University Of Tasmania
143535 - Comparing Legal and Lay Assessments of Relevant Sentencing Factors.pdf (384.24 kB)
Download file

Comparing legal and lay assessments of relevant sentencing factors for sex offences in Australia

Download (384.24 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 22:07 authored by Catherine WarnerCatherine Warner, Bartels, L, Gelb, K, Davis, J, Caroline SpiranovicCaroline Spiranovic
There is an expanding body of research measuring public perceptions of the criminal justice system's responses to offenders in general and sex offenders in particular. However, less is known about public attitudes to the factors that the law classifies as aggravating, mitigating or merely neutral. This article presents key findings from the National Jury Sentencing Study, which sought to address this gap in knowledge in the case of sex offences using two groups: 343 jurors who had returned a guilty verdict; and 149 members of the public called for jury service who were not selected for a trial. The study shows that, in general, the public's intuitive views of sentencing factors are well-aligned with judicial sentencing practice – a finding that contradicts the stereotypical view of the public as particularly punitive towards sex offenders. Some differences in views on factors such as good character and absence of remorse did appear and potential responses to this divergence are discussed.


Publication title

Criminal Law Journal








Faculty of Law


Lawbook Co

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2021 Criminal Law Journal

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Criminal justice; Expanding knowledge in law and legal studies