I am Celina Delaney, I’m 18 and this year I am in the fortunate position of being involved in the YMCA NSW Youth Parliament program, as a youth member of the Legislative Council. I’m in the committee investigating Justice, Juvenile Justice and Policing.
As a part of this program, I have the unique opportunity to conduct a petition to present in state parliament next Monday if I receive enough support in the form of signatures.
So my petition is about community representation at all levels. Whether it is soft, inadequate sentencing from judges or lenient decisions made by the State Parole Board; the community deserve, they have a right, to have more say and more involvement in the decision of who has the freedom of walking on our streets. Why are there 69 convicted murderers free from gaol? Why are there nearly 300 sex offenders walking on our streets?
The Judicial Commission, an independent body, functions to:
- Ensure sentencing is consistent amongst all judges
- Receives complaints and decides whether further action is necessary.
It is comprised of 6 official members whom are the ‘heads of jurisdiction of the State’s five courts and the President of the Court of appeal’ and 4 members whom are ‘a legal practitioner and the other three are persons of high standing’ (Judicial Commission of NSW). While it’s good to have these highly acclaimed and learned people; Judges, Professors and Doctors on the panel, the common people need to be represented; people from rotary, the red-cross, Salvation Army or the CWA. The normal people who are confronted such issues like drive-by shootings, hoodlum gangs in the street or criminals who are receiving soft sentencing by judges and who are talking to one another outraged.
Are the judges really acting in the interests of our community?
- Then why was a man able to sexual offend and violently attack 20 people, knock a man unconscious and rape and kill innocent Jill Meagher? Why did this man have freedom? Why was he not locked behind bars?
- The recent Hunter’s Hill incident; people may say that the man who attempted to rape and stab this lady had been given a tough sentence of 22 years when he murdered a young girl but the forensic psychologist clearly determined he was going to reoffend again all the way back in 1990. Did the judge disregard this? Shouldn’t the judge have accountability to the recent attempted rape?
It shouldn’t take these horrific incidents to occur to trigger the discussion and debate of poor decisions made by judges and the State Parole Board. The community interests are obviously not being met if all these current reviews are necessary.
It is evident that there should be more representation from community groups and the general population in society. There are many decisions being made by people that do not represent the interests of the community. I would like your support to sign my petition to enable me the opportunity to represent the people who are the salt of the earth, people at grassroots level, people like you and me. Then I will be able to present this petition and my solutions to this issue, in State Parliament next week.
I believe more representation from the community groups should be given to judicial reviews, which I suggest should be done on a 5 year basis.
I want to ensure a balanced, cross-section of people have a say in the sentencing of criminals.
The Review panel on judges' performances petition to 1000 was written by Celina Delaney and is in the category Justice at GoPetition.