2018 HSC Legal Studies exam

Below is a breakdown of how well past Legal Studies students answered questions that related to sentencing and punishment. Answers with an asterisk are the correct answers.

Go to the Legal Studies 2018 HSC Exam Pack 

Question 3

In sentencing an offender, the judge focuses on the importance of retribution.

What is the judge’s aim in focusing on this?

(A) To penalise the offender *
(B) To reduce future criminal behaviour
(C) To give the offender employment skills
(D) To educate the community about criminal behaviour

This question addressed the topic of “the purposes of punishment; factors affecting a sentencing decision”. Only 40.06% of candidates answered it correctly, with the majority of candidates being distracted by (B).

Question 7

Which of the following is true of victim impact statements?

(A) They are used at committal hearings.
(B) They do not affect the sentencing of offenders.
(C) They include the interests of victims in the criminal justice system. *
(D) They are presented in court by the victim before the accused is found guilty.

This question addressed the topic of “the role of the victim in sentencing” and “discuss factors that affect sentencing decisions, including the purposes of punishment and the role of the victim”. Only 47.67% of candidates answered it correctly with (D) being the main distractor.

Question 20

Trevor, who is not an Australian citizen, is to be released from a NSW prison after serving a sentence of two years. On his release, can Trevor be deported to his country of origin?

(A) No, as he was sentenced by a NSW court and deportation is a federal matter.
(B) No, as the deportation should have been determined at the time of sentencing.
(C) Yes, as deportation can occur after serving a sentence of one year or more. *
(D) Yes, as the judge can use discretion to order deportation as part of the sentence.

This question addressed the topic of “post-sentencing considerations, including security classification, protective custody, parole, preventative detention, continued detention, sexual offenders registration, deportation”.

This question caused a great deal of debate as it is asking a question where the legal knowledge to answer the question is beyond the scope of our course. Only 26.27% of candidates answered it correctly with (D) being the main distractor, but both (A) and (B) also has a significant of candidates selecting them as their answer. This usually indicates there was confusion across most candidates.

Question 24

Discuss the use of discretion in achieving justice in the criminal justice system.

This was a very broad extended response question on the theme and challenge “the role of discretion in the criminal justice system”.

A discuss question requires candidates to identify issues and provide points for and/or against
how discretion does or does not achieves justice across the criminal justice system.

This question had a mean result of 7.55/15.