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NSW Law Society says laws must presume innocence

THE New South Wales Law Society is calling on State Parliament to support an amendment to mandatory sentencing laws being debated in the Upper House that will keep some judicial discretion in the sentencing process.

NSW Law Society president Ros Everett said today the judicial safety net is vital to stop unjust sentences being imposed where there are "substantial and compelling circumstances."

"The amendments will also preserve an incentive to plead guilty saving unnecessary and expensive trials and further trauma to victims," she said.

"We are concerned that the Crimes Amendment (Intoxication) Bill 2014 in its current form is too harsh and will lead to unforeseen consequences in sentencing.

"One example of this would be with vulnerable young people where individual circumstances should be taken into account."

Ms Everett said that of particular concern is the new definition of intoxication contained in the government's proposed bill which relies heavily on the view of police and is potentially a very low threshold.

She said the legislation in its current form is also inconsistent with the presumption of innocence and the requirement for prosecution to prove its case.


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