Sentencing in Victoria 2015

Sentencing in Victoria 2015

Guideline Judgement of the Court of Appeal – Community Correction Orders – “a radical new sentencing option”

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In the last twelve months there have been recent important changes in the direction of sentencing for more serious offences. There have been changes to the Sentencing  Act and the first Guideline Judgement of the Court of Appeal was published on the 22nd December 2014, this judgement provides assistance to judges and lawyers when sentencing offenders on more serious matters.

The Court of Appeal noted that when your legal representative suggests the option of a Community Correction Order as an appropriate sentencing  disposition  it is not enough to recite the offenders personal circumstances,  rather your legal representative should pay attention to the formulation of conditions that will address the offenders particular needs and the causes of offending and which will promote the necessary changes in the offender’s life to reduce the risk of re-offending.

Some observations of the court.

“..the CCO can be used to rehabilitate and punish simultaneously. This significantly diminishes the conflict between sentencing purposes, particularly acute in relation to young offenders. No longer will the court be placed in the position of having to give less weight to denunciation, or specific or general deterrence, in order to promote the young offender’s rehabilitation. Rather, the court will be able to fashion a CCO which adequately achieves all of those purposes”.

“..a CCO may be suitable even in cases of relatively serious offences which might previously have attracted a medium term of imprisonment (such as, for example, aggravated burglary, intentionally causing serious injury, some forms of sexual offences involving minors, some kinds of rape and some categories of homicide). The sentencing judge may find that, in view of the objective gravity of the conduct and the personal circumstances of the offender, a properly-conditioned CCO of lengthy duration is capable of satisfying the requirements of proportionality, parsimony and just punishment, while affording the best prospects for rehabilitation”.

“.. the CCO is intended to be available in serious cases where an offender may be at risk of receiving an immediate custodial sentence but the court considers that immediate custody is not necessary to fulfil the statutory purposes of sentencing given the range of options provided by a CCO.”

For the full decision of the case follow the link below