APP calls for submissions for a Crime and Justice policy

Crime and Justice

There has been a quiet revolution within the criminal justice system over the years which has until recently, gone largely unnoticed by the general public. This quiet revolution, via the dogma of the Human Rights legislation, has elevated the ordinary criminal to a level never seen before. No longer is the criminal considered the ‘leper’ of society, instead, the influence of society in general is now deemed to be one of the main reasons for those who choose a life of crime. Indeed, it is now fashionable within the judiciary to uphold the petty thief or the armed robber, as misguided individuals who perhaps would have trodden a different road if society had been kinder to them!

And almost overlooked by the semi-officious lawyer, magistrate or judge in their eagerness to apportion blame, anywhere but onto the criminal, is the logical conclusion that everyone is responsible for their actions. The application of this sound logic by those who have the power to incarcerate the individual convicted in any court throughout the land, is also the basis of a just and stable society.

A cohesive society may only be maintained when the courts are seen to uphold the people’s laws. Sadly this is no longer the case. Indeed, it has now reached the point where there is almost a daily outcry over some court dispensing, what is seen by the general public as an inadequate sentence to those, whom in the public eye, deserve something much harsher. Where there was once the provision of a prisoner doing his time with ‘hard labor’ thrown in as extra punishment, for those crimes considered heinous in nature and therefore against society in general, successive leftist governments have seen fit to remove all measures of punishment as being against the prisoners human rights. What was once a rigid criminal justice system regimented by society’s need to punish those who sinned against it, and punished they were, may now be considered to be nothing more than a dispenser for token forms of punishment.

The APP is greatly concerned that criminal statutes are not being correctly interpreted by some ‘modern’ lawyers, magistrates and judges, who in some instances, are applying a ‘bleeding heart mentality’ when sentencing those convicted. There appears to be now in place, without any consultation from the public, a prevailing attitude that the criminal is really a victim of society, and as such, is therefore subject to special treatment from the courts due to mitigating circumstances. The APP believes that regardless of a court’s acknowledgement, that an adverse background may have been prejudicial to the criminal’s behaviour, or the expressed contrition of his/her guilt by the offering of remorse, such factors should have no bearing on the sentence imposed.

The very people that criminal codes are in force to protect- the general public- are now finding that protection diminishing in favor of the criminal. It is now common practice within the judicial system to reduce the longevity of sentences for penal servitude under mitigating circumstances, rather than issue a sentence which truly reflects

the heinous nature of the crime committed. The APP is not in favor of reducing sentences especially for repeat offenders. It has been precisely the folly of the bleeding heart brigade over the past 35 years which has given rise to such an increase in crime rates that there are now simply not enough jails in which to adequately house those who offend against society. The APP stands behind mandatory sentences for certain offences, which if properly implemented will dramatically reduce the crime rate. For example: Individuals that are charged by police for the offence of Break and Enter (A felony, therefore, an indictable offence requiring a trial under judge and jury) are to be tried in District Court. Upon conviction, the convicted criminal is then entitled to be sentenced to 14 years imprisonment!

No individual today, who is arrested and charged by police for the offence of Break and Enter, will appear at District Court. Instead, the very act of breaking into a person’s home or business, and stealing property, has become so commonplace, that Higher Courts are no longer able to cope with the huge numbers of offenders. Lower Courts, which are normally held for summary offences (summary offences being dealt with by way of a fine or bare minimum jail sentences) have now to deal with the burglar who plies his trade by stealing from peoples homes or businesses. Local Courts, overseen by magistrates who may only issue a maximum two years jail, are now also finding it increasingly difficult to deal with the numbers now before them. Today, very seldom is the burglar convicted at Lower Courts rarely sentenced to more than six months imprisonment, even for a string of offences!

The APP believes that it is a public safety concern that the criminal serve the time apportioned to him/her by statute. It is not the preserve of Magistrates at Local Court to hear and to sentence those criminals who should be tried at District Court by Judges for committing felonious offences!

While state governments may spin the line that they are tough on crime the evidence compels the observer to believe the opposite. Hoodwinking the public by stating that stiffer penalties will be introduced to curb this crime or that crime should be seen for what it is, nothing more than a public relations exercise. The fact is, successive governments have overseen the relaxation of sentences for criminals to the point, that it is a rare occurrence today when a criminal gets what he/she actually deserves.

The APP strongly believes that a very clear message would be sent to the criminal class if sentences required by statute were enforced upon conviction. No longer would the burglar sentenced to six months jail for a string of break and enter offences, consider their ‘trade’ as viable if, he/she received the maximum sentence upon conviction. Remember! It’s the imprisonment time that deters, not the false promise by electioneering politicians of tougher penalties, because the tough penalties are already in place but are not being enforced by our judiciary!

