Removing stubborn stains from the crime scene: Should the state play a role in lessening disgust?

Mr Gregory Dale1

1University Of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

Crime does not simply affect people; it touches places too. The bloody crime scene remains a target of disgust long after its visible stains have vanished, creating lasting distances between the community and that place. Disgust is best managed through sustained exposure to the disgusting object. Of course, getting closer to the scene of an infamous crime is usually the impulse furthest away from people affected by disgust. Given this fact, it is not uncommon for crime affected real estate to lose its value, even to the extent that it is abandoned. Consequently the community is confronted with a location that is daily reminder of the event and fails to move beyond it. Should the state play a role in cleansing properties of their disgusting residue? Or will this simply validate an emotion whose expression serves little value in this context and can be misappropriated to further stigimatise the offender (without whom the crime scene would not exist)?


Greg is in the final year of a doctorate at Monash University law school that examines the role of emotions in proceeds of crime statutory regimes. He is a Sessional Law Lecturer at the University of Queensland. He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Courts of NSW and Queensland and the High Court of Australia. He worked as the Associate to the Chief Justice of WA for two years. Later he worked as a Senior Legislation Officer and Assistant Parliamentary Counsel within Queensland Government and as a Legal Officer on the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry.

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