​2016 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.

Question 4

A magistrate has suspended a person’s driver’s licence. The person decides to appeal the decision. Which court would be most likely to hear the appeal?
(A) Local Court
(B) District Court*
(C) Licensing Court
(D) Court of Criminal Appeal

This question addressed the topic of appeals and cut across the criminal trial process and sentencing. 49.3% of candidates answered it correctly. 

Question 6

What is the purpose of diversionary programs?
(A) To involve the victim in sentencing
(B) To prevent future criminal behaviour*
(C) To deter crime by increasing penalties
(D) To remove potential offenders from society

This question tested students’ understanding of diversionary programs, with 89.7% of candidates answering it correctly. 

Question 8

A person who has no previous criminal record commits a minor crime. The judge finds the person guilty of the offence but does not record a conviction. What is this is an example of?
(A) Judicial error
(B) Restorative justice
(C) Judicial discretion*
(D) A suspended sentence

This question addressed judicial discretion, with 80.4% of candidates answering it correctly. 

Question 11

An offender and the victim of the crime attend a meeting to discuss the impact of the crime on the victim. What is this an example of?
(A) Retribution
(B) Restorative justice*
(C) Charge negotiation
(D) A community service order

This question tested students on the concept of restorative justice and 65.9% of candidates answered it correctly. 

Question 18

A person has finished a two-year prison sentence. The Minister for Immigration has now authorised the deportation of the ex-prisoner. Which of the following is true?
(A) The ex-prisoner is not an Australian citizen.*
(B) The High Court cannot review this decision.
(C) The ex-prisoner must agree to the deportation.
(D) The Minister for Immigration does not have this power.

This question addressed the topic post-sentencing considerations – deportation, and 68.8% of candidates answered correctly. 

Question 19

Which of the following is true of judicial guidelines?
(A) They are set by the parliament to structure law making processes.
(B) They are set by the NSW Law Reform Commission to provide for fairness.
(C) They are set by the Director of Public Prosecutions to guide judges in decision making.
(D) They are set by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal to assist judges when applying discretion.*

This question involved the concept judicial guidelines and 25.6% of candidates answered it correctly. This was the least successfully answered objective question in the 2016 examination paper. 

Question 24

‘The criminal justice system must treat young offenders differently in order to achieve justice.’

To what extent is this statement true?

This was an extended response question on young offenders in the criminal justice system. Candidates were required to discuss sentencing and punishment options available to magistrates and judges when dealing with young offenders.