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Balancing the rights The purpose of balancing the rights of victims, offenders and society is to create equality within

the legal system so that victims of a crime feel they have been justified, offenders are punished accordingly to their situation and so society feels safe. Factors that affect the balancing of rights are, police powers, plea and charge negotiation, and the role of victims in sentencing. Police powers are governed by statues such as the law enforcement (powers and responsibilities act) 2002 NSW. Under this act police are given certain powers such as the right to detain and question subjects, search property and seize evidence, arrest and interrogate suspects, and to use reasonable force if necessary. Police powers such as the right to use reasonable force if necessary, is criticised because of the loop holes that can be made and used by police as there is no specific definition of reasonable force. An article by the Sydney morning herald Taser abuse covered up by police gives evidence that although there are restrictions and legislation to balance the powers police have against society, in many cases the balance doesnt exist and police use excessive power, this excessive use of power is evident in a situation where a compliant man was repeatedly tasered even though he was surrounded by a riot squad, the tasering of the man was then explained as reasonable force by the officers. Tasers have only assisted in reducing attacks on police by 24% and civil libertarians protest against the use of them referring to tasers as an abuse of power. The idea that police have the power to justify their actions as reasonable because they cannot predict what situation they will come across, leaves society in danger of being wronged against by the authorities that are meant to protect them. The fear of police members therefore removes the balance of rights that police, offenders and society are meant to have. Plea and charge negotiations are used to gain a quick conviction and sentencing of a criminal. However the negations made usually end up with the accused being charged with a lesser sentence. Using plea and charge negotiations to convict criminals can result in decreased cost and time delays, which is beneficial to the victim, society and the offender. An increase in criminal convictions also results from plea bargaining however this can distort the balance of a victim and offenders rights as in some cases a crime may go unpunished, or the admitted crime will be insufficiently punished. As well as that, in some cases an accused may plead guilty to a crime they did not commit due to pressure and manipulation of the circumstances they face.

The Sydney Morning Herald article top judge outraged by plea bargain deals. Outlines the neglect the DPP has had towards the right of victims. In the case of Milutinovic, an abundance of evidence was gathered to charge him with kidnapping and attempted murder of his former girlfriend. However the DPP had offered reduced charges to Milutinovic if he pleaded guilty so that the case could be heard in a local court. The offer of a lesser charge in a case where there was a high amount of evidence to prove Milutinovic guilty beyond reasonable doubt, gives evidence to the fact that many victims may not receive closure or justice because their attackers are given the allowance of a majorly lesser charge. This therefore highlights a riff in the balance of the victims right to justification and the offenders right to a fair trial.

Victim impact statements are voluntary statements written about the impact a crime has had on the victim. The statements are only permitted for serious offences involving violence, death or any harm to a person. Presented after the offender is found guilty the impact statements allow the victim to have an impact on sentencing as well as gain a feeling of justice and peace. The victims right act 1996 contains the charter that allowed victim impact statements to be made in court. The statements balance the right of a victim to present to the court the effect the crime has had on them, however because it takes place after the accused if found guilty it also balances the right of the offender by allowing the jury to be un-biased during sentencing. However there are arguments that in the trial of a murder case, family members that read victim impact statements can largely affect a sentence based on whether they loved their family member more or less. Others state that family members who read victim impact statements are given instant relief by being able to express their grief and aggravation. The impact statements can also positively affect the right the offender has to rehabilitation and can in some cases be a confronting experience for the offender. It is clear that in some cases the rights of victims, offenders and society can be seen as neglected, however the legal system is constantly making changes to create and support an equal balance between all parties involved in decisions made by the legal system. As is evident in the introduction and use of victim impact statements.