Posts Categorized: NSW Courts

Kempsey: A NSW Crime Hot-Spot

Broken window

Kempsey is an area that has been known for having a high crime rate for many years. Figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show that the rate of crime in Kempsey is extremely high in comparison with the state average in a number of offence categories, especially in break and enter,… Read more »

Juries don’t always follow the law

Jury stand

My first murder trial was back in 1999. My client was serving a prison sentence for drug charges at Goulburn Correctional Centre. One of his fellow inmates was a leader of the notorious Vietnamese ‘5T’ gang, which had a lot of power in prison at that time. The 5T leader was serving a life-sentence for… Read more »

Cuts to Legal Aid are being felt in NSW Courts

Legal Aid

Legal aid funding has been dwindling since 1997; but this year, the cuts are really being felt. According to Fairfax media, defence funding has been cut for at least 12 serious criminal cases in the last few months. The budget has cut millions from Legal Aid Services, as well as from Indigenous Services. This means… Read more »

The Mental Illness Defence in Criminal Trials

Brain in palm of hand

In December 2012, elderly man Daniel Dunn killed his wife by hitting her with a hammer at their home. The South Australian Supreme Court recently found that Mr Dunn was ‘mentally incompetent of murder’ as he was suffering from a major depressive disorder with psychotic features at the time of the attack. Dunn was ordered… Read more »

Judge-Alone Trials: Minimising the Risk of Unfair Prejudice?

Wooden gavel

The criminal justice system in Australia is based around the concept of impartiality and getting a fair trial. Although this sounds great in principle, there are some circumstances that have the potential to place the integrity of the judicial system in question. If you are facing a trial for a criminal matter and you feel… Read more »

Can a confession be kept out of court?

Court

Time and time again, studies have shown that innocent people confess – or make ‘admissions’ – to crimes they never could have committed. If this has happened to you, there may still be a way for you to make sure that it is never used against your in court. Was the confession recorded and signed?… Read more »

What is the role of the NSW Sentencing Council?

Justice figure

Have you ever wondered what factors influence the imposition of mandatory and maximum sentences for a particular crime? Or who reviews sentences for specific offences to ensure that they are aligned with social expectations and ideals? The New South Wales Sentencing Council is a special body that plays a crucial role in sentencing law reform…. Read more »

Magistrate Resigns after Googling Defendant Online

Google

Magistrates and Judges sit and hear the evidence raised by the parties, then make decisions based upon that evidence alone. Their role is not to conduct an investigation on behalf of society at large. However, this highly restrictive view of the judiciary’s role has not always been a part of our legal history. Until the… Read more »

Are Magistrate Sentences too Lenient?

Gavel and coaster

It seems to be a commonly held view that police do all the hard work of catching criminals, only for ‘bleeding heart’ judges and magistrates to let them off the hook when they get to court. Earlier in November this year, schoolgirl Taneeka Orchard who committed an unprovoked attack on another girl at a party… Read more »