Source: (2009) Australia and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference 2009: Conference Proceedings. Pg. 88-100.

This paper examines the veil of secrecy surrounding plea bargaining in Victoria. Drawing upon the findings of a three-year research project that observed participants within Victoria’s criminal justice system, this paper explores the impact of plea bargaining’s lack of transparency on the principle of public and open justice, whereby justice is seen to be done unless under exceptional circumstances. This paper presents a brief comparative analysis of why the priority given to transparency in sentencing practices, often with the justification that it will increase public understanding and confidence is not applied to plea bargaining. In addition, it considers how the veil of secrecy can create inconsistencies in prosecutor approaches to and use of plea bargaining, to demonstrate further impacts of non-transparent justice on criminal proceedings. (Authors abstract).