Recent developments in victim agency in the New South Wales justice system: the case of victim impact statements

Author(s)Kirchengast, Tyrone
Title Recent developments in victim agency in the New South Wales justice system: the case of victim impact statements
Source James Cook University Law Review, Vol. 13, pp. 125-152, 2006
Date 2006
Document type Journal article
Coverage NSW, Australia
URL http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/jamcook13&div=10&g_sent=1& collection= journals
Summary This article examines the position of victim impact statements (VIS) in NSW, in the light of reforms for crime victims, particularly in 1996. In NSW the tenure of a VIS is discretionary when provided by the primary victim but mandatory in regards to family victims. However the limitations placed on the use of family statements of homicide victims restrict victim agency in the criminal justice system. The author discusses R v Privitera which ruled that a VIS by a family member could not be taken into account in the sentence imposed, and following case examples, including the precedent value of R v Slack. It is argued that VISs are important, as a source of information as to offence seriousness and offender culpability, and of therapeutic benefit. The issue of cross examination and unsworn statements is considered as the author discusses the sentencing principle, that facts in aggravation must be established beyond reasonable doubt
Keywords Victim impact statements; criminal justice system; sentencing; limitations; participation
Topic Victim impact statements