Legal aid - A wealthy person charged with a minor offence could hire an entire legal team in his defense. A person who is less well off may not even be entitled to legal aid. The very nature of our adversarial system promotes inequality. The experience and ability of a legal team is often more important in determining the outcome of a case than the quality of the evidence, especially in jury trials.
Plea - Bargaining - In a recent sexual assault case involving the gang rape of two 16-year-old girl, the DPP entered into plea bargaining with the accused. In return for guilty pleas, the DPP agreed not to mention that a knife had been used in the attack. Thus Plea-bargaining can mean accused gets a lighter sentence than deserved.
The accessibility of the legal system is dependent on;
Cost – legal representation is expensive – (look at legal aid)
Time – lengthy trials cost more and increases anxiety (look at delays)
Denying the accused the right to freedom if on remand.
Damaging the reputation of the accused while the case remains unresolved
Allows the influence of media, could affect the outcome of the trial.
Knowledge of the system and it’s procedures –
Often young people, especially Indigenous Australians do not really understand the legal process and are not made fully aware of their rights.
Lack of knowledge of the law can reduce equality and accessibility as people don’t realise the services which are available to assist them in legal matters. This is particularly true of minority groups, (e.g. ATSI, migrants) often because of a lack of English skills (access of ATSI living in rural areas is further reduced as they are isolated from services)
Effective as Govt. sponsor education program about legal issues and have Translators which are available in courts for those of non –English speaking backgrounds.
The CJS can be very costly, as many individuals cannot afford legal representation.
Dietrich v the Queen,...