: DUAO - Vol 41(1)

DUAO - 2016 - Vol 41(1)

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Developments around the country

DownUnderAllOver is a round-up of legal news from both State and federal jurisdictions, and contains topical articles and short pieces from Alternative Law Journal committees around the country.

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Criminal gangs

Nigel Stobbs
Queensland

The current government made an election commitment to review the efficacy and legitimacy of the previous government’s suite of legislation dealing with organised crime activities and associated violence of outlaw motorcycle gangs. It convened a parliamentary committee, advised by legal and criminal justice policy experts, to advise on possible changes. The committee is due to report back at the end of March 2016, but pressure to leave the relevant legislation (especially the much criticised Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act) as it stands is mounting from the Queensland Police Service and the Opposition.

(2016) 41(1) AltLJ 69

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Crown submissions on sentence – Barbaro redux

Nigel Stobbs
Queensland

The 2014 High Court decision in Barbaro & Zirilli v The Queen [2014] HCA created a minor ruckus in prosecution circles by coming to the sensible conclusion that prosecutors ought not be permitted to make submissions to a sentencing court on either the appropriate sentence for a particular offender, or the ‘appropriate’ range. Government appears to have paid heed to the ruckus, and tucked away in the new domestic violence Bill, is an amendment to s 15 of the Penalties and Sentences Act, so that the court ‘may receive a sentencing submission from a party to the proceedings that it considers appropriate to enable it to impose the proper sentence’.

(2016) 41(1) AltLJ 69

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Youth Justice

Nigel Stobbs
Queensland

The Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, currently at the committee stage, winds back some of the more unwelcome amendments to the Youth Justice Act 1992, made by the previous government. If enacted, the amending legislation will:

  • remove boot camp orders as a sentencing option for juveniles;
  • remove breach of bail as an offence for juveniles;
  • make childhood findings of guilt for which no conviction was recorded inadmissible when sentencing a person for an adult offence; and most importantly
  • reinstate the principle of imprisonment as a sentence of last resort for both juveniles and adults – and that any custodial sentence imposed on a child ought to be for the shortest appropriate period
(2016) 41(1) AltLJ 69

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SA Law Reform Institute recommends abolition of religious oaths

Kellie Toole
South Australia

The South Australian Law Reform Institute (‘SALRI’) has recommended that South Australia become the first jurisdiction in the nation to replace the existing religious oath and secular affirmation with a simple witness promise to tell the truth while giving evidence in court.

SALRI undertook consultations and received submissions from multicultural groups, judicial officers, religious leaders, lawyers, and members of the community. Some groups and individuals favoured retaining the religious oath, while others welcomed its replacement by a non-religious promise that recognised the separation of church and state.

(2016) 41(1) AltLJ 69

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Court on camera

David Caruso
South Australia

It has historically been impractical and intrusive to allow cameras in court room. For victims, defendants and witnesses, a court hearing can be daunting enough, let alone with a conspicuous, intimidating camera lens being pointed at you. Indeed, a courtroom can be a nerve-racking place for a seasoned lawyer.

But advances in technology can facilitate unobtrusive broadcasting. While courts have been limited by unwieldy technology and budget constraints, new and emerging technologies can significantly reduce the costs of filming (acknowledging that the courts can only do so much on a shoestring budget).

(2016) 41(1) AltLJ 69

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