Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Fly direct from
Canberra to New Zealand

Acurate information. Hooray for the Canberra judiciary!

By 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.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
47 Responses to
Acurate information. Hooray for the Canberra judiciary!
Not 6:08 pm 23 Apr 11

The Frots said :

Have you just landed on this planet…? If so, welcome. If, on the other hand, you have been in Canberra for a little while, then you need to get out more.

Seriously!

I live in St kilda, Melbourne. Expat, do some work in the Can now and then. I do need to get out more, this much is true.

Not 6:05 pm 23 Apr 11

ConanOfCooma said :

As someone that has been in a court, many times, and had to deal with “Justice”, I can say it’s laughable and pathetic that someone would attempt to defend the system. Any person.

Yeah me too mate. I wouldn’t say defend, pardon the pun, just merely trying to post some perspective. It is a bit pathetic that someone would big note their total court appearances and think it has some kind of unique credence attached to it and voids all other opinions. Treasonable idea.

Not 6:01 pm 23 Apr 11

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!!

vg 5:47 pm 23 Apr 11

Spend 20 years in the process and see if your view differs

Affirmative Action M 5:45 pm 23 Apr 11

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.

The Frots 5:41 pm 23 Apr 11

Have you just landed on this planet…? If so, welcome. If, on the other hand, you have been in Canberra for a little while, then you need to get out more.

Seriously!

ConanOfCooma 5:40 pm 23 Apr 11

As someone that has been in a court, many times, and had to deal with “Justice”, I can say it’s laughable and pathetic that someone would attempt to defend the system. Any person.

Not 3:38 pm 23 Apr 11

Wily_Bear said :

+ 1 Not.

I also believe the courts probably get it right most of the time. It couldn’t hurt to encourage greater public awareness of the purposes and principles of sentencing though.

The study you refer to does highlight a couple of interesting facts, notably that often jurors in a property matter would have chosen a more lenient sentence than the one that was imposed. On the other hand, many would have chosen more severe sentences for crimes of a violent or sexual nature. Maybe the public is not all that ill informed, understanding that property crimes often find their root in addiction, and addictions need treatment, whereas those who would commit violent crimes need to be deterred ?

I have no answers there mate. As far as I see it, general deterrence is largely ineffective. However I could be wrong as I don’t fully comprehend the entire concept of deterrence. Serious crimes like homicide I think are committed with little regard for anything or anyone, any deterrent is of little consequence I think. I do think it is important to have an awareness too. Too ofter the media corrupt an issue by masquerading as credible news providers. And then charge us for the privilege? They have to sell news sure, but surely social issues and important community information should be off limits if they intend to print horse shizz.

Wily_Bear 2:54 pm 23 Apr 11

+ 1 Not.

I also believe the courts probably get it right most of the time. It couldn’t hurt to encourage greater public awareness of the purposes and principles of sentencing though.

The study you refer to does highlight a couple of interesting facts, notably that often jurors in a property matter would have chosen a more lenient sentence than the one that was imposed. On the other hand, many would have chosen more severe sentences for crimes of a violent or sexual nature. Maybe the public is not all that ill informed, understanding that property crimes often find their root in addiction, and addictions need treatment, whereas those who would commit violent crimes need to be deterred ?

buzz819 2:49 pm 23 Apr 11

Not, if that is the case why are they the people who impose the sentencing, thus the rehabilitation.

Deref 2:40 pm 23 Apr 11

Not said :

As history tells us, people being shown the consequences of their actions through custodial sentences has done absolutely nothing whatsoever to change any pattern of criminal activity. It simply has no effect.

This is demonstrably true, though custodial sentencing does have one beneficial effect: it removes the offenders from the community.

As has been said, the number of recidivists who’ve been dealt with by the courts time and time again but who keep re-offending demonstrates dramatically the need for something that actually works. That, of course, isn’t the role of the judiciary, but it is</i? the role of the criminal justice system and, particularly, the politicians we elect to fix these things.

I find it hard to believe that there has been no system anywhere in the world that hasn't proven itself effective in rehabilitating criminals. If not, then perhaps there's nothing we can do except what we're already doing, though I think we need to take these people out of circulation more frequently than we do. If there is a method that works, though, we should be using it. If there is, and we’re not, the people responsible for ignoring it are as bad as the offenders themselves.

Not 1:57 pm 23 Apr 11

buzz819 said :

You are out of touch with the real world. I have said it before, I’ll say it again, I believe you are Chief Justice Higgins.

You are blinded not to see how soft the courts. They focus on rehabilitation, which in itself is a good thing. But, and it is a big BUT, they do not realise that a person has to be shown consequences to their action’s, they need to show those people have done something wrong, before that same person will go down the lines of being rehabilitated.

