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LIV calls on parties to respect and protect the critical role of judicial independence and discretion

LIV calls on parties to respect and protect the critical role of judicial independence and discretion

By LIV Media

Courts Judgment Justice Sentencing 


Despite the proven ineffectiveness of mandatory sentencing as a deterrent to crime, the government plans to introduce mandatory sentences for people who injure emergency workers.

This will soon be a category one offence: the same category as murder and rape.

This change will disproportionately affect vulnerable members of the community, including those suffering mental health issues, young people who have suffered abuse, trauma, neglect and deprivation, and who have been involved in the child protection system.

It will also undermine well-established common law principles in relation to sentencing discounts and proportionality, as well as the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) guideline principles.

LIV president Belinda Wilson says that “Victoria’s magistrates and judges must have discretion when it comes to sentencing and have the flexibility to deal with every case on an individual basis.

“Mandatory sentencing removes the discretion of courts to decide a penalty which fits the individual circumstances of the crime and the offender.”

The LIV is calling for:

  • a repeal of mandatory sentencing legislation that removes the discretion of Victoria’s judiciary
  • government to respect the critical importance of judicial independence, the separation of powers and the rule of law by facilitating the freedom of judges and magistrates to impose sentences which recognise the individual circumstances of each case, and allow for rehabilitative and restorative sentences to be imposed in appropriate cases where such sentences offer the greatest benefit to the community.
  • government to respect the expertise, experience and skill of Victoria’s judges and magistrates in appropriately considering and weighing all factors in determining the appropriate sentence in the circumstances of each particular case
  • an end to political attacks and public criticism by government and opposition, including politicians, public servants and police which undermines the authority of the justice system.

Justice reinvestment initiatives have been shown to have a higher success rate in reducing recidivism and community safety.

Read the Labor government, the Coalition Opposition and the Greens responses to the 10 priorities identified in the LIV’s Call to Parties here.

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