- Recent amendments to the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 have made it easier for a court to take into account a victim impact statement given by a family member of a deceased victim of crime
- Relatives of deceased victims face the possibility of being cross examined about the content of their victim impact statements, and offenders will potentially be prejudiced by the introduction of subjective material as a factor to be considered in determining sentence
Recent amendments to the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (“the Act”) have made a significant change to the sentencing process in cases where the victim died as a result of the offence. The amendments make it possible for a victim impact statement given by a family member of the deceased to be taken into account in determining the quantum of sentence. In doing so, the legislation has overturned the decision in R v Previtera (1997) 94 A Crim R 76, which held that it is not appropriate to take a statement of that nature into account in determining the sentence to be imposed on an offender. This article provides an overview of the current state of the law in NSW with respect to victim impact statements, and examines how the amendments will affect their use in certain cases.