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Criminal Law » Sentencing and Defences

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For those who regularly travel overseas, who work in government jobs, in finance or with children, or for those who generally wish to avoid a criminal conviction to maintain their reputation of good character, obtaining a section 10 is imperative. Avoiding a conviction A Court can, following a finding of guilt, exercise its discretion and… Read more »

Once a person is found guilty of an offence in NSW, the Court then considers the appropriate sentence. The options available to a court range from not recording a conviction through to sentencing an offender to a period of full-time imprisonment.

This sentencing option involves the court convicting the offender, however without imposing a period of imprisonment or a fine, discharging the person on a Conditional Release Order (CRO). A CRO will generally be imposed with a conviction, however the court does have a discretion to impose a CRO without recording a conviction. A CRO will… Read more »

This sentencing option involves the court convicting the offender, however without imposing a period of imprisonment, the court will make a Community Correction Order (CCO). A CCO can be imposed in addition to a fine.  A CCO will commence on the date on which it is made, and can be imposed for a period of… Read more »

This sentencing option involves the court convicting the offender and sentencing the offender to a period of imprisonment, however that period of imprisonment is served by way of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). An ICO therefore involves an offender serving their sentence of imprisonment in the community. If a person has only one charge, then… Read more »

The law provides that a sentence of gaol is only to be imposed if the court is satisfied that no other penalty is appropriate. Prior to sentencing a person to gaol the court will consider whether there were any alternatives that were appropriate, such as an intensive correction order, suspended gaol sentence or community service.

Forum Sentencing is a new sentencing option operating at selected NSW Local Courts. It involves bringing together an offender, their victim(s), and other people affected by a crime at a ‘Forum’.

The defence of provocation is a partial defence and may be raised to the charge of murder. A successful defence of provocation will reduce the charge of murder to voluntary manslaughter.

There are two circumstances in which evidence of intoxication can be used as a defence, when a person is charged with an offence of specific intent, or when the intoxication of the accused person was not self-induced.

Duress is a full defence and if established, the accused will be acquitted of the offence charged. Generally, duress may be raised by an accused as a defence to unlawful conduct when that conduct was committed in response to a threat of death or serious harm.

Self defence is provided for in section 418 of the Crimes Act 1914 and considers whether the accused believed that their conduct was necessary to defend themself, and whether what the accused did was a reasonable response in the circumstances as they perceived it.

The defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact is a defence open in many statutory offences, and requires the defendant to meet what is called an “evidentiary burden”.