- Provide a background report to the Court in relationship Justin’s sentencing hearing.
- Provide a succinct information on the case before the court in which you outline Justin’s background, any long-standing issues in relationship to Justin, your assessment of his likelihood to reoffend and prospects for rehabilitation. Your role is
as ‘a friend to the Court’ to assist the Judge to make their decision. Information provided by you will need to be relevant to the Judge’s decision-making processes.
Assessment 2: Demonstration of Skills
Background report to the Court in relationship to Justin’s sentencing hearing
The main background report to the court in relationship with Justin’s sentencing hearing is that it is a violent murder, but unplanned in nature. According to Australian criminal law, the accused person is considered to be innocent until the person is proven guilty. Here, Justin is accused of murder, which constitutes killing of an individual with the direct intention of doing so, along with the understanding of the circumstances. Moreover, it has also been observed that Justin cannot be considered directly involved in the murder because Justin is responsible only for the punch, which makes Joe hit the ground and die.
As the role of a social worker is to help the judges and juries in giving appropriate judgement and to ensure any individual do not get punishment which is more severe than the level of crime they committed. According to the Australian court of law, a murder, or a culpable homicide is a planned murder, where an individual is murdered by another perpetrator, and previously planned. However, in this case, Justin had not intentionally killed Joe, and there is also no evidence that Joe has died just because of being hit by Justin, and therefore, Justin should not be tried for a murder trial. Along with that, according to Victorian law, the court always considers the fact that every individual is innocent until proven guilty, and in this regard, the relationship between Justin and Joe also signifies that they were good friends, and therefore, Justin would never intentionally perpetrate the crime of murder against him.
In the context of Justin’s hearing in the supreme court of Victoria being accused of murdering Joe, one of his classmates it is inappropriate to punish Justin as a planned murderer. Section 19A of the Crime Act (1900) states that people accused of planned murders should be punished with the penalties like the imprisonment of a standardized non-parole period of 20 years, lifetime imprisonment etc(Legislation. Act. Gov. AU, 2022). However, the act also states that the punishment must vary according to the level of intensity of the offender to commit the crime and the suffering the victim faced. Moreover, the Crime Act (1900) also states that a person who has not killed any other individual with intention should not be punished in a similar way a planned murderer gets treated(Legislation. Act. Gov. AU, 2022).
The Crime Act (1914) also states that killing another individual as a result of an accident should be considered as involuntary manslaughter, and the consequence of this crime should not be similar to the planned slaughter cases(Legislation.Gov.AU, 2022). Moreover, the Act states that the judges and juries should consider the circumstances of the murder scene before delivering their verdict. Hence, as a friend of the court, it is suggested that the judge might consider the crime committed by Justin as an unfortunate accident for which he should not be punished with the highest level of punishment.
Justin has applied for justice from the court as he thinks the incident took place due to an accident and there was no such intention from his end to kill his own classmate. From the analysis of the case, it is identified that they all were in an intoxicated stage as they were drinking alcohol in a pub while watching a sports match. Justin was upset and furious as the team which he supported was lost. In these circumstances, Joe continued to annoy and irritate him for the loss of the match and provoke him to engage in a fight. In this circumstance, Justin could not keep him cool and hit his friend. Though it was not a right act committed by Justin to punch his friend, it is evident that there was no intention to murder him as a punch cannot be considered as a threat of murder generally. Moreover, the death of Joe was not actually took place due to the punch but the fall on the ground. Joe could not keep his balance and fell to the ground and his head was hit on the floor, which caused his death. Hence, it is identified that the death of Joe was nothing but an accident. It is very common when fights between young adults take place but that does not generally include any intensity to kill each other. Therefore, as a social worker, it suggested that the judge might consider delivering the verdict keeping the fact in mind that the young boy never tried to kill Joe.
Moreover, Justin was intoxicated when the incident happened. Hence, it is identified that he was not in a state of mind to take the right decision. The drunk condition enhanced his aggressiveness resulting in the punch. Hence, it also provides an indication that he did not have a prior plan or intention to kill Joe.
Justin should not be released without punishment as due to his aggressive activity a young life is lost. However, he should be considered as an offender of involuntary manslaughter and should be convicted for a lesser time of imprisonment than a cold-blooded murderer. Moreover, the verdict should be given considering his age. Being very young, it will be unjust for him to be convicted for long, which will ruin his future and life.
Succinct information on the case
Justin was a normal individual, who is at the brim of his youth, or a young adult. Moreover, Justin had issues related to aggression in his life, and along with that, Justin also had issues about alcoholism for a long time. Naturally, it has been observed that in such a situation, Justin had a greater chance of being anxious, and frustrated about his overall condition, and also, his aggressive nature had instigated the fight within the pub at large. However, that does not mean that he would intentionally kill someone, but he is of course responsible for creating the circumstances that had led to Joe’s death.
In this regard, the background Justin is also that he is unemployed, and he had relationship problems prior to the scenario. He was in a relationship with one of his schoolmates, and they had a break-up a few days ago. Naturally, he was really upset, and he was angry over the entire incident, which made him go to the pub to have a few drinks. Moreover, it has also been understood from the entire situation that a fight had started in a drunken condition, which is completely in connection with the development of increased intensity of the attack, which is responsible for his behaviour, and exchange of punches.
Moreover, his aggressive behaviour was since birth because of the separation of his parents during childhood. Naturally, such an incident had left a deep impression on his mind, and he is found to become aggressive with time, which is also observed in several situations during schooldays. Moreover, the recent break-up had increased the intensity of his aggression from all-around ways, which is often responsible for the increase of his aggressive behaviour to a greater extent.
Long-standing issues in relation to Justin
The long-standing issue in his relationship with Justin is understanding the reasons for his aggression, which suddenly made him pick up a fight with others. Moreover, his associated alcoholism and his parental problems since birth have contributed to his aggression. Furthermore, the recent break-up and also his unemployment has contributed to his overall frustration in regards to the entire scenario. In fact, that sudden fight at the pub was the result of his long-standing aggression, and also, his overall problems in getting a lack of proper treatment for his aggression throughout life.
However, he might not be completely responsible for the death of Joe, but partially responsible for the same, mainly due to the fact that he instigated the fight, and continued punching the other group. The continued exchange of punches resulted in Joe falling down, and hitting the concrete floor, which had resulted in his overall death. Along with that, it has also been observed that most of the situations are associated with the creation of his aggression in the overall situation, and his sudden involvement in the fight at large. Hence, as a friend of the judicial system, it is recommended that Justin should be considered as an offender of an unintentional murder and he should not be punished with extreme punishment.
Your assessment of his likelihood to re-offend and prospects for rehabilitation
According to my observation, I might say that there is very less chance that Justin can be a repeat offender in this scenario, because the overall anxiety of prison, and the sudden death of his friend, Joe must have increased his overall difficulty. However, his alcoholism and his aggressive behaviour might not go away all of a sudden, which might have the potential to instigate his aggressive behaviour in the long run. Therefore, instead of punishing Justin or putting him on trial for murder, the best option would be to consider rehabilitation of the person, and also, help him come out of his aggression, and his overall addition, which would help him lead a normal life in the future.
Legislation. Act. Gov. AU. (2022, 02 14). Crimes Act 1900. Retrieved 02 14, 2022, from Legislation. Act. Gov. AU: https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1900-40
Legislation.Gov.AU. (2022, 02 14). Crimes Act 1914. Retrieved 02 14, 2022, from Legislation.Gov.AU: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2021C00127