Book Review: Paul's Police Offences

DOI10.1177/000486588401700411
Publication Date01 December 1984
AuthorJocelynne A Scutt
Date01 December 1984
SubjectBook Reviews
BOOK REVIEWS
281
areal opportunity at all times to know what offences are being prosecuted and what
the outcome is. Closure of any court gives rise to legitimate fears that justice
is
not
being dispensed,
or
that obsolete offences are being used
as
ameans of controlling
particular individuals. It would be aworthwhile exercise for astudent of criminal
law to undertake astudy of the use of the closed court powers. If these powers are
not used, then it
is
right to ask
why
they exist. Ifthey are used, it may be discovered
that their use
is
motivated
by
unacceptable attitudes about morals and decency,
which ultimately lead to less, rather than more, justice being dispensed.
As atool·for comparing jurisdictions, Summary Justice and its accompanying
commentaries
is
to be welcomed. For those who are interested in uniformity oflaws
and the rights of all Australian citizens and residents to be dealt with equally, in
whichever jurisdiction they might be arrested, Summary Justice
is
auseful means of
discovering where one stands in that regard. And for
law
reformers who are not
prepared to accept that provisions are right and proper simply because they exist,
or because they exist in all States, Summary Justice and its commentaries
is
aquick
and handy way of searching out areas where proper changes to Australian laws
might be effected.
JOCEL
YNNE A
Scurr
Melbourne
Paul's Police Offences, 5th edition, Haddon Storey, D L Harper and W B
Zichy-Woinarski, Law Book Co Ltd, (loose-leaf)
$75.
As the Preface to Paul's Police Offences points out, the first edition of the work
was published in 1908; the fourth edition (immediately preceding the current
edition)
was
published more than
30
years ago. The delay
is
unfortunate, for
offences of the type described in the book are relatively frequently subject to
change. Yet,
as
the authors point out, the delay has "nothing to do with [their]
indolence. On the contrary, [they] have during long years of labour constantly
borne
in
mind
Dr
Johnson's aphorism that what
is
written without effort
is
in
general read without pleasure". The book bears them (and
Dr
Johnson) out: it
is
written in alucid style, with clear divisions into offences under the relevant Acts,
and with an adequate index published (to this reader's delight) in the front rather
than the back. In addition, Paul's Police Offences now comes in loose-leaf style for
ease of updating; and regular Bulletins noting recent changes
or
decided cases are
to be produced to ensure that the 30-year lapse does not once more occur.
The first edition of Paul's Police Offences dealt with one Act only; the fifth
edition covers the five Acts which now deal with police offences, taking each one
separately. Thus sections deal with summary offences; protection of animals;
vagrancy; lotteries, gaming and betting, and police offences. Asection on penalties
and sentences, plus an introduction which covers such matters
as
the history of
legislation relating to police offences, practice and procedure (dealing with laying
an information, the time within which an information must be laid, rules covering
amendment of informations, arrests and warrants, summons, hearings, constitution
of the court, witnesses, pleas and determination), and the transportation into
Victoria of the laws
of
England (including common law and imperial statute law)
comprise the volume.
Aperusal of the section on penalties and sentences reveals that Victoria has
moved in asensible direction
as
regards sentencing ofoffenders. No longer does the

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