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Mandatory Sentencing Charlotte Baker HSC Legal Studies.

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Presentation on theme: "Mandatory Sentencing Charlotte Baker HSC Legal Studies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mandatory Sentencing Charlotte Baker HSC Legal Studies

2 DEFINITION Mandatory sentencing refers to the practice of parliament setting a fixed penalty for the commission of a particular criminal offence (The Australian Institute for Criminology)

3 HISTORY Began in Australian in the Northern Territory in 1995, with mandatory sentencing for property offences First introduced in the United States of America in 1952, for various drug offences under the Boggs Act Britain in 1965, introduced mandatory life imprisonment for murder after the abolishment of the death penalty.

4 WESTERN AUSTRALIA Criminal Code Amendment (No. 2) Act 1996 (WA) 14 days for the first offence, 28 days for the second offence and one year for the third offence Property offences include: burglary, breaking and entering and robbery

5 WESTERN AUSTRALIA II Criminal Code Amendment Act 2009 (WA) Mandatory gaol term: 6 months- bodily harm public officers 1 year- grievous bodily harm to public officers Public officer: police officers, paramedics, prison guards and public transport guards

6 NEW SOUTH WALES Crimes Amendment (Mandatory Life Sentences) Act 1996 (NSW) Mandatory life imprisonment for the trafficking of a commercial amount of heroin or cocaine Only imposed if: act involved a high degree of planning and organisation a number of people under the offender’s direction The offender must be solely or principally responsible for planning, organising and financing the offence Offender only committed the offence for financial reward The cocaine or heroin was of a high purity

7 NORTHERN TERRITORY Sentencing Act 1995 (NT) A term of imprisonment for: Violent offences such as: assault, aggravated assault, attempted murder and aggravated robbery. Sexual offences such as: sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault

8 LIFE FOR MURDER Many states have mandatory life imprisonment for the offence of murder: Northern Territory Sentencing Act 1995 (NT) South Australia Criminal Law (Sentencing) (Dangerous Offenders) Amendment Bill 2007 Queensland Criminal Code 1989 section 305 New South Wales Crimes Amendment (Mandatory Life Sentences) Act 1996 (NSW)

9 FEDERAL Crimes Legislation Amendment (People Smuggling, Firearms Trafficking and Other Measures) Bill 2002 If an adult is convicted of people smuggling asylum seekers to Australia they will receive: mandatory minimum of 3 years imprisonment for their first offence mandatory minimum of 5 years for their second offence

10 BENY AND TAHIR Two poor farmers were convicted of people smuggling receiving five year jail term, minimum to serve three years Boat exploded off the shore of Northern Territory Mitigating situation: bribed AUS$540, unaware of consequences resulting in the two men becoming victims themselves

11 REFORMS Tasmania is discussing the introduction of public officer assault laws, similar to those in Western Australia. (Mandatory sentencing for assaults against police and emergency service workers)

12 CRITICISMS Mandatory sentencing has received criticism from many highly recognised legal bodies: Australian Lawyers Alliance Australian Institute for Criminology Australian Human Rights Commission Lawyers and judges from all of the country and the world Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

13 EFFECTIVENESS OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM-NEGATIVE Reduces an individual’s access to the legal system: Cases spend longer being heard Less guilty pleas Does not allow for mitigating circumstance to be considered within sentencing

14 EFFECTIVENESS OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM-NEGATIVE II Removes judicial discretion within the sentencing process ‘Retention of judicial discretion in the sentencing of offenders was a cardinal principle of any democratic society’ -Chair of the Australian Lawyers Alliance More expensive, increases numbers in jails Higher demand and pressure within jails

15 EFFECTIVENESS OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM-NEGATIVE III International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Provides that sentences must be reviewable by a higher tribunal This is broken under mandatory sentencing legislation in Western Australia

16 EFFECTIVENESS OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM- POSITIVE Individuals have an increased feeling of protection Harsher punishments deter some individuals from committing crimes Western Australian “three strikes and you’re out” laws deter previous offenders from reoffending

17 EFFECTIVENESS OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM- POSITIVE II Consistency within sentencing, as the penalties for a written law is the same for each individual- equality of outcome Creates inequality as circumstances are not always the same, and therefore the penalty should not always be the same

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