Community Corrections Orders – “a radical new sentencing option”
Guideline Judgment of the Court of Appeal
Boulton v. the Queen  VSCA 342
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Over the past twelve months, the more serious offences have had several important changes in sentencing. These changes include amendments to the Sentencing Act to introduce baseline sentences. There has also been a change to abolish suspended sentences plus the handing down of Victoria’s first Guideline Judgment of the Court of Appeal. Published on 22 December 2014, this judgment assists judges, magistrates and lawyers when they sentence offenders on more serious matters.
The Court of Appeal noted that when your lawyer suggests a Community Correction Order as appropriate sentencing, it is not enough for the lawyer to simply recite the offender’s personal circumstances. Rather, your lawyer should pay attention to conditions that will address the needs of the person to be sentenced. Also, to reduce the risk of re-offending, you lawyer should pay attention to the causes of the offending.
Some observations of the court in this landmark judgment are as follows:
“..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 fulfill 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:
Remember: it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as police charge you with any offence. Early preparation will ensure a better outcome. Call our Criminal Law specialists, who will be happy to give you further advice.