If you think the courts are working, why is there a large number of recidivist offenders in Canberra, I’m not talking about people with a criminal history of 5 or 6 entries, I am talking about people who have 2 – 300 entries on their criminal records. These same people will still get a suspended sentence for doing the same crime on the 10th go, how is that not being soft?

This is not third hand information either, I know that it happens.

Then you have the high number of recidivist drink drivers, where is the courts being tough on them? You say the media sensationalizes that the courts are soft, you are looking at conviction rates from the AIC website, where does it ask whether or not the sentences are soft or not?

The public perception that the courts are soft is right, talking to jurors about if they think the judge got it right is not right, as there aren’t that many trials by jury, that is slowly changing and the outcome to the current trial in the Supreme court will be interesting.

People don’t fear crime, they know it will happen, what people fear is being fed bullshit and being told it is Milo. It is exactly what you are doing Not. Good work.

Firstly, courts focus on the administering of justice in the first instance, rehabilitation only comes into it if there is a conviction. And that is the role of the executive to undertake, not the judiciary. You are entitled to opine that courts are soft, though I know not what you might like to replace soft with. As history tells us, people being shown the consequences of their actions through custodial sentences has done absolutely nothing whatsoever to change any pattern of criminal activity. It simply has no effect. Though some may need to be there, it is crisis management. Hell we have to do something with the convicts I guess. Which would lead me to ask you, what do you suggest as measures you would instate to deal with crime? You said your self people don’t fear crime, and I would ask then why is your need to have criminals punished harshly even an issue? If your not happy with the rate at which people are Jailed, why not find out all the details of the case? I am assuming that you have a few in mind? I am happy for you to view it any way you please, I just wanted to offer anything to aid your perspective other than a Fairfax media article. It is important that we have a well an reliably informed public, irrespective of ones views.
With regard to the study, which was commissioned by the Institute, read it again.

LSWCHP 12:59 pm 23 Apr 11

My professional experience in a number of areas over nearly 30 years has relied heavily on my ability to think deeply about complex problems, and produce good solutions to those problems.

I’m also not someone who is easily fooled by the nonsense that is paraded before me by most of the commercial media.

So I’m quite prepared to accept the all of the recent murder cases in the ACT have been played exactly according to the rules, and I don’t think there’s any conspiracy in our courts.

However, what I do believe is that the rules by which the decisions are made are flawed. Why are there people driving around on our roads with more than half a dozen DUI convictions? Why did CRK end up free on the streets to continue his one idiot crime wave over succeeding years? What does the family of poor bloody Joe Cinque think about the tap on the wrist delivered to the woman who deliberately killed him? How is it possible to shoot two blokes with a shotgun and get away with it? Or to stab someone dozens of times and for it not to be considered murder?

I see these and similar things transpiring, and my critical thinking skills lead me to conclude that Something is Wrong With The Legal System. I don’t think that makes me a genius. Certainly the views of this section of the community (ie my house) aren’t represented by many sentencing decisions that I’m aware of.

But what are the chances of things changing? Sweet Fanny Adams, I suspect.

I await the results of the Charnwood knifing trial with interest.

eyeLikeCarrots 11:51 am 23 Apr 11

“…..think critically and independently, to be reasonable.”

You know 1 quarter of the population is retarded right ?

buzz819 11:13 am 23 Apr 11

You are out of touch with the real world. I have said it before, I’ll say it again, I believe you are Chief Justice Higgins.

You are blinded not to see how soft the courts. They focus on rehabilitation, which in itself is a good thing. But, and it is a big BUT, they do not realise that a person has to be shown consequences to their action’s, they need to show those people have done something wrong, before that same person will go down the lines of being rehabilitated.

If you think the courts are working, why is there a large number of recidivist offenders in Canberra, I’m not talking about people with a criminal history of 5 or 6 entries, I am talking about people who have 2 – 300 entries on their criminal records. These same people will still get a suspended sentence for doing the same crime on the 10th go, how is that not being soft?

This is not third hand information either, I know that it happens.

Then you have the high number of recidivist drink drivers, where is the courts being tough on them? You say the media sensationalizes that the courts are soft, you are looking at conviction rates from the AIC website, where does it ask whether or not the sentences are soft or not?

The public perception that the courts are soft is right, talking to jurors about if they think the judge got it right is not right, as there aren’t that many trials by jury, that is slowly changing and the outcome to the current trial in the Supreme court will be interesting.

People don’t fear crime, they know it will happen, what people fear is being fed bullshit and being told it is Milo. It is exactly what you are doing Not. Good work.

1 2 3 4

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site