The criminal law proceedings

On the contrary, the accessibility to the law and equality was not consistent for Michael Guider, in comparison to Samantha and also the Crown who were prosecuting. In accessibility to the law, Samantha was disadvantaged due to the crime that took place. She had no access to the law. In terms of cost, Guider, an inmate at Lithgow gaol, would not have had the same finances available as the DPP. He therefore would not have the same choice of lawyer, and may have settled with one less capable of presenting than Crown lawyer.

The knowledge of those involved in the court process was quite equal, as all parties had been to court for matters before and all were educated. The duration of the court case between the trial and the sentencing was not entirely fair to Samantha's family and quite indifferent for Guider. Guider was already in maximum security prison and he pleaded guilty, so there was no unnecessary remand. Finally, the recognition of the individual's rights under the law was not just or fair to the victim and her family.

As Samantha was presumably was killed, and the whereabouts of her body is still unknown, she was unable to fulfil any of the rights a victim has in a case, such as giving an oral victim impact statement. Nor was she able to be protected from the accused. However, for the accused, Michael Guider, the law worked favourably for him. He was allowed to remain silent, and not divulge any information he did not want to, even though it is thought that much of this evidence would have been pivotal to the case. Also, none of his background information, such as his 77 acts of sexual abuse, was mentioned until after the verdict was read.

For society, Guider's incapacitation prevents him from re-offending, and the safety of the general public is at less risk. This case can also be evaluated in terms of society's: reflection of community attitudes, balancing the rights and values of the individual and community, and resource efficiency. Statistically, the sentence and duration of imprisonment Guider is faced with for the charge is severe. However, its severity reflects the nature of community values. Statements made by the community regarding the 17 year sentence, "they should bring back capital punishment" suggest that the Judge's decision could even be called lenient.

In this aspect, criminal law does not reflect the attitude of the citizens it governs. On the other hand, the balance of the individuals and community's rights against the law does not stay poised. In law, the accused does not have to voluntarily divulge any information, and this was the avenue Michael Guider took in his trial regarding the whereabouts of Samantha's body. This individual's right conflicts under the law with the community's and family's right, to know the truth. This fault in the law leaves Samantha's family, 16 years later, still not able to bury their daughter.

Resource efficiency is another aspect under which the community suffers in the criminal justice process. For the 17 years that Guider will be kept in gaol, it will cost the taxpayers of Australia $850 000 so he can continue his full sentence. However, it will save Australians $250 000 if he is to be released at the end of the 12 year non parole period. In this aspect there is a clash of morals and finance. In conclusion, Australia's Criminal Justice System is effective in punishing the offender, Michael Guider; however it does not adequately deal with the rest of the community, nor the victim.

Guider's sentence is justice for his actions, however, it does not compensate for the emotional loss felt by the victim's family, nor the financial drain on the community his imprisonment entails. Case Study Two: "Former Bulldogs player sentenced for indecent assault" SMH 6/11/03 This article displays another aspect of criminal law, also at a lesser degree. On June 22 2002, former NRL player Darrell Trindall of club, Canberra Bulldogs assaulted long-time friend Kelly Robb at inner city night spot "Scruffy Murphys.

" He grabbed her breasts, held her in a headlock, and repeatedly punched her in the face in front of crowds of people causing bruising to the ear and face. According to the police statement, when Ms Robb told him she was going to take the matter to the people, he said: "I'm a first grade footballer. Who are they going to believe, you or me? " Darrell was brought to court in August this year. Like case study one, this article explores a crime against a person, however, assault is classified as a summary offence and was therefore heard in the local court by a Magistrate.

The police were the prosecution in the case against Trindall, and had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Trindall was guilty of one charge of indecent assault, and another assault occasioning bodily harm. The Actus Reus of common assaults is an attempt or act with force and violence to do harm to another by the actual application of such force. Darren Trindall committed as well as openly admitting to the act of violence, grabbing Kelly's breasts, and punching her repeatedly. The Mens rea of common assault is normally an intention to do the acts constituting the assault.

In this case the Mens Rea that needed to be proven concerned the deliberate battery of Kelly Robb. The causation was the assault occasioning bodily harm which the defendant admitted to. In the trial, the only defence that Darrell used and could have used was that of intoxication. Intoxication is a partial defence and refers to being under the influence of alcohol and the subsequent altering of perception which results from the alcohol. In cases of assault, the accepted complete defences are self defence, and justification of normal incidents such as pushing in a crowded train, affecting a lawful arrest and the domestic discipline of a child.

