Sentencing occurs when a person has pleaded guilty to, or has been convicted following trial of an offence. Sentencing is carried out by a Judge or a Community Magistrate following a conviction or convictions being entered.
Sentencing can be a complex process. A wide range of sentences can be available to the Court, depending on the nature of the case and the personal circumstances of a defendant. Sentences vary from fines and community work at the lower end of the scale, up to home detention and terms of imprisonment.
There are a number of important parts to the sentencing process:
- Agreement and/or negotiation with the Police or the Crown about the facts upon which a defendant will be sentenced.
- In some cases, a pre-sentence report will be prepared by Community Probation to provide the Court with information about a defendant's personal circumstances, the causes of their offending and an assessment about a defendant's risk of re-offending. A pre-sentence report writer will also make a recommendation to the Court about the most appropriate sentence in a particular defendant's case.
- Submissions (or arguments) are also made by the Police (or the Crown) and a defendantís lawyer at the sentencing hearing about what the appropriate sentence should be. Often, written submissions are required by the Court from the Police/Crown and a defendantís lawyer prior to the sentencing hearing.
- In addition to pre-sentence reports and submissions, the Court may also call for a number of other reports before making a final decision on sentence. These can include: psychiatric/psychological reports, victim impact statements and medical and/or addiction reports. In some cases, the restorative justice process is available. This can be a very beneficial part of the sentencing process for defendants and victims.
At Tony Balme Law, we have considerable experience in preparing for and appearing at sentencing hearings.
Our team can provide you with an accurate assessment of the likely sentencing range in your particular case and will assist you to obtain a sentence which is fair, consistent and appropriate given the nature of your charges and your personal circumstances.