Day-To-Day Realities of Criminal Proceedings in the Downing Centre Local Courts

1417 WordsJul 13, 20186 Pages
Introduction Empirical research consisting of simple observation of the day-to-day realities of criminal proceedings in the Downing Centre Local Courts, and the completion of systematic fieldwork notes intends to address the complex nature of justice. With specific regard to the operation of the local court system and its key players, the impact of the criminal justice system on those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged and particularly those without legal representation, and the issue of whether justice is achieved. The discussion of whether justice is achieved will draw upon…show more content…
The duration of each case varied between over four hours, for the complex hearing of a malicious damage of property case to between two and three minutes for cases that were adjourned, held over or involved various motor vehicle offences. Only half of the cases had no legal representation. A guilty pleaded was entered in three of the cases, self-defence was pleaded in the malicious damage of property case, not guilty was pleaded in one of the cases related to motor vehicle offences while in one the adjourned cases a plea was not entered. Discussion The issue of legal representation or lack thereof, as was demonstrated in the results, differs from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research 2010 findings that 59.7% of persons charged in NSW Local Courts had legal representation. Despite this significant difference in statistical measurement, 9.7%, case by case observation revealed that all three of the cases without legal representation entered guilty pleas. Hence illustrating the implications of Dietrich v The Queen (1992) in that in Australia there is “no right to legal representation at

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