Victim impact statements and the Previtera Rule

delimiting the voice and representation of family victims in NSW homicide cases

Tyrone Kirchengast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A significant line of authority currently prohibits the consideration of family victim impact statements in NSW homicide cases. R v Previtera (1997) 94 A Crim R 76 makes this prohibition on the basis that family statements jeopardise a court's objectivity by according greater value to the life of the deceased than would otherwise be conferred where no statement is tendered. In such cases, an impact statement must be received by a sentencing court but must not considered, as part of an offender's sentence. However, the relevance of Previtera has been questioned on the basis that the views of family members may be relevant to s3A(g) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), concerning the broader circumstances of the offence, such as the harm done to the community. This article examines the relevance of family victims to the constitution of harm in homicide cases, and as a result, whether the rule for which Previtera is now authority, is in need of revision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-142
Number of pages29
JournalUniversity of Tasmania law review
Volume24
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • Victim Impact Statements; Sentencing; Homicide

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