Victim impact statements and the Previtera Rule: Delimiting the voice and representation of family victims in New South Wales homicide cases

Author(s)Kirchengast, Tyrone
Title Victim impact statements and the Previtera Rule: Delimiting the voice and representation of family victims in New South Wales homicide cases
Source University of Tasmania Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 114-142, 2005
Date 2005
Document type Journal article
Coverage NSW Australia
Summary In NSW there is a significant line of authority, starting with R v Previtera (1997), binding NSW sentencing courts to a limited consideration of victim impact statements (VIS) from family victims. A history of VIS in NSW is outlined, and the objective assessment of the offence in sentencing law is considered. The author discusses the notion that at law no individual life should be regarded as more valuable than another. In the case of R v Berg the possibility was raised that Previtera needs to be revisited on the basis that the sentencing legislation provides for the assessment harm in the context of the community. The author contends that there is a justification under current sentencing principles to include the views of family victims as tendered in a VIS. The court could be informed through family victim VIS on such things as the potential impacts of the offence on the community, likelihood of recidivism, or the extent to which the offender breached current community standards.
Keywords Victim impact statements; family victims; Previtera; harm; sentencing; consideration.
Topic Victim impact statements