The Evidence and Findings
The ALS argued an appeal in the High Court of Australia on sentencing. In Bugmy v The Queen , the High Court held that in sentencing an Aboriginal offender, “full weight” [be given] to the offender’s deprived background”, since the moral culpability of an offender “raised in a community surrounded by alcohol abuse and violence… is likely to be less than the culpability of an offender whose formative years have not been marred in that way”.
The Court further held that, “In any case in which it is sought to rely on an offender's background of deprivation in mitigation of sentence, it is necessary to point to material tending to establish that background”.
The High Court was clear that evidence of social disadvantage and deprivation is not tied to an offender’s Aboriginality, but is an aspect of individualised justice.