Discretion is a major factor in the entire criminal process and refers to the freedom of choice to carry or not carry out something. This can be seen in both a positive and negative light as the police and court can both use discretion which can be damaging to either party in court in terms of achieving justice. The role of discretion within the criminal justice system has many advantages and disadvantages in the way it deals with achieving justice for individuals. Discretion can be explored through cotemporary examples within the criminal investigation process, criminal trial process, sentencing and punishment. The Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 outlines the powers the police have been given and can carry them out under their discretion. In the newspaper article “NSW police probe ‘unnecessary Tasering” (ABC News) a 38 year old man takes civil action for the alleged misuse of a Taser by NSW police. However the State defended this as the police used it only to bring perpetrators to justice and that the sight of a Taser has been able to resolve conflict in 55% of the time it has been pulled from the holster. The Tasers have also been fitted with built in video cameras which record as soon as it is unholstered in order to discourage improper use of them by the officers. This shows that police powers regarding Tasers can be used at their discretion and that it is only used in order to benefit the criminal justice system and has been effective in benefitting the justice system. Within the criminal investigation process, discretion is relevant through the toughened bail laws, which are represented in the Bail Act Amendment in 2007. In some situations when police use their discretion, it may be both effective and ineffective.
In the Newspaper article “No Toying with Doncaster pistol pointer” (Manning Ham-leader) we see how police used “discretion when applying the law and focus on the intent of any person found carrying an imitation...
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