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Legal Essay

1554 words - 7 pages

The New South Wales Criminal trial and sentencing process is adequate in balancing the rights of the victims, offenders and society however like any legal system is does have its faults. The options in the trial and sentencing process are stipulated in the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, the Crimes (Sentencing Legislation) Amendment (Intensive Correction Orders) Act 2010 and the Crimes (sentencing procedure) Act 1999 which features the use of charge negotiation, rehabilitation, mitigating factors and intensive corrective orders.
In the criminal trial process charge negotiation provides the offender a choice to plead guilty or not-guilty, which is encouraged by the NSW DPP and is mentioned under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 – Section 99. Charge negotiation usually involves receiving a lesser charge in exchange for a higher charge being withdrawn or could lessen the sentence. In the R v Perry [2011] the offender pleads guilty early in the case; which had effectively showed her remorse, her acceptance of responsibility for the crime and had saved the courts time and the costs that are involved in criminal trial cases; the victim Mr Gibson has been noted to after hearing the evidence and her plea the victim had conveyed to the crown that he had believed Ms Perry’s remorse was true and that he desired for her not to suffer lifelong consequences for the accident. With expenditure on criminal courts’ administration being roughly $570 million in the 2006-2007 year, with increasing numbers of offenders pleading guilty in the first instance the cost for criminal proceedings annually should slowly decrease therefore resulting in money being used in other avenues which would be more beneficial for the community. Having this option provides positive outcomes for all affected; the offender is in most cases rewarded for not wasting the courts time which can alter their sentence or their charge; for victims it takes away the pressure of testifying and being cross-examined and essentially provides them peace of mind and a sense of closure, justice which is what the legal system is all about.
The criminal sentencing process can lead to an outcome of rehabilitation which offers the offender a chance of redemption for themselves, the victims and society as well aims to prevent recidivism and to address the criminogenic factors. In the Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW) rehabilitation must be the primary focus of any punishment imposed on a child 0-15 years, or a young adult 16-18 years. For adults the Magistrates Early Refferal Into Treatment Program (MERIT) which aims to treat offenders who have admitted to an illicit drug use problem, aiming to reduce drug related crime, unlike the Drug Court initiative MERIT is a voluntary pre-plea scheme. The MERIT program is a sound idea and a study conducted by Magistrate Jeff Lindon showed that 33% had completed the program. This data has shown that although not a majority of offenders had completely finished the program, a...

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