Assess the role discretion plays in the sentencing and punishment of offenders

Topics: Criminal law, Crime, Victim impact statement Pages: 2 (1161 words) Published: April 22, 2015
Assess the role discretion plays in the sentencing and punishment of offenders. Sentencing and punishment has actively involved the discretion of judges and magistrates in affecting the decision of the sentencing. Discretion involves the power of Judges and magistrates to determine the most appropriate sentence for a case. Allowing judicial officers to decide sentences on a case by case basis and thus permitting them to take into account the various circumstances. Many factors influence the role discretion plays or alternatively doesn’t play in the sentencing and punishment of offenders. This includes statutory guidelines, mandatory sentencing, aggravating and mitigating circumstances and the use of victim impact statements. In terms of Statutory guidelines a number of acts inform the exercise of Judicial discretion. The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) is the primary source of sentencing law in NSW. It sets out the purposes for which a sentence and types of penalties may be imposed, when they can be used and also recommends general guidelines in relation to sentencing. The Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) prescribes the maximum sentence that may be imposed for various offences. It identifies what might constitute a mitigating or aggravating circumstance. However, it is left, to some degree, to the exercise of judicial discretion to determine the most appropriate sentence, providing it fits within the prescribed statutory guidelines. As well as this Judicial officers can be guided by former judgements in cases with similar facts. The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act allows for the NSW Attorney General to apply guideline judgements, that will set out sentencing guidelines for a particular offence. These guidelines, although limiting the judicial discretion, are used to ensure the right to a fair trial, by limiting the amount cases with similar circumstances can differ in their final sentencing. Ultimately this means that, although judicial discretion is...
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