Virtual You be the Judge Intentionally Causing Serious Injury Script

Intentionally Causing Serious Injury

Offender: Dane (County Court)

Page 2 (Having clicked on Dane)

Video – Dane sits outside on a porch and describes the circumstances of his offence.

Dane says:

“I live in a small country town. It’s one of those places where everybody knows each other.

“Well, I got to the party about 4:30 in the afternoon. It was at my cousin’s house. Lots of my family and friends were there. Everybody was having a great time.

“Later that night I went out the front and saw Victor peeing in the garden. It was my auntie’s garden, you know, she really loved that garden. So he turns around, totally pissed off his head, starts swearing at me pushing me, really hard like he wants to have a go.

“So I got in first and gave him one to the head. He fell over, but kept mouthing off at me, so I gave him a few more to the head. That shut him up.

“I went back inside and left him to sleep it off. Someone called an ambulance hours later ’cause he was unconscious.

“I didn’t mean to hurt him that bad, you know? I was just trying to scare him away from there. I didn’t mean to put him in hospital or anything like that.”

Instructions

Page 3 (Having clicked take on the case)

Video of Dane in an interview room.

Voice over:

Dane has been convicted of intentionally causing serious injury. This crime carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.

As the judge, you must consider:

  • The purposes for sentencing Dane:
    • Does he need to be punished for what he’s done?
    • What are his prospects of rehabilitation?
    • Is he a threat to the community?
    • And is there a chance he will do something like this again?
  • Then you will have to consider many other factors to do with Dane’s background, prior convictions, and any previous aggressive behaviour.

Instructions

To find out more about sentencing options, click on the button, or select continue…

Page 4 (Having clicked to find out more)

A pop-up window describes the purposes of sentencing and sentencing factors.

Voice over:

Here are some more things to keep in mind while sentencing.

Text:

Purposes of sentencing

The only purposes for which a sentence can be imposed are:

  • Just punishment
  • Specific and general deterrence
  • Rehabilitation
  • Denunciation
  • To protect the community from the offender.

Sentencing factors

A judge must take into account these factors when sentencing:

  • Maximum penalty and current sentencing practice
  • Nature and gravity of the offence
  • Offender’s responsibility and culpability and previous character
  • If the offence was motivated by hatred or prejudice
  • Impact of the offence on any victim
  • Plea of guilty
  • Aggravating and mitigating factors.

Page 5 (Having clicked continue on page 3)

Image of a courtroom, with the prosecutor and defence lawyers at the bar table, and Dane in the interview room, all ready to answer the questions listed below their pictures.

Voice over:

To find out more, click on a question. You will need to ask at least four questions to move on, but the more you ask, the more informed your sentencing will be.

Page 5a (Defence lawyer – first question: “Did he plead guilty or not guilty?”)

Video of defence lawyer speaking to the judge, answering question 1.

Defence counsel:

“Dane pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, Your Honour. He has taken full responsibility for his actions.”

Page 5b (Defence lawyer – second question: “Why did he hit Victor?”)

Video of defence lawyer speaking to the judge, answering question 2.

Defence counsel:

“Your honour, this assault was not premeditated. It occurred in the heat of the moment. Dane turned himself in to the police as soon as he found out the victim had been hospitalised. He was fully co-operative with the investigators and is a young man of good character.”

Page 5c (Defence lawyer – third question: “Has Dane shown any remorse?”)

Video of defence lawyer speaking to the judge, answering question 3.

Defence counsel:

“My client is very remorseful for his actions. He has even offered to assist with payment of the victim’s ongoing medical expenses.”

Page 5d (Dane – first question: “Do you have a job?”)

Video of Dane in interview answering question 1.

Dane says:

“I like living in the country. I work in the sports shop at the mall. I’ve been there for quite a while. Things have been going really well so they’ve even got me being a manager on the weekend.”

Page 5e (Dane – second question: “Was Victor a friend of yours?”)

Video of Dane in interview answering question 2.

Dane says:

“I’d seen him around. He’s not a friend or anything. I think he used to be my auntie’s daughter’s boyfriend, or something.”

Page 5f (Dane – third question: “How has your family reacted to this?”)

Video of Dane in interview answering question 3.

