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LAWS 2301 (138)

5 Victim experiences.docx

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LAWS 2301
Diana Young

Victim experiences Crime and victims - Offences committed against the state and not individuals • Criminal cases- R v. Smith (usually “R”, for Regina, aka Queen) - Not usually there to provide satisfaction for individual victims/people - Concern of the public is the main point of the Crown, not the individual victims - In England, people who were affected by a criminal offence, would seek redress through acts of revenge or civil manners - Same people say that a large reason we have a CJS, is to place limits on people’s impulse (desire for vengeance) - Idea of crime against King’s Peace first arose in medieval times, usually acts of treason - In the past, in England, people would prosecute crimes on their own - Development of a professional full time police force • In modern day, we don’t have the burden of having to prosecute the person who wronged you  Bad side is that victims have become minor players - Criminal prosecutions more concerned with public safety - The state has stolen “ownership of the dispute” from victims (Nils Christie) • Victims feel alienated, as though they don’t even matter - From Crown’s perspective, they need witnesses, which are often the victims - Victim does exercise agency in whether or not to report a crime • Only 30% of crimes are reported • Crimes like B&E and auto theft are reported much more regularly  Big reason is being able to make insurance claims  Even more so than theft and fraud - Less likely to report crimes such as sexual abuse, domestic assault, and rape - Once you report the crime, you have no control over what happens afterwards • Do not have any control over how a case is prosecuted either • Do not have the right to block a plea bargain • Can only answer questions asked to you • Goal of crown prosecutor is to get a conviction. Not concerned with what you want out of the process as a victim • Sometimes cross-examination can be quite traumatic. They try to elicit an answer that makes you look bad • This is the kind of thing that victims of crime find upsetting - Victims’rights groups want to have agency • Most success is in the post conviction • Victim involvement is an issue because: • There must be a presumption of innocence  Victims are emotionally involved  Can’t expect a victim to be impartial - People let out on bail because they have not been proven guilty yet - Crown attorney are not victim advocates, but they do make sure justice is served - 3 stages where victims have more input: • Plea negotiations  The crown policy manual in Ontario contains a requirement that crowns consult about plea negotiations, and that they should take into account the
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