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Comparing legal and lay assessments of relevant sentencing factors for sex offences in Australia


Warner, K and Bartels, L and Gelb, K and Davis, J and Spiranovic, C, Comparing legal and lay assessments of relevant sentencing factors for sex offences in Australia, Criminal Law Journal, 45, (1) pp. 57-74. ISSN 0314-1160 (2021) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2021 Criminal Law Journal


There is an expanding body of research measuring public perceptions of the criminal justice system's responses to offenders in general and sex offenders in particular. However, less is known about public attitudes to the factors that the law classifies as aggravating, mitigating or merely neutral. This article presents key findings from the National Jury Sentencing Study, which sought to address this gap in knowledge in the case of sex offences using two groups: 343 jurors who had returned a guilty verdict; and 149 members of the public called for jury service who were not selected for a trial. The study shows that, in general, the public's intuitive views of sentencing factors are well-aligned with judicial sentencing practice a finding that contradicts the stereotypical view of the public as particularly punitive towards sex offenders. Some differences in views on factors such as good character and absence of remorse did appear and potential responses to this divergence are discussed.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sentencing factors, sex offences, Australia, public attitudes, jurors, judicial sentencing practice
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Legal systems
Research Field:Legal institutions (incl. courts and justice systems)
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Criminal justice
UTAS Author:Warner, K (Professor Kate Warner)
UTAS Author:Spiranovic, C (Dr Caroline Spiranovic)
ID Code:143535
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2021-03-23
Last Modified:2022-05-13
Downloads:39 View Download Statistics

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