The Australian practice of the criminal justice system is anchored on the petit jury, a fundamental conviction in the rule of law, justice, as well as the independence of the judicial system (Edmond 2010). Any persons who comes before an Australian court is subjected to be treated equally with principles of procedural justice, judicial standard, and the division of powers, which are critical to the practices of the criminal justice system in Australia.
On the other hand, the Japanese practice of the criminal justice system is anchored in the lay judge system. The lay judge system in the Japanese practices of the criminal justice system has substantial potential in both perception and its formation. In the Japanese practices of their criminal justice system, only the judge presides over the legal trials. Because the hearings are set with large intervals, judges are forced to refresh their memories in readiness for a hearing session (Sher 2011).
Moreover, owing to the rotation system enacted by the Japanese Supreme Court, judges shift from one court to a different one after a period of every two to three years. Therefore, the judge primarily undertaking a case might transfer to a different court in the midst of a proceeding, necessitating the new judge replacing him to all over again seek knowledge of the case and its technical and legal concerns entailed in a complicated copyright litigation from scratch. This paper compares and contrasts the Australian practices of the criminal justice system with the Japanese practices of the criminal justice system.
In Australia, the impartiality of the trials is visible from the inclusion of juries to decide the guiltiness of the accused and the prosecutor in the Australian practices of justice system decides on the criminal offenses that will be prosecuted and the manner in which prosecution will take place. In the aforementioned two jurisdictions, the roles played by the prosecutors are crucial to the reliability and effectiveness of the Australian practices of justice system.
There are two classes of prosecutors in the Australian practices of justice system. Serious criminal offenses that are presided over by the superior courts are prosecuted by legal practitioners hired by the Directors of Pubic Prosecution (DPP) that function in every state as well as at the Federal stage. The office of Directors of Public Prosecution is a comparatively recent addition, which has been established to assist in the encounters of prosecutors in Australia (Dammer & Albanese 2010).
In the case where a trial involves minor crimes such as drink driving, theft, and minor assault, police officers, who have had a prior professional training in law and advocacy, have the authority to execute prosecutions. Two of the limiting factors the Australian Justice system include administrative inactivity and monetary resourcing needed to conquer the existing impartiality of the trials. The two are considerable hindrances in several Australian jurisprudences to the extensive transfer of all prosecutions to the Directors of Public Prosecution.
When a crime takes place in Japan, the police would characteristically investigate the crime, arrest the suspect, and then quickly submit the accused to the Public Prosecutors Office (PPO). The PPO records statements from the victim as well as witnesses prior to deciding whether prosecution ought to proceed.
In the Japanese practices of justice system, prosecutors have wide-ranging powers and a suspect may even be detained for more than twenty days prior to the requirement of an indictment. As a thriving and democratic country, Japan boasts of its low crime rates. The Japanese practice of their justice system is depicted to be corrupt at each stage, from the police officers through to the judicial system at the court and even in the prisons as well (Sher 2011).
An interview of inmates, members of the family, justice representatives, and activists affirmed that the Japanese practices of justice system is packed with brutal cross-examinations, denial of one’s rights, false condemnations, veiled jailhouse hostility, and mistrustful deaths.
Most criminal suspects in Japan are normally convicted of the accusations raised by the police, these legal upholders have the authority to detain and interrogate suspects for as many days despite of charges or refusing their use of legal counsel in the course of their cross-examination. Suspects and members of their families often face threats in additional to physical abuse in order to deter them into confession.
The Fukuoka and Nagoya prisons in Japan are well known for cruel treatment of inmates. In Fukuoka, silence is always imposed with prison officers dictating the slightest details such as the manner of sitting down or the posture of lying down in bed. In Nagoya prison, inmates continually report being beaten, physically and mentally agonised and even to the extremes of being murdered.
The restriction and privacy surrounding the Japanese practices of justice system make it challenging for activists and policy-makers to get true information concerning the situations in prison, not to mention advocating for change. Japan recently began revolutionary modifications in its legal system as a comprehensive way to attempt improvement with the intention of tackling its economic slack and aims to play a critical role in international affairs.
Among its most noteworthy and well-exposed legal modifications was the inclusion of a lay judge system. In the lay assessor system, registered voters are enlisted to undertake on a mixed-jury tribunal amidst practised judges. This massive modification in conjunction with other key restructuring has not just affected the Japanese practices of justice system but also the society.
For almost a century, the practices of justice system in Japan had been dominated with legal experts with professional judges having power over all criminal trials. During this time, the practice of the justice system in Japan was generally considered as intelligent, proficient, constant and diligent (Soldwedel 2008). However, this revolutionary change has not been well received by all and there were a number of flaws concerning poor fact-finding and over-dependence on prosecutors.
Comparison and contrast
In a bid to enhance the unruffled exercise of prosecutorial strength and tact, prosecutors, and this includes both police prosecutors as well as Directors of Public Prosecution officials in the Australian practices of justice system usually do not involve themselves in the practice of criminal investigation or in resolutions to charge suspects. The investigation process is reserved for police, criminal investigation departments, and the jury (Jones & Weatherburn 2010).
