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Justice Diverted? Prosecutorial discretion and the use of diversion schemes...

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Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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Diversion programs are theoretically available to all Victorians facing their first minor criminal charge where their offending is out of character. These programs give people the opportunity to avoid a criminal record, participate in rehabilitative programs, provide reparation to any victims, contribute to the community and reduce the likelihood of reoffending. However, a key barrier to vulnerable individuals being accepted into these programs is the requirement for the prosecution to consent.

Victoria Police informants and prosecutors hold absolute discretion when deciding whether or not to recommend an accused for participation in one of these programs. Their decision to refuse is not reviewable by the Court. Without appropriate guidance or oversight, individual police officers can adopt idiosyncratic and inconsistent decision-making practices vulnerable to bias and prejudice. This has a detrimental impact upon minority groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and people of colour, who are already disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system and stand to benefit most from participation in diversion programs.

Following research and consultations with key stakeholders over the past 12 months, Liberty Victoria's Rights Advocacy Project has concluded that clear guidelines and judicial oversight are necessary to ensure transparency and accountability in this process. In this way, principles of natural justice can best be upheld and the accused's rights under Victoria's Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities protected.

Join us as we launch our report 'Justice Diverted? Prosecutorial discretion and the use of diversion schemes in Victoria'. Copies of the report will be available on the night.

The night will include a panel discussion featuring key stakeholders on the benefits and challenges of the programs and opportunities for reform.

Audience members will be encouraged to ask questions during the Q&A.

This event is kindly supported by the Victoria Law Foundation and is presented as part of Law Week 2018.

The event is free, but registrations are essential.

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TBC

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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