Legal Studies Assessment Legal 11 Crime Practice Questions

1640 words - 7 pages

Compare the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in protecting the rights of the individual and the rights of society:

The criminal justice system plays a balancing act, aiming to equally protect the rights of individuals such as Jamie and society, When comparing each parties rights, many claim that the rights of individuals outwash that of society and as a result the legal system has gone through various reform in order to achieve a balance where everyone’s rights are protected.

The criminal justice system guarantee’s Jamie various rights including the right to silence, ensuring the accused is not obliged to say anything to police or to enter the witness stand during trial. Offenders also have the right to legal representation for serious offences from Dietrich v Queen 1992, the right to appear before a magistrate within 24hrs and the right to a fair trial from the concept of natural justice.

In comparison the public relies on the director of Public Prosecution to protect societies rights by prosecuting criminals. Society is also given protection by housing offenders in correctional facilities. The politicians we elect to represent ourselves reflect societies rights, making appropriate legislation to protect ourselves. When comparing societies rights with that of the individual it is clear that individual rights are much more a certainty than those of society.

Recently there has been pressure put on the govt to protect society’s rights more. The law has gone through various reforms, in order to provide more rights to the community. One such example is the victim impact statement introduced by the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 NSW that allows the victim to tell how the crime impacted upon them.

One issue, which has gained much publicity through the media as a result of changing community values, is sexual assault, especially in regard to gang rapes. The law has responded to the community values, making various reforms in order to protect the victim and thus society. The Criminal Procedures (sexual assault) Act 2003 makes it illegal for the offender to question and cross-examine the victim, providing more protection and thus more rights to society. Similarly more rights were provided with the Criminal Procedure Amendment (Evidence) Act 2005 which allowed victims to give evidence through video satellite, ore evidence from past trials to be used, if a retrial is required. Such reform stemmed from the retrial of the Skaf brothers and illustrates how the legal system effectively responds to community values, making the protection of the rights of the community somewhat on par to the rights of individuals.

Although society is offered protection in regards to sexual assault, the protection of societies right to protection has been questioned after the NSW Criminal Court of Appeal cut five gang rapist jail terms by as much as 18yrs in early September. This decision was handed down, as being the leader of a...

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