At least in that extent and as far as serious criminal offenses are taken into consideration, institutional division of the Directors of Public Prosecution (DPP) form the government. Therefore, due to its direct responsibility to the society, it is critical to ensure that prosecutions are conducted lawfully and justly and are not improperly wavered by media-influenced society campaigns. Nevertheless, the de-politicisation in Australia has a drawback, multifaceted by restricted judicial review of prosecutorial judgment and a nearly absent parliamentary oversight.
Lack of transparency and accountability in the Australian practices of justice system has brought about the protests that Australian prosecutors are reserved, isolated from victims of criminal offenses and the society at large, and that they scantily document their transactions and judgement making. Sentencing in the Australian practices of justice system is widely entrusted to the judicial discretion.
In the attempt to attain its full potential, the Japanese practices of criminal justice system like the Australian system have a need to overcome different structural barriers in addition to cultural difficulties (Soldwedel 2008). The areas that require attention and modification for the Japanese justice system, in a bid to achieve its full potential includes considering eradication of disciplinary measures against judges’ freedom to voice out concerning the trial process.
An additional area that also requires attention and the possible modification of the inconsiderate judgement of the criminal after the trial has been completed. In addition to this, restricted victim contribution in trial proceedings up to the time of a post-verdict stage can also be utilised to attain increased transparency.
The constitution of Australia stipulates that the “trial on accusation of any criminal action against any Commonwealth law must be presided over by the jury” (Jones & Weatherburn 2010, p.517). The initial trials by civilian juries of 12 took place in New South Wales in 1824.
The practice of investigating the jury team prior to them being chosen is not allowed in Australia because it infringes the confidentiality of jurors. Since 1927, “Australia has allowed majority judgments of 11:1 and 10:1 in criminal cases where a unanimous verdict fails to be attained in 4 hours…these majority verdicts are allowed in all instances with the exception of guilty verdicts where the defendant is being tried for treason or killing” (Dammer & Albanese 2010, p.96).
Where the jury has been decreased, a majority judgment of 9:1 is allowed. From 1943, judgments of “not responsible” for killing and treachery have as well been encompassed, but have to be examined for at least 6 hours. Majority verdicts came into play in New South Wales in 2005. There are some advantages of applying the jury practices of justice system as in the case of Australia.
Firstly, since the juries are not required to explain their judgments, they are capable of getting the principles of the society to accept the concerns in a trial in a manner that a judge might fail to do. Secondly, the 12 jurors randomly selected are probable of representing the principles and views of society in a manner that guarantees fairness and equality in the trial. Thirdly, the contribution of society in the running of the practices of justice system, through a jury, enhances a comprehension of the system and assurance in it in a manner that no other system can.
Fourthly, the trial by the jury system is democratic since the society is engaged in a critical manner prior to the conviction of individuals charged of heinous act. Lastly, the trial through a jury practice of justice system is perceived to be a system excellent to take up than any other to safeguarding the freedom of the subject against repression by the state.
The lay judge system in Japan does not entail the formation of a jury different from the judges; unlike in Australian practice of the criminal justice system, but partake in the trial like inquisitorial judges according to civil law tradition who keenly examine and look into evidences provided from defence and prosecutor. Unlike in Australia, death penalty in Japan is still legalised and a considerably huge number of convicts have been laid down by the death sentence. (Soldwedel 2008).
An inmate that is penalized with a death sentence is normally informed only an hour in advance, and often the family members of these inmates receive news of their death long after it has happened. The inmates sentenced to capital punishment are normally outcasts in their families, and they encounter discrimination at the workplace in addition to social exclusion.
The accounts of former prisoners, members of families as well as activists have been strengthened by the recording of daily operations of inmates within the prisons. For instance, when the murder trial of 72-year old Katsuyoshi Fujii started in Japan in late 2009, countless Japanese citizens yearned for the chance to observe the trial and millions of the residents were provided with television coverage of the exceptional experience.
This event marked the inaugural opportunity which that the residents of Japan had to witness every aspects of the Japanese practices of justice system (Katsuta 2010). Amusingly, the focus of this extensive national concern did not particularly associate with Fujii and his unlawful acts, but instead the whole country concentrated more on the innovative contribution of citizen juror in the trial.
The Australian citizens have experienced the application benefits of trial through the jury practices of justice system. In 1787, the time when the parliament of Britain offered a martial tribunal in New South Wales, having a judge/advocate in charge of a board of six military officials, the residents shortly appreciated the supremacy of the jury practices of justice system.
The martial tribunal would effortlessly be influenced by different individuals and could not be depended upon to be unbiased, particularly when martial concerns were entailed. Moreover, different individuals campaigned strongly for the British practices of the justice system, and the authorities instigated several petitions for a jury practice of the justice system.
