Jurisic

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Citation: Jurisic (1998) 45 NSWLR 209.

This information can be found in the Textbook: Brown et al, Criminal Laws: Materials and Commentary on Criminal Law and Process in New South Wales, (5th edition, Federation Press, 2011), or here.

Contents

Background facts

  • The Defendant [Jurisic] was charged on three counts of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm.
  • He had numerous serious driving offences on his record, and he was driving under the influence of drugs at the time.
  • He received a pretty lenient sentence initially which was altered on appeal.

Legal issues

Judgement

  • There is tension between maintaining flexibility in the exercise of discretion, and ensuring consistency in sentencing.
  • The English courts have a habit of handing down 'guideline judgments', in which the Court formulates general principles regarding sentencing to be followed (sometimes including appropriate ranges) for cases of similar fact scenarios or the same 'class' of cases. This ensures consistency.
  • Guidelines have always been a part of the law, but giving them a formal title of 'Guideline Judgments' ensure they will not be overlooked.
  • Such guidelines are to be indicative only; not binding precedents.
  • The critical difference between statutory and judicial guidelines is the flexibility of the latter.
  • This is important, because inconsistency is a form of injustice.
  • Guideline judgments are a method for structuring discretion, rather than restricting discretion.
  • In this case, after examining the statistics, the sentence initially handed down was woefully lenient. The Court of Appeal's harsher sentence is upheld.

References

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