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Sentencing Principles in Queensland

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty after a trial, sentencing is the next step in the court process.

Sentencing is the practice of determining and applying the appropriate penalty for a person who has committed an offence. In imposing a sentence, the court must take into account a range of factors, including:

  • The maximum penalty for the offence (statute law);
  • Any minimum penalty for the offence (statute law);
  • Sentences imposed for similar cases, committed in similar circumstances (common law);
  • The nature and circumstances of the offences, including its seriousness and the harm caused to the victim;
  • Culpability; and,
  • Antecedents.

The role of the judge or magistrate at sentencing is to decide on an appropriate sentence. The purpose under Queensland law of the sentencing process is to:

  • Punish the offender to an extent or in a way that is just in all circumstances;
  • Help the offender to be rehabilitated;
  • Deterrence, both specific and general;
  • Denunciation, demonstrating to the community that the offender’s behaviour is condoned; and,
  • Community protection.  

The role of the prosecutor is to assist the judge or the magistrate in the following ways:

  • Outline the facts and circumstances of the offence, including any aggravating factors;
  • Providing the offenders criminal history to the court, and highlighting any relevant prior offending;
  • Submissions regarding the impact of the offending on the victim;
  • Submissions regarding appropriate sentence based on relevant case law, legislations and other associated sentencing principles.

The role of the defence during the sentencing process is to also assist the judge or magistrate in the following ways:

  • Outline the offenders’ personal circumstances, and character references;
  • Provide background and contextual information regarding the offending, particularly any mitigating circumstances,
  • Submissions regarding the steps the offender has taken towards rehabilitation, including those without court intervention;
  • Submissions regarding appropriate sentence based on relevant case law, legislations and other associated sentencing principles.

Our team specialize in criminal defence. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

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