R v. Gouros: Interpreting Motivation under Victoria’s New Hate Crime Laws
The University of Sydney Law School
October 20, 2010
Criminal Law Journal, Vol. 34, No. 5, pp. 323-327, 2010
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/101
On 2 December 2009, s5(2)(daaa) Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) came into force in Victoria. This subsection makes it an aggravating factor at sentencing if a crime is motivated by hatred or prejudice against a group of people with common characteristics. This new provision brings Victoria into line with New South Wales (‘NSW’) and the Northern Territory (‘NT’) which have similar, albeit distinct, provisions in their sentencing legislation.
In the same month, the County Court of Victoria, in R v. Gouros, considered the application of s5(2)(daaa) when sentencing an offender for multiple robbery offences against people of Indian appearance. Evidence that the victims were selected, at least in part, on the basis of their apparent race or ethnic origin satisfied the Court of motivation within the meaning of the new provision. Although a County Court decision, R v. Gouros raises important questions about how motive is established under hate crime sentencing provisions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 7
Keywords: hate crime law, sentencing aggravation, motive, group selection test
JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30
Date posted: October 22, 2010