Integrating a victim perspective in NSW homicide cases
AbstractIn Australia, where a victim dies as a result of an offence, a family victim impact statement may be tendered detailing the trauma occasioned to family members. All states except New South Wales (NSW) allow such statements to be considered during sentencing. Currently, NSW provides for the tenure of such statements but current authority excludes their consideration on the basis that such statements enable the valuing of one life as greater than another. This article discusses the need to reconsider this rule in accordance with recent Australian and international cases indicating the possible relevance of family statements to the sentencing process. This article further considers the need to redress the exclusion of family perspectives on the basis that their inclusion is consistent with policy changes to NSW law and practice in the mid 1990s integrating the victim in key legal proceedings and the justice system more generally.
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