Criminal law is a broad area of legal practice that is concerned with bringing individuals who have committed crimes to justice. Criminal acts are those which violate law either prohibiting or ordering them. Criminal law encompasses offences of varying severity, from parking infringements to murder. In proportion to this, punishments can vary from fines to life imprisonment.
The imperative to legislate for peace and order falls to State and Territory governments, as the Commonwealth Parliament does not have constitutional power generally allowing them to legislate in relation to crime. Criminal cases thus usually fall within the jurisdiction of state courts, although states have opted for federal standards in some matters such as terrorism. Laws between states can be subject to quite distinct variation, as evidenced by each state or territory’s abortion laws.
As criminal offences breach state laws, the prosecution usually represents the police or the state. In more serious criminal matters, juries composed of usually twelve citizens will hear the evidence. They are responsible for determining whether an individual is guilty or not guilty of the charges brought against them “beyond reasonable doubt”, prior to any sentencing as determined by a judge.
Some examples of charges that would fall under criminal law include:
- Vehicular theft
Legal practitioners involved in this area will usually engage quite broadly in the field, however may specialise as either prosecution or defence, or according to subject area (driving offences, drug offences, etc.).
At the bottom of this profile are brief details of a number of the experts that Expert Experts represents. Call our office to discuss your requirements and to obtain a recommendation that suits your needs and budget.
What Expert Evidence
Given the array of offences that could give rise to a criminal case, expert witnesses from a variety of fields are regularly solicited to offer their opinions. These experts will have extensive knowledge in the broad subject area a claim relates to.
Examples of criminal cases in which expert opinions can be utilised include those involving:
- Driving offences
- Drug offences
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual assault
Their specialties in these cases could be in accident reconstruction and investigation, or in examining injuries and their likely causes. They can also review security footage and surveillance and comment on whether proper practice was observed. Increasingly, experts with IT backgrounds are being called to comment on cases with cyber components.
For some fields of expertise we have some sample sections of de-identified reports. Please contact our office if you are interested in a sample.
The overall cost of expert opinion depends on the services required. Some of the key factors that affect the cost of advice include:
- The need for a view or inspection of a location
- The quantity of documentary material to be reviewed
- Whether there are reports of other experts to be reviewed and commented on in detail
- Whether there is a need for conferences with the expert either in person or by telephone/Skype
The Structure of the Criminal Justice System in NSW
The NSW Criminal Justice System comprises multiple courts which hear cases of varying severity and allow accountability through a multi-tiered appeal system.
Opinion Evidence in Criminal Law
As a general rule a witness can only give evidence of what he or she actually observed, not his/her conclusions or opinions. There are some exceptions in criminal cases.
Aytugrul v The Queen  HCA 15
A homicide case with a conviction based partly on expert testimony about DNA evidence, which rendered such evidence admissible.
Cotter v The Queen  VSCA 240
An arson case in which an expert in arson detection provided an opinion which supported the finding that the fire was deliberately set.
Related Field of Expertise