When a person pleads guilty or is found guilty of a crime, the Court is tasked with determining a proportionate penalty. This is known as the “sentence” for the crime.
The Court is guided by legislation and caselaw when determining a sentence. This provides a method to find the most appropriate sentence. They must determine a sentence that is proportional to the offence. This takes into account the gravity of the offence and the particular circumstances of the offending.
The Court then determines the “objective seriousness” of the offence, meaning how serious is the offence. They will consider any aggravating or mitigating factors when determining this. The higher the objective seriousness of an offence, the more severe a penalty will be.
Aggravating and Mitigating factors include things such whether there was any harm or injury as a result of the offence, or whether there were children exposed to the conduct.
The Court will then take into account the defendant’s subjective factors, things such as the offender’s age, criminal history and health. They also consider if any steps that have been taken to rehabilitate their behaviour.
The Court takes into account any remorse shown by the offender and if there have been any steps taken to rectify the harm. An example of this is if there is property damaged as a result and an offender compensates a victim.
They will also consider the purposes of sentencing when determining a sentence. This includes a variety of factors such as the need to punish the offender, the desire to provide general deterrence to the community by condemning the behaviour or even deterring the offender themselves from committing the offence in the future.
As every matter that comes before the Court is different, it is important anyone charged with a criminal offence receives proper advice. There are many ways a person can obtain the best outcome possible outcome in their case. It is important that you are provided with strong advice.
If you are charged with a criminal offence contact our office today.
Written by Lauren Hitchen.