The impact of the criminal act upon the victim is not considered to be an issue in many criminal trials, which often leaves the victim of the crime to wonder just what kind of justice, Australian Law now administers. This judicial lack of understanding for the circumstances of the victim, has driven some victims to form their own organisation in order to assist, and to bring attention to, those victims who feel they have been let down by the very system which they believe should be there to protect them.

Unfortunately this form of reactionary protest has had little impact on court proceedings or sentences applied. Apart from allowing some victims to produce a victim impact statement in court, which is not obligatory upon the court to act on, nothing much has changed.

The APP firmly believes that any victim of crime must be permitted to share with any court the impact on that person’s life by any criminal act, and Courts must take into account the impact to the victim upon sentencing the convicted.

The APP also believes that a National Criminal Code, encompassing every state and territory, in similar setup as the Australian Road Transport Act of 1999 has done, should be implemented. While every state would still administer its own justice and penal system, the Australian Federal Police and its agents, while still being responsible for any breach of Commonwealth Criminal code, would also be responsible for any crime in which the perpetrator has crossed a state or territory boundary, which would then automatically make that crime, a federal offence. This very act would limit duplication of due criminal process and eliminate the need for extradition proceedings by the various states which have an interest in prosecuting for offences committed within their state boundaries. The Commonwealth should also provide and maintain its own maximum security penitentiaries in every state for those offenders considered to be a public risk, such as convicted terrorists.

The APP also envisages the following:

Prisoner’s responsibilities: It is common practice that some jails today offer paid work to those prisoners interested in doing so, and on that note, any victim of crime should be entitled to receive compensation from the criminal convicted of any offence against the victim. For example: A person has property to the value of $1000.00 stolen which is either damaged or made unrecoverable by the criminal. The criminal in this instance, should be compelled to work at some form of labor while imprisoned, from which he/she could earn wages which would then be used to compensate the victim. Those prisoners who refuse to co-operate with authorities charged with exacting payment from them, would then be liable to forfeit any special privileges granted to prisoners who comply with prison rules and their conditions of imprisonment.

Prisoner Parole: It is often the case that convicted criminals are given sentences with automatic parole periods as part of that sentence, in other words the non-parole period is built into the sentence. The APP believes that any parole should be a condition of the prisoner’s behaviour while incarcerated. That the granting of parole and conditions be awarded as part of a reward system designed to rehabilitate prisoners, and the granting of any parole period should be the preserve of prison authorities, and not imposed by the courts.

Prisoner’s rights: No prisoner today is forced to do anything which may violate his/her human rights. The APP believes that once anyone is imprisoned for any crime, that person has ceased to be a contributing member of society for the duration of that sentence and subsequently should forfeit some citizen rights. For instance: Prisoners should not be permitted to vote in any local, state or federal election while they remain imprisoned. While some human rights should remain as a protection for prisoners, it is not the prerogative of prisoners to demand from authorities their special rights or privileges. Granted privileges afforded to any prisoner by the Governor of the Jail, must be reliant on the prisoner’s behaviour at all times.

Cycle of Crime: In most states prisons have been erected within town limits. While this practice was common during the twentieth century for logistical purposes, the APP recognizes that the placing of jails into a suburban environment encourages a ‘cycle of crime’. Jail Towns have a higher criminal population than those towns who do not have any form of incarceration. This is a problem that is well known within the criminal and legal system and is unfair on the public who live in these towns. This huge social problem has been consistently ignored by successive governments. The APP believes that those jails now being utilized within civic communities should be gradually phased out in favor of more remote Penitentiaries, in order to break the ‘cycle of crime’.

Criminal Justice is a huge industry which encompasses all of our society. Even though most of us have never been a victim of crime, we all to some extent, feel the impact that out of control criminal behaviour can have on society as a whole. While the APP recognizes that it is a Herculean task expected on our police to maintain a safe society, the APP also recognizes that it has been the actions of past and present governments which has allowed the elevation of the criminal to an unacceptable status, a status that now competes with our society, that makes the policing of it so much more difficult.

The APP wishes to extend an invitation to those who feel strongly about the criminal justice system, to contribute any constructive criticisms or comments for due consideration. We invite government bodies, the judiciary, serving or retired prison and police offices, and members of the public, for their input into helping to put Justice back into the Australian Justice System.

