Defined Terms

Justice for the Innocent Victim or Victims (Retribution)

Below is an extract from Australian Institute of Criminology - No. 3 - Capital Punishment - Feb 1987  -  Compiled and written by Ivan Potas and John Walker  -  "The History of Capital Punishment in Australia":

"The concept of an 'eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth' is said to be applicable to capital punishment.

Under this theory, sometimes referred to as 'just deserts', it is not necessary to argue that the death penalty is instrumental in achieving some other purpose such as community protection or deterrence, the person who murders, it is said, should be executed for the sake of justice alone."


"Since the beginning of time, justice has been defined as retribution. Not to be confused with revenge driven by personal malice retribution is the innate understanding that it is right to punish an individual in fair proportion to the crime they have committed. Our instinctive longing to see wrongs made right can be traced back to our earliest days. Even the youngest child recognises that the schoolyard bully should be held to account."


The prevailing propensity for incarceration as the primary form of Punishment does not place any weight in recognising Justice for the Innocent Victim (or Victims) whose life or lives were taken from them.

That is a fundamental flaw in the Australian Criminal Justice System which is not the case in the majority of other countries presently, and certainly was not the case in Australia's past.  A 'past' that our current politicians should learn from.  Our policy makers of the earlier history of Australia displayed infinitely more courage and pragmatism.

Below is an extract from The case for capital punishment:

"When Lord Stevens, the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, argued on Sunday that his opposition to capital punishment had been overturned by the shooting of a policewoman in Bradford last week, he was joining that usually silent band of intelligent people who feel that society affords inadequate protection to the innocent.  And, predictably, he has been vilified for it by a noisy minority who, in the security of their comfortable existences, feel that anyone even suggesting the restoration of a death penalty for murder in this country must be certifiably insane or a complete pervert."

Below is an extract from Why capital punishment can no longer be dismissed

"The third and fundamental argument is far more powerful: that of "proportionality" - that the punishment should fit the crime. "Proportionality" is one of the key considerations in the current review of the sentencing framework being undertaken by the Home Office. If you have an objection in principle to capital punishment, then the proportionate sentence for child murder must be a life sentence, for it is the nearest to true proportionality allowed by law. If you have no principled objection, and once you have eliminated mistaken identity, then proportionality in cases such as Sarah Payne's can mean only one thing."

Retribution is the innate understanding that it is right to punish an individual in fair proportion to the crime they have committed.  Our instinctive longing to see wrongs made right can be traced back to our earliest days.

Below is an extract from Arguments in favour of capital punishment  -  BBC Ethics:

"First a reminder of the basic argument behind Retribution and Punishment:

  • all guilty people deserve to be punished

  • only guilty people deserve to be punished

  • guilty people deserve to be punished in proportion to the severity of their crime

This argument states that real justice requires people to suffer for their wrongdoing, and to suffer in a way appropriate for the crime. Each criminal should get what their crime deserves and in the case of a murderer what their crime deserves is death.

The measure of punishment in a given case must depend upon the
*    atrocity of the crime,
*    conduct of the criminal; and
*    defenceless and unprotected state of the victim.

Imposition of appropriate punishment is the manner in which the courts respond to the society's cry for justice against the criminals.

Justice demands that courts should impose punishment befitting the crime so that the courts reflect public abhorrence of the crime.

Justices A.S. Anand and N.P. Singh, Supreme Court of India, in the case of Dhananjoy Chatterjee

Many people find that this argument fits with their inherent sense of justice.

It's often supported with the argument "An eye for an eye". But to argue like that demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of what that Old Testament phrase actually means. In fact the Old Testament meaning of "an eye for an eye" is that only the guilty should be punished, and they should punished neither too leniently or too severely.

Justice for the Innocent Victim/s (Retribution) is not one of the Seven Purposes of Sentencing convicted criminals.  If Justice for the Innocent Victim/s was a quantifiable measurement when determining a Sentence, the below listed more recent rape-murders, and several hundred murders of other innocent females since the 'death penalty' was removed as a Sentencing option around the middle of the last century, would have been considerably less likely to have tragically occurred:

The tragic deaths of comedian, Eurydice Dixon,  Aiia Maasarwe, 8 year old Sofia Rodriguez-Urrutia Shu, 9 year old Ebony Simpson, Prue Bird, two Bega High School students, Lauren Barry and Nichole Collins, Mersina Halvagis, Nicole Patterson and Margaret Maher, nurse Anita Cobby, Lisa Maude Brearley, teenagers Kerryn Henstridge and Anne Smerdon.