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Why copy states?

Why copy states?

Your editorial ("Issues of justice in Porritt case", August 9, pg6) quotes shadow attorney-general Bill Stefaniak in criticising the sentence given to Glen Porritt, saying that sentencing in the ACT "needs to be in line with what happens interstate".

I don’t understand this obsession in the ACT with copying what other states do. It has always been a sign of enlightenment, in my opinion, that Jon Stanhope has refused to engage in the mindless "law and order auction" one sees engaged in elswewhere.

Mr Stefaniak really ought to read the Chief Justice’s short judgement in this case before commenting. It is on the Supreme Court website.

The reality is that the Crown Prosecutor – not defence counsel – handed up a series of cases (called "authorities") from NSW and Victoria which were similar in charge and circumstance and which may give guidance to the sentencing judge when considering his sentence. That is how it is done.

When one reads those authorities, lo and behold, every single one of them has imposed a shorter non-parole sentence than that imposed by the Chief Justice on Porritt.

Jennifer Saunders, barrister and solicitor and CLA member, Canberra City
Letter to the Editor Canberra Times 12 August 2008

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