For decades the Northern Territory’s criminal law has stood at the jurisprudential frontier of Australia: grappling with a unique set of circumstances, almost entirely dominated by the situation of its Aboriginal people.
This 2nd edition deals in detail with the sweeping changes introduced in 2005 by Part IIAA of the NT Criminal Code. These changes often mirror the Criminal Code (Cth), and have completely rewritten many of the NT Code’s most significant provisions, including the law of murder, rape, and many serious offences against the person.
The book covers procedure and all the major offences, together with public order offences and sentencing. It contains a separate chapter on Aboriginal people that deals with all the recent developments, including the Intervention, and a detailed chapter on the unique history of the Territory’s criminal law.
Reviews of the previous edition:
While at first glance such a publication could be easily overlooked by Victorian practitioners browsing the shelves of their legal bookshop, it is in fact an informative and unique book about the criminal law. It provides information useful for comparative purposes in criminal law as well as a greater understanding of the dynamic historical, cultural and political forces that shape the criminal law.
The text … will appeal particularly to criminal lawyers with an interest in indigenous issues. The author, Stephen Gray, is best known as a distinguished novelist … he is also a senior lecturer in law at Charles Darwin University.
The book attempts to provide a critical perspective placing criminal law issues in the Northern Territory in the context of policy and legal controversies both nationally and globally. It also places the intersection between indigenous people and the criminal justice system at the critical centre which prevents the issues being overlooked by their cursory inclusion in a chapter of a more general criminal law text. The book has a necessary historical focus which places the current issues within the social, political and cultural legacy of frontier European colonisation. The book not only encourages consideration of the significant impact the criminal law has had on indigenous people but also the unique ways in which the presence and participation of indigenous people has shaped the criminal law.
What distinguishes this legal text from other texts is the author’s ability to deliver both practical information on areas such as investigation, process and procedure; sentencing; criminal responsibility under the Territory Code; defences; information about a range of offences from homicide and sexual offences to public order offences; as well as a deeper theoretical understanding of the forces which have shaped and continue to shape the development of the Northern Territory criminal jurisprudence.
Law Institute Victoria Criminal Law Section Newsletter, June 2004
Common Law trained lawyers and Code lawyers alike will bring their own opinions to the initial points raised in Chapter 1 commenting on our system that is the only true hybrid system currently operating in Australian criminal justice.Chapter 2 is my own favourite, drawing as it does on legal historical sources and the interaction between the general legal system and indigenous people, … the chapters on procedure, the substantive law and sentencing [are] extremely useful. The text is well footnoted and documented and includes sources beyond reported cases and statutes. Even those well versed in the intricate twists and turns of criminal law and procedure will benefit from the orderly collection and clear discussion of case law and associated materials.
Jenny Blokland SM, Magistrates’ Chambers, Darwin NT