JSB173 Week 6 Revision
The Criminal Courts
The role of the criminal court is to determine the guilt or innocence of those accused
of infringing criminal law and where guilt has been determined, to impose
punishment in accordance with sentencing law and practice.
The philosophical underpinnings of our modern justice system emerged after the
industrial revolution, a time when the Due Process Model was idealised.
The Due Process Model is concerned with accuracy and reliability of information and
the protection of individual rights especially rights to liberty. In practice this means:
o Presumed innocent until proven guilty
o Receive a fair trial
o Be treated equally regardless of economic position
o State officials should be monitored so they do not misuse their power
Levels of Offences in Australia
o Most serious offence. Dealt with in intermediate and higher courts.
Indictable offences dealt with Summarily
o Mid range in seriousness. Dealt with in lower courts.
o Least serious level of offence. Dealt with in lower courts.
Levels of Courts in Australia
o When a person pleads guilty in a lower court, the magistrate can sentence
them to a maximum of two years imprisonment.
o When a person pleads guilty in a higher court, the judge can sentence them
to the statutory maximum imprisonment.
Around 80% of people will plead guilty.
Guilty pleas are in most cases the result of plea bargaining, in which the prosecutors
attempt to induce the accused into admitting guilt in exchange for reduction of