New Childrens Court case study lets you Judge for Yourself

Media release

Monday, 10 September 2018

Queensland’s flagship sentencing education tool, Judge for Yourself, now gives users an interactive first-hand experience of the Childrens Court.

Judge for Yourself guides people through the sentencing process by letting them step in the shoes of a judge or magistrate.

The new case study is based on real events and features a teenage offender who has pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm.

Council member Dan Rogers says there is misunderstanding in the community about why young people are treated differently to adults in the justice system.

“The Youth Justice Act 1992 guides the sentencing of young people and sets out a range of principles which acknowledge that offending by young people must be treated differently by our courts,” Mr Rogers said.

“This is because we know young people don’t make great decisions, don’t necessarily see the longer term consequences of their actions and can also be vulnerable to the influences of their peers and others.

“Neuro-science tells us that young brains do not finish developing until young people are well past their teens,” he said.

The new Childrens Court case study lets users understand the complexities of the teenager's case and the range of options available for her sentencing.

Judge for Yourself has been accessed by more than 30,000 Queenslanders, who experience the justice process by:

  • watching a news bulletin about the case before being given the opportunity to pass a sentence on the offender
  • reviewing the evidence, including dramatised footage from the scene of the offences and the courtrooms, before being asked to pass sentence again with their newfound knowledge
  • getting hints and guidance on the things judges and magistrates have to consider by law when they pass a sentence.

Mr Rogers says Judge for Yourself is a key tool teaching the community there are many sentencing options available for young people — such as good behaviour orders, restorative justice orders, community service and probation.

“Sentencing is a delicate balance — it’s not just about locking people up and throwing away the key. Everyone deserves a second chance and it’s up to our judges and magistrates to work out the best options for that to happen,” Mr Rogers said.

“Ultimately, we want Queenslanders to know the broader aims of sentencing, which are to punish, rehabilitate, deter, denounce and protect.”

Hear the court case. Decide the sentence. Judge for Yourself