Comments

  1. Our whole system regarding younger people is very confusing but to have one who has committed a crime apologise to a stranger is laughable.

    Maybe if we sort out the age of a child, a minor and at what age one becomes an adult might help clarify this mess.

    At 16 years of age an Australian child (?) is sent papers to be filled in and returned to Centrelink containing all information regarding their parents income, personal information and so on. Most likely the illegals get the same papers but without the same pressure. Now they must stay at school until they have a job or attian 17. In the forms sent out by Centrelink they say that 24 year olds are children!

    Full fares are charged by many businesses at 14 years of age or in some cases younger. Children of 10 years or less seem to be able to do as they please in society and we are expected to accept their behaviour.

    Small children often run amok while the parents ignore the discomfort caused to others.

    Society has gone overboard as children need structure and boundries.

    Is it still; a baby from birth to 7 years.

    a child from 7 to 14 years.

    a minor from 14 until 21 years.

    At what age does a person become classed as an adult by today's society?

    • Terry Odgers says:

      The law is very clear on criminal responsibility regarding the child. No child can be charged who is under 10 years of age for any offence, only cautioned, as the law recognises that children are not able to form a criminal aspect to their action, in other words, the guilt for their action has to have proof of intent that the guilty action was deliberately planned knowing that the action was wrong to initiate. Only in special circumstance, such as murder, will the under 10 year old be subject to criminal charges where the law has then to prove criminal intent, or Actus Reus.

      While this type of legal thinking can also be detrimental to prosecuting those 10 years or under who have already developed a certain criminality during their short life, remember the Bolger case in Britain? Generally speaking, it works well for society. However it is the Young Offenders Act that covers those children from 10 years to 17 years of age that is the concern. The law states that a child is a child until attaining the age of 18 years where obviously something magical must happen to turn the child into an adult.

      The formative years between those two ages is where the career criminal will surface and this is the time when the law needs to be fully enforced to deter those individuals who decide to stray. Under the Young Offenders Act there is no real deterent to not commit crimes and this is where this Act clearly fails.

  2. This is a very interesting article which I think is spot on. The legal just system in New South Wales is a joke and the criminals are laughing.

    Having indictable matters heard in a local court is a joke. What is even more of a joke is the local courts. Criminals once convicted can get a section 9 or 10 bond on pretty much any offence in the local courts.

    The court system has become so weighted towards the criminal it is simply embarrassing. I am sick of the people of this country that do the right thing paying for the people of this community that decide to do the wrong thing, through both trauma (i.e. Victim of crime) and finical i.e.(tax payers paying for centre link benefits).

    When is this bleeding heart syndrome going to stop and the rights of victims of crime start to be considered?

    Nice article I would be interested to hear your views on the young offenders act in NSW.

    I know it’s a delayed post but just found the site.

    • Terry Odgers says:

      The NSW Young Offenders Act of 1997, while it has worked for some has not hindered a large number of criminally minded young persons from advancing into more active criminal careers. While the original thought behind this policy was to keep the young offender out of the court system, it has many inherent flaws which have become big failures, such as: One aspect allows the young person to sidestep the personal responsibility of their crime/s by admitting their guilt and apologising, not to the victim, but to an independant police officer? Whereas the victim would be the appropriate person to receive an apology, the onus of admission of guilt and subsequent contrition falls onto a stranger in uniform, who is more often than not, a female officer. It's a well known observation that the young criminal these days has very little respect for the female, regardless of what uniform she is wearing! It would be more a deterent for the young offender to face the victim/s of his/her crime and perform the act of contrition then allowing the young person to effectively abrogate their personal responsibility for their actions which is what happens now.

      This policy has had limited success and must be either rewritten to remove the failures within it or simply repealed.

      Terry Odgers media rep. for the Australian Protectionist Party.

  3. The laywers, judges and human rights bleeding hearts would feel very differently if it was the house robbed, their daughter raped, or a home invasion happened to them.

    None of this is about caring, it is all about MONEY! Who is it that lives the "Rich" lifestyle at the expense of the (once again) because they charge, like wounded bulls, to protect the criminal.

    Between refugees, criminals and politicans what chance do you or I have for a fair, honest and happy life in this country now?

  4. I would like to see this good behavour treetment gone and if a person is sent to jail for 10 years he does 10 years and live means just that life never to be released and anyone caught doing anything in jail the time served added to his sentence

    • Nemesis says:

      There is still a rubber stamp available to judges who sit particularly heinous crimes that appall even hardened criminals. It has 'Never to be Released' on the bottom of that rubber stamp, but I cannot for the life of me remember the last time it was stamped on a convicted felons prison papers.

