Dicey (1835‐1922) encouraged three characteristics of the rule of law. The first is that the law applies equally to all in society; nobody is above the law. The second is that nobody is subject to punishment except for a definite breach of the law as determined by the courts. The third is that the courts are independent and not subject to political interference or control in making their decisions. (Thomas 2000, p.94) Thomas, G. (2000) Introduction to Political Philosophy. Duckworth: London.
Discretion refers to applying the same amount of consideration to all individuals. Therefore, If victims have a say in sentencing it is unfair as it is influenced by emotions and goes against dicey’s rule of law. Victims, however, do have the option for an impact statement in NSW. A Victim Impact Statement is a statement that centres around the impact of the crime upon the victim. They have been widely heralded as a means of promoting victim involvement in criminal court decisionmaking and of increasing victim satisfaction with the justice system.davis RC (1994) Victim impact statements allow the impact of the crime to be shown rather than to increase a sentence. It is important to ensure that the victim has a role in the trial and is able to tell their truth without it having to become a play to seek vengeance if they were to have a say in the sentence.
Victims having a say in sentencing could act as an outlet for their rage, pain and want for revenge. They would then let their emotions influence the sentence and perhaps provide a longer sentence than what was necessary, therefore being an unfair sentencing as their opinions can never be objective and are solely based on revenge. Revenge has no place when it comes to the justice system and utilising Dicey’s rule of law as it is biased and act as a means to start feuds.
The Rule of Law and Justice refer to being impartial and fair, incorporating the victim’s voice goes against the meaning of justice. Judges should be the sole voice in the length and type of punishment, they should also receive extra opinions from other judges for a more fair outcome. If victims held the power in sentencing, it would result in overfilled prisons and unfair imprisonment. Victims do not acquire the levels of education judges endures to get to their position of power and obtain such knowledge on the law.
There would be no need for judges if the victims had a say. Letting the victim have a say in deciding punishment is still unacceptable as they will inevitably make irrational decisions when sentencing and the life of the offender will be in the hands of the victim. If the victim unfairly decides a longer sentence than needed for a crime not major, it would mean that not only with the offender spend time behind bars, but when they get out they would live the rest of their life known as a criminal, blocking all life opportunities. It is also unaffected to give the victim a say as when stating their side, it can bring to traumatise them once again, inevitably influencing the sentence, in which is unfair. Although giving victims a say would increase victims’ satisfaction, enhance the prospects of reconciliation and provide a more effective means of restitution and reparation. Morris A (1993), it is still not enough to act as a legitimate reason for them to hold the power.