An ongoing debate between community interests and individuals and freedoms has been prevalent during the past century within the criminal justice system. The aim of law to protect the community both as a whole and on a personal level has created a hazy border between these two goals as police powers were increased. It can be argued that the rights of the society as whole has created continuous infringements of the basic human rights and the right to freedom. Although it has been largely accepted that these infringements are required for safety of the community, especially during the current era of increased terrorist threat, the degradation of the rights for individuals and their freedoms has especially decreased for those under the jurisdiction of criminal justice system both as offenders and accused.
The acceptance of the increased terrorist threat has created increased infringements on an individual’s right to freedoms. One of the most basic rights of an individual has been undermined by the Bail Amendment Act 2014. The accused’s presumption of innocence as defined under Section 3 of the Bail Act 2013 has been completely removed. This has clearly undermined an individual’s basic right to be treated fairly. In turn, a major public backlash occurred as evident in the Sydney Morning Herald Article, Law reform let down by politics April 2013 by Anna Patty. The article highlights the major concerns, “The NSW government has got itself into an enormous problem by buying into the rhetoric against the right to silence and saying that they will abolish it, but not being prepared to fund the legal advice scheme” as quoted from Dixon clearly shows the flaws in the law reform. The reform was a quick response by the government from the increasing demand for action of the accused as the media portrays them as obvious criminals. However, as shown by the article, it has severely degraded not only a basic right in the Australia Constitution, it has also undermined the idea of a fair trial by disadvantaging the accused. The continuously changing society has brought continuous changes to the societal mores and values which has led to continuation of the debate.
Whilst the community had mostly had protested against this law reform, demographically, Australia has come to accept the necessity of safety measures due to the increased terrorist threats. Police given 'very great and unprecedented power' 26th June 2014 by Mark Willacy clearly highlights the concerns of increasing police powers, however the article shows the changing public view. It evidences the shift from the