Title

Notre Dame students address indigenous crime with The Hon. Chief Justice

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 8-28-2007

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle

Publication Place

Fremantle

Abstract

The Hon. Chief Justice Wayne Martin was at The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle recently to hear a group of students’ proposal for a solution to petty crime amongst indigenous people – The Diversion Justice Program.

The Arts and Science students put together the proposal after Mr Neville Collard, an ex-police man and respected Nyungar elder, approached them to help convey his views and ideas on reducing indigenous petty crime to Justice Martin.

The groups rational states:

‘Whilst there is a small core group of people who fall into repeat offending, the significant majority of offenders come into only sporadic contact with the justice system. This contact however, can expose people to the influence of others who can draw them into more serious crimes and along with the lack of resources and opportunities, could result in people falling into, or being introduced to more serious offending patterns. The Diversion Justice Program intervenes at an early stage to address these issues and provide an alternative which can engage the interest of the offender.’

It also aims to address personal issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, that may have contributed to the crime being committed.

Offenders would have to do things such as apologise to the victim, undertake community service, repair property damage and attend drug/alcohol rehabilitation.

“They will be given culturally relevant and uplifting work and assist the community in a way that encourages self worth and contribution to society,” said Mr Collard.

Justice Martin was very impressed with the presentation and agreed that the issues of indigenous petty crime needed to be addressed.

“This is a very wise topic to take on. It really is the most important issue I am confronting at the moment,” said Justice Martin.

Arts and Science student, Lee MacRae, said they were extremely grateful that Justice Martin took the time to listen to something they had put so much work into.

“Having Justice Martin come and listen to our ideas really made everything worthwhile. He was genuinely interested in our presentation and gave many valuable suggestions and comments,” said Mrs Macrae.