners, but that girl will have to carry that around and already seemed to be troubled. I hope it is a transforming experience but i am not sure anyone that young fares well with an event like that on the record. On a side note I am always humoured when you read a judgement and see all the information that was not in the paper’s coverage. I never tire of it.

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