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The tension between community interests and individual rights and freedoms

exists in the criminal justice system mainly due to the conflict in interest
between society and the justice system. Whilst the community mainly judges an
offender based on their concept of morals and justice, which can be largely
swayed by the media, the criminal justice system has to take into account
factors such as: fairness; equality; accessibility; international treaties and
conventions; and . This has led to the increasing tension between the community
and the criminal justice system.
One factor that causes tension between the community interests and individual
rights and freedoms is the issue of accessibility. This is a fundamental concept of
the Australian legal system, ensuring that defendants are able to be represented
in court if the case is serious enough. This means that the defendant is entitled
to legal aid if they are of low socio-economic backgrounds and they are facing
court for a serious matter. This raised an issue in the case Dietrich v The Queen
[1992] [HCA] where the defendant appealed the previous court ruling, stating it
was unjust and insisting the fact that he should have had legal aid provided by
the state to make his trial fair. His appeal succeeded and thus changed common
law, ensuring that defendants are able to be represented in court if the case is
serious enough. This reintroduced the debate as to who should be provided with
legal aid, creating tension within the community as they fund the legal aid
service. The community responded negatively, with the general consensus that
the defendant should fund their own legal representative. This thus resulted in
tension between community interests and individual rights caused by the notion
of a fair trial.
International treaties and conventions are another source of tension between
community interests and individual rights and freedoms. Australia is a signatory
to various treaties and conventions governed by international bodies such as the
United Nations. This binds Australia’s legal system to the rules of such treaties,
such as the “Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” and the “UN Convention on
the Rights of the Child”. This raised an issue in the case R v Jamieson [1992],
where the UN has ruled that the sentence given to the offenders of the case was
“cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment”. The offenders had raped and
murdered a 20 year old woman by the name of Janine Balding. The UN human
rights committee asked the federal government to review the case and remedy
the breach. However, this gathered public dissent, stating that the crime was so
horrible, that the offenders should not be released. This was the general
consensus gathered from the newspaper article titled: “Teen killers’ life
sentences attacked” [22/11/14 SMH], quoting Janine Balding’s mother “They
should stay where they are. They have nothing to offer society.” It illustrates
perfectly the tension between community interests and individual rights and
freedoms. However, it also illustrates how the media can have an effect on
community interests. The case gathered massive media coverage, publicizing
the horrific murder, and putting a negative light on the offenders.
The media can also be considered a source of tension between community
interests and individual rights and freedoms. Due to their extreme and biased

The case garnered much media attention.coverage of cases. where the maximum sentence for murder is 20 years. putting pressure on the legal system. This case showed how the media had the ability to sway public opinion and create tension between community interests and individual rights and freedoms. the public opinion is swayed. due to much public pressure. In the end. with the public opinion being heavily swayed by such media reports. the court ruled a minimum prison sentence of 18 years non-parole and 26 years maximum. This is much to the delight of . This can be seen in the case R v Gittany [2013].