Dane says:

“I’ve lived here with my Mum and Dad since I was 10. Mum is really community-minded. She didn’t want people to be upset because of what happened, so she’s been doing a lot of stuff around town.

Page 5g (Prosecutor – first question: “Has he committed any other crimes?”)

Video of the prosecutor speaking to the judge, answering question 1.

Prosecutor says:

“Mr Rhodes is 23 years old. He has one prior juvenile conviction. When he was 17, he was charged with assault arising from a brawl at the local football club. On this occasion your Honour, Mr Rhodes was placed on a good behaviour bond.

Page 5h (Prosecutor – second question: “What sentences were recently given for similar crimes?”)

Video of the prosecutor speaking to the judge, answering question 2.

Prosecutor says:

“For an offence like this, in recent years, more than 25% of people sentenced did not receive a period of imprisonment. A non-custodial sentence would be considered appropriate in a case such as this.”

Page 5i (Prosecutor – third question: “What injuries does the victim have?”)

Video of the prosecutor speaking to the judge, answering question 3.

Prosecutor says:

“Your honour, Mr Rhodes left his victim lying unconscious in a garden for nearly 3 hours. The effects of the assault on the victim were severe. Upon being taken to hospital it was discovered that the victim had a large subdural haematoma, a frontal intra-cerebral haematoma and was in need of emergency surgery.

Page 6 (Victim Impact Statement)

Picture of part of a Victim Impact Statement.

Voice over:

Judges also need to consider the effect of the crime on the victims. This is part of a Victim Impact Statement.

Voice over and text on screen:

“They took me to hospital and I had to have emergency surgery to drain the blood from my brain. They had to remove part of my skull.

“I made a good recovery after the operation, but sometimes I can’t get my words out right and I can’t move around as well as I used to.

“It’s really changed my life, I haven’t been able to work since it happened, but I should be able to get back to doing something soon.”

Page 7 (Having clicked continue – how to select a sentence)

Picture of the offender and a choice of sentences to choose from. They include imprisonment, community correction order, and fine.

Voice over:

This crime has a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment. Which type of sentence would you choose?

Instructions

How to select a sentence:

  • Cursor over sentence for more information
  • Select the sentence which best fits the crime
  • Next you will have to select how long the sentence will be.

Imprisonment – most severe sentence. Offender loses freedom and is held in prison. Maximum 20 years.

Page 8a (Having selected imprisonment)

Picture of a sentence length sliding scale. Choose the length of imprisonment from between six months and 20 years.

Instructions

How to select how long:

  1. Use the slider to select how long the sentence will be
  2. Then click continue.

Community correction order – a community correction order combines supervision with conditions that can include unpaid community work, treatment programs and curfews. Maximum 20 years.

Page 8b (Having selected community correction order)

Picture of a sentence length sliding scale. Choose the length of the community correction order from between six months and a maximum of 20 years.

Instructions

How to select how long:

  1. Use the slider to select how long the sentence will be
  2. Then click continue.

Fine – The maximum fine for this offence is 2,400 penalty units. Fines are penalties of money that the offender must pay. The value of a fine is called a penalty unit. One penalty unit is roughly equal to $140, although the actual amount increases slightly every year.

Page 8c (Having selected fine)

Picture of a sliding scale indicating amount of fine. Choose the amount of the fine between one unit and 2,400 units.

Instructions

How to select how much:

  1. Use the slider to select how much the fine will be
  2. Then click continue.

Page 9 (Having selected a sentence)

Video of Dane standing in the dock to hear his sentence from the judge.

Judge’s sentence and comments:

“Could you now please stand. You have good prospects for rehabilitation, because you are young and have steady employment.

“You ought not to be sent to prison for this offence if it can be avoided. I note that you have a prior conviction for an offence of violence. However, I do not place too much weight on this, as the assault charge resulted from a large group brawl and was some five years ago.

“I have read and taken into account the Victim Impact Statement.

“I am impressed by the evidence given by your mother, who has sought to work through any ill feelings with the local town community.

“I order that you be sentenced to a 12 month community correction order, the first six months of which I set as an intensive compliance period.”

Instructions

Voice over:

Sentencing is complex; there’s a lot to take into account. Would you like to take on another case?

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