Consent is a difficult defence to deal with in assault, as the term assault infers no consent. However for Darrell, none of these defences applied in the slightest. The difficulties both the defendant and the victim faced in dealing with the criminal justice system involve status, publicity and trust. Darrell's status in the rugby league and the wider community involved hardships for Kelly as well as himself. Public opinion formed implying she was trying to gain publicity for her own endeavours through the case. Darrell on the other hand faced ordeals with the media following his every move, making the case more difficult to deal with.

Darrell would have also faced difficulties in trusting the justice system. He would have had to think very carefully before choosing barristers and a legal team, as not to choose one who will sell his story and break the privacy issues associated with his case. The case was brought before Magistrate Gail Madgwick at Downing Centre Local Court on November 6, 2003. Magistrate Madgwick sentenced him to 12 months jail for the indecent assault, suspended on condition of good behaviour. Darrell Trindall pleaded guilty to the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm, and subsequently he was ordered to perform 300 hours of community service.

Trindall was also told to undergo counselling for alcohol abuse as part of his sentence. This suspended imprisonment and community service work was sentenced as to work as a deterrence and rehabilitation. It is hoped that Trindall will not commit such acts again, and is encouraged to behave due to the sentence being suspended. The Alcohol rehabilitation aims to change his behaviour, and make his criminal activity cease. In evaluating this punishment and the criminal justice system, again there are two perspectives that must be accounted for, that of the individual, and of society. For Trindall and for Ms.

Robb, enforceability, equality and the recognition of the rights of an individual are the aspects the criminal justice system can be evaluated on. For Trindall, his punishment is easily enforceable to a certain extent. He must attend the community service so that aspect is enforceable; however the alcohol rehabilitation was only a recommendation. He is not obliged to actually take part in the program. Due to his status in the community though, it is highly advisable that he does so. Also, if he re-offends, he must be caught doing so, if there are no eye witnesses, then he will not be sent to gaol.

Equality is apparent for both the victim and the accused in this case. In the court process, both were treated equally being given the right to get legal representation. Kelly's being the police prosecution. In the sentence given to Trindall, there was no plea bargaining observed, and therefore the offence was not downgraded, which is just and fair to the victim. Finally, the recognition of the rights of the victim and the accused were taken into consideration in the court process. Ms Robb was able to give an oral victim impact statement, have her allegation investigated, and be protected from Trindall before and during the trial.

The sentence handed down was what she had hoped for as a victim, and her rights were provided for through the criminal justice system. As the accused, Darrell was never illegally searched, never detained before arrest, and he did not face any illegally obtained evidence in use against him during the court procedure. The punishment still allows him to play rugby league and rebuild his life while paying for his actions with the community service and the knowledge that a similar incident will leave him in gaol.

From the other perspective, reflection on community attitudes, and balancing individual's rights and communities rights and values, encompass society's evaluation of this case and the criminal justice system. The punishment administered to Trindall, mostly reflected the community's attitudes. Like the previous case, many believed that the punishment should have been more severe. However, the law as well as upholding the beliefs of the nation, must encapsulate some thought into the economy.

The attitude from many citizens that taxes are already too high, and when the statistics about the cost of keeping prisoners in gaol is presented to them, they can reflect on this case and see how beneficial the sentence actually is. A balance of the individual's and community rights in our criminal justice system is also viewed through this case. It is a widely accepted belief that because of high status a more lenient sentence will be given. However, this is not true as seen in Trindall's sentence. This sentence is one that is commonly given to those convicted of assault.

The community and other individuals are not disadvantaged in terms of their lower status in the community. To conclude, the media coverage of this case held a pivotal role in society's evaluation of the punishment. Trindall as a 1st grade rugby player holds high status in Australian society, and therefore the community believed that the penalty must deter others from committing the same crime, and tell the younger generations that assault is not acceptable. Statistically, the punishment is more severe than normally given, however this supports society's need for deterrence of assault.

This punishment was adequate in reflecting community values. For the individuals involved, Ms. Robb and Trindall, the criminal justice system dealt with Trindall accordingly. His punishment provided Ms. Robb with the knowledge that if he recommits he will be convicted and sent to gaol. The punishment provides Trindall with retribution for his actions, as well as rehabilitation for his alcohol problem. The criminal justice system has implemented a just and fair sentence for the individuals involved and society as a whole, and therefore an effective punishment for the crime.