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Discretion is a concept that refers to the freedom of decision in a particular situation. Many advantage and disadvantages are associated with discretion in the criminal justice system as the police and judiciary can exploit discretion to denigrate either party in court, affecting the achieving of justice. Many factors also influence the role of discretion and the degrees to which it can be utilised. This includes statutory guidelines, mandatory sentencing, aggravating and mitigating circumstances, and victim impact statements. The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) is the primary source of NSW sentencing law. This legislation outlines the purposes for which sentences and penalties may be imposed, when they can be used, and also recommends sentencing guidelines.

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