Source: (2009) ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 09-02.
In light of their great potential, Indigenous sentencing courts have been established in most Australian jurisdictions but many controversies and uncertainties still surround their operation. One such controversy is whether Indigenous sentencing courts are suited to dealing with all offences. Sexual offences are excluded from the mandate of most of the courts, with justifications for this decision varying between jurisdictions. Another issue that constantly surfaces each time the use of Indigenous sentencing courts is widened is the concern that Indigenous sentencing courts distinguish defendants based on their race, and thus violate the principle of equality before the law. As use of these courts becomes more widespread, it is important that fundamental questions such as these are considered, to ensure that the courts take their appropriate place in the Australian criminal justice system. (excerpt).
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