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WA lawyers back Indigenous consideration in sentencing

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 18 June 2004


The Western Australian Law Society says the racial backgrounds of Aboriginal offenders should be considered by the courts during sentencing.

The society was responding to a case decided in South Australia this week, where a man had his sentence reduced after appealing on the grounds he is an Aborigine.

The society says though race is not an excuse for any crime, a person's background can be used to influence the court's judgment during sentencing.

Society president Ian Weldon says a sentence must be fair to the offender, and as many Aborigines are from disadvantaged backgrounds, the courts should consider their situation.

"But at the end of the day you actually have to take into account the particular person, so you take into account as well as the offence, the background, the attitude and the circumstances of the offender," he said.


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