When most people think of lawyers, they think of them as someone who represents their client to achieve a certain outcome, whether that be in court or out of court.
But for lawyers who work for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, this is not the case. Their role in criminal matters is to “assist the court in reaching a sound decision based on the evidence, rather than pursuing a conviction at all costs.” They act on behalf of the State rather than any individual or organisation.
So, what does that mean for victims of crime?
A recent study in Victoria has found that victims of crime feel as if their voices are not being heard when they are involved in legal proceedings. Victims want to be consulted on important decisions in the legal process, given an opportunity to express their own wishes and have those wishes taken into consideration by prosecutors.
It is inevitable that prosecutors will at times make decisions that victims do not agree with. However, the study shows that victims are more likely to feel fairly treated by the justice system when police and prosecutors take an interest in them and accord them with recognition and respect, even when a decision or outcome goes against what they may have wanted.
For more information, have a look at this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.
What do you think? Should victims of crime have a say in legal decisions before they are made? Should prosecutors do more to take the victims’ wishes into account when making legal decisions?
If you have been the victim of a crime, call Martin Bullock Lawyers on 02 9687 9322.