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Gittany and the Equality of Justice

            The criminal justice system balances the rights of the victim, offender and society to a considerable extent. The case of R v Gittany (No 5) [2014] NSWSC 49 exemplifies this. This case involves the murder of Lisa Harnum by her fiancé Simon Gittany, who unloaded her off the balcony of their 15th-floor apartment in Sydney's CBD on 30 July 2011. The sentencing and bail imposed on Gittany show how offenders rights are balanced with those of the victim and society, and a fair trial has ensured the achievement of justice. .
             Sentencing and the discretion exercised during this within the criminal justice system enable the competing interests of society, the victim and offender to be balanced. Gittany was charged with murder, in violation of The Crimes Act 1900 and sentenced to 26 years' imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 18 years according to The Crimes (Sentencing Procedures) Act 1999 (NSW). This has upheld Gittany's rights as, while he could have received life imprisonment, according to S19A (1) of The Crimes Act 1900 this was found by Justice McCallum to be "excessive in all the circumstances." Instead, judicial discretion was used, and it was taken as a mitigating factor that the offence was not planned or premeditated. The rights of society have also been protected as this violent offender is removed from the community. Further crimes have been prevented both through general and specific deterrence. While the opportunity for rehabilitation and re-integration into society is provided in sentencing, Gittany was found to have an "arid prospect" of rehabilitation. This and his prior conviction of malicious wounding were aggravating factors in his offence, further protecting society. Additionally, retribution correctly prioritises the victim and society's rights through inflicting hardship on the offender for their actions. Also, as Gittany showed no remorse or took no responsibility for his actions, this was not a mitigating factor in his offence.

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