Ultimately, in 1847, the jury practices were introduced in New South Wales and made valid in Port Philip district (Dammer & Albanese 2010). At the period of federation, the residents of every colony of Australia had become reasonably acquainted with the advantages of examination through the jury practices of justice system in the case of heinous acts.
Similarly, the new lay judge system has substantial potential in both perception and structure. In the quest to achieve its full potential, the lay judge system should strive to triumph over numerous structural obstructions as well as cultural challenges. Concerned parties and policymakers both in Japan and abroad have expressed concerns regarding the hindrances to the effectiveness of the lay judge system and have recommended areas for modification (Park 2010).
If the lay judge system is to realise the set goals of transparency, civic edification, enhanced integrity of the practices of the justice system and dependability in terms of preservation of rights, Japan must concentrate on several additional modifications.
With Mr. Fujii’s case being the opening trail of attention with new lay judge system, the Japanese criminal legal philosophy have embarked on a new chapter involving public contribution. The new lay judge system in the practices of the justice system in Japan will not simply be closely examined, but it could also present key lessons on a global scale to established and rising democracies, both in its early form and in later proceedings. Much anticipation has come along with the lay judge system and the investment of energy, time, and economic resources by Japan in setting up citizen contribution (Fukurai 2010).
Optimists view the new lay judge system as a medium for promoting constructive societal modification and achieving transparency as compared to the earlier Japanese practices of justice system that was often criticised. On the other hand, critics feel that the judicial system ought not to engage common citizens who are not experienced and generally not educated in the complexities of the justice system, some critics even advocate for the lay judge system to be delayed with reconsideration or eliminated.
The Japanese judges and the Australian prosecutors are similar in that they are both responsible for the maintenance of the criminal justice system. The police officers in both Australian and Japanese practices of justice system mainly interrogate and investigate the suspects of criminal acts. In both systems, there is lack of transparency and accountability and measures need to be put in place to ensure these attributes are attained in the justice system. Nevertheless, there are observable differences between the constraints administering the processes of both Australian and Japanese prosecutors.
Unlike in Japan, there are two classes of prosecutors in Australia as it was earlier discussed (Dammer & Albanese 2010). In Japan, the lay judge system engages citizens that have no special training in law in their criminal trial. To the Australian view, and with regard to some senior prosecutors, engaging citizens that are not subject to the ethical controls that administrate those suspected of committing criminal offenses, are not capable of asserting concession over their expression and lack proper training in law could look like a false justice.
This aspect would probably be heightened by the cases of corruption that appear occasionally. The Australian practices of justice system entrusts sentencing to the judicial discretion (with the presence of jury) whereas the Japanese practices of justice system employs the lay judge system.
The grand jury employed in the Australian justice system like the lay judge system practiced in the Japanese criminal justice system has considerable potential in both discernment and formation; to reach the extent of efficiency, these practices of the criminal justice system require overcoming diverse barriers.
In the Australian practices of justice system, the prosecutor follows legal guidelines to decide on the criminal offenses that will be indicted and the manner in which prosecution will proceed. Among its advantages, the trial through a jury practice of the justice system has been identified to be a more effective and values style with the intention to safeguard the freedom of the subject.
Contrary to the Japanese practices of justice system, the Australian legal system take pride in their inclusion of the juries during the trial process as compared to the judges in the Japanese justice system who usually dictate the legal concerns of the justice system. When a crime is committed in Japan, the police characteristically examine the crime, take the suspect into custody, and then quickly submit the accused to the Public Prosecutors Office (PPO). The criminal justice system in Japan is regarded to be corrupted in every phase, from the police through to the judicial system at the court and even to its prison cells.
Dammer, H & Albanese, J 2010, Comparative criminal justice systems, Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont, CA.
Edmond, G 2010, ‘Impartiality, efficiency or reliability? A critical response to expert evidence law and procedure in Australia’, Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, vol. 42 no. 2, pp. 83-99.
Fukurai, H 2010, ‘People’s Panels vs. Imperial Hegemony: Japan’s Twin Lay Justice Systems and the Future of American Military Bases in Japan’, Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal, vol. 12 no. 1, pp. 95-99.
Jones, C & Weatherburn, D 2010, ‘Public confidence in the NSW criminal justice system: a survey of the NSW public’, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, vol. 43 no. 3, pp. 506-525.
Katsuta, T 2010, ‘Japan’s Rejection of the American Criminal Jury’, American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 58 no. 3, pp. 497-524.
Park, R 2010, ‘The globalising jury trial: Lessons and insights from Korea’, American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 58 no. 3, pp. 525-582.
Sher, E 2011, ‘Death Penalty Sentencing in Japan under the Lay Assessor System: Avoiding the Avoidable through Unanimity’, Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal, vol. 20 no. 2, pp. 635-42.
Soldwedel, A 2008, ‘Testing Japan’s Convictions: The Lay Judge System and the Rights of Criminal Defendants’, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, vol. 41 no. 1, p. 1417-21.