Nsw Law Society Welcomes Moves To Overhaul Sex Crime Legislation

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26th October 2008, 11:56am - Views: 1109

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NSW Law Society welcomes moves to overhaul sex crime


Sunday 26 October 2008

The Law Society of NSW has today supported recommendations made by the

Sentencing Council affecting penalties relating to sexual assault offences in


President of the Law Society of NSW, Hugh Macken today said it is important

that inconsistencies in the legislation be removed and that laws be

harmonised in accordance with the Criminal Crimes Acts of the other States in

the Commonwealth so that people, particularly children, are protected from

sexual abuse and exploitation.

“It is difficult to administer laws whereby the offence under Commonwealth

legislation carries a penalty of 10 years, but according to state law only carries

a penalty of 5 years. The administration of justice would benefit from these

types of anomalies being removed and the recommendations would do this,”

said Mr Macken.

“The report also addresses developments in technology which raise serious

legal issues such as so-called pseudo images, and whether material that is

irretrievable but still present on computer hard-drives ought to constitute an


But Mr Macken also noted that whilst harmonisation of laws and consistencies

in sentencing is a desired outcome, care must be taken to make sure judicial

officers can still take into account any relevant fact or circumstance in

sentencing an offender.  

“The development of Standard Non Parole Periods (SNPP) can impede

Judges or Magistrates from giving lengthier sentences in the case of repeat

offenders, or in some circumstances, giving sentences below the SNPP

should this be appropriate.

“The report identifies a need for some ongoing matters to be considered by a

Working Party and the Law Society of NSW looks forward to working with the

State Government, Police and the DPP to consider procedural issues,” said

Mr Macken.

Media Contact:  Maria Iannotti 0413 440 699

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