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Due process before comment: NSW LS

Due process before comment: NSW LS

MAKING GOOD on its promise to keep tabs on the “law-and-order auction”, the Law Society of NSW has warned that accusing magistrates of lenient sentencing risks undermining confidence…

MAKING GOOD on its promise to keep tabs on the “law-and-order auction”, the Law Society of NSW has warned that accusing magistrates of lenient sentencing risks undermining confidence in the legal system.

“Often our politicians publicly criticise magistrates and their sentencing decisions for political mileage. But such criticism is harmful to the independence of the judiciary,” Law Society president June McPhie said.

McPhie pointed to the low number of appeals by the Director of Public Prosecutions against soft sentences as an indicator that sentences were generally adequate.

“In 2005 approximately 300,000 criminal cases were settled by magistrates in New South Wales. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) questioned the leniency of the sentence in less than 1 per cent of these cases.

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