      The other issue of course with a prisoner having received that stamp would be with his defence team who would then lauch an 'appeal' against the judges decision citing the prisoners human rights and 'a manifestly unjust sentence.'

      Governments need to establish within any appeals courts that the judge or judges sitting on those courts must take into determination that the public must be protected over and above any rights that the prisoner may be deemed to have.

  5. localyokel says:

    I am so sick of our low life Victorian criminal scum being treated as darlings of the celebrity world. They are constantly rubbing shoulders with our well heeled social set.

    These criminals are glorified in every movie or story that is depicted on them. They are even resorting to plastic surgery to keep up with the public adulation. They carry on like the Bold and the Beautiful.

    Money is everything in this society and how you get it does not matter. The times have certainly changed.

    • Exdactly, Yokellocal. You'd think Carl Williams was some sort of Messiah who gave his life for sinners' salvation instead of a psychopathic serial killer. Programmes like Underbelly are providing superannuation for career criminals-actually I find that show quite frightening, and the way it somehow celebrates hardcore crime as a type of heroic gamble against an oppressive police state is quite sickening. I also object to the way it tries to present the police as corrupt. I hope such corruption is not as endemic as the producers want us to think.

      • Nemesis says:

        Greg….I worked with many cops in my time on the job, none that I worked with were corrupt, that doesn't mean that everyone on the force is squeaky clean though, and that is why every force has its own I.A. unit.

        The next royal commission into anything should be into the judiciary and political parties on corruption and fiscal accountability matters.

        If any police are found to be corrupt I can guarantee that there will be found at least one politician and bench member who has had something to do with it!

        • I'm glad to hear that, Nemesis. Your reasurance is welcome.

          But of course when you talk about cops who aren't corrupt I take it you don't include Simon Overland, the homosexual lover and Christian hater, and the gluttonous Christine Nixon who 'had to eat' while Maryville burnt.

          • Nemesis says:

            A good point Greg! Morally corrupt would be the phrase that comes to mind here with that pair. What a disgrace they are to the uniform!

            You may remember Peter Ryan, the English police commissioner imported for the job in 1996.

            McDonalds restaurants offer cheap, that is half price meals, to any police on duty that care to visit their establishments as a way of countering the anti-social behaviour they suffer from occasionally. Its always been that way since McDonalds first established themselves here in the late 1960,s and was never an issue with any senior police officer until Ryan landed here.

            He called out the McDonalds policy of providing half price meals to police a corruption issue for 'his police officers' while accepting tickets for a box position at the Sydney Rugby League grand final!

            Shows the calibre of our so called leaders today doesn't it!

        • I remember Ryan, Nemesis. He was the same sanctimonious, canting ilk as Nixon and Overland. I think NSW is luckier with Moroney and Scipione. It's hard to expect the police in stations to act consistently when the Commissioners are so two-faced.

          The police should have been paid to eat MacDonalds.

  6. A case in point is consideration of the family circumstances of Motekiai Taufahema. He is a Tongan national serving 11 years after being convicted over the death of Sydney highway patrol officer Senior Constable Glenn McEnallay in 2002. The 11 year sentence in itself seems inadequate, having been initially stopped by the Constable for driving a stolen car. Another of his accomplices actually shot the constable to death, though Taufehama and his brother had their murder convictions replaced with manslaughter convictions.

    Hopefully Taufehama will be incarcerated at least until 2013. However the compassion industry is arguing for him not to be deported on the basis that he has a daughter who apparently needs him. By the time he is released she will be on the verge of her teen years at least. A father with a history of grand larceny and an accomplice to murdering police, as well as having spent eleven years in prison is unlikely to be a fine parent, even if his daughter were ready to respond to a fine parent.

    Elsewhere, I recall there was a hue and cry over mandatory sentencing in the Northern Territory for those who committed a third offence. Luckily for the bleeding hearts, an aboriginal youth who stole a packet of biscuits was sentenced as this was his third offence. There was no reference to the enormities involved in his prior offences, or what was involved in the theft of the biscuits. There was only a specious pettifoggery over the biscuits, a very political hysteria. But the biscuit theft did at least involve some degree of burglary and disregard of the owner's rights.

    It seems that a sentence of six months or less for any form of burglary is inadequate. Burglary, especially of a private home, is a dreadful intrusion not only of physical, but also of psychic boundaries, and reflects an uncivil regard of the community where the offender lives.

    There is far too much consideration given to the perpetator rather than the victim, a shocking state of affairs that must be redressed.

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