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Armed robbery Case study for VELS. 2 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 1. What is sentencing? What laws guide a judge when sentencing? Photo: John French.

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Presentation on theme: "Armed robbery Case study for VELS. 2 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 1. What is sentencing? What laws guide a judge when sentencing? Photo: John French."— Presentation transcript:

1 Armed robbery Case study for VELS

2 2 Sentencing Advisory Council, What is sentencing? What laws guide a judge when sentencing? Photo: John French / Courtesy of The Age Chief Justice Marilyn Warren of the Supreme Court of Victoria

3 3 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Who is responsible for sentencing? In Australia, responsibility for sentencing is spread among three groups Parliament ~ makes the laws ~ Government ~ puts laws into operation ~ Courts ~ interpret the laws ~  Creates offences and decides what the maximum penalties will be  Makes the rules that the courts must apply to cases  Sets up punishments for judges and magistrates to use  Apply the law within the framework set up by parliament  Set specific sentences for individual offenders  Correctional authorities (e.g. prisons) – control offenders after sentencing  Adult Parole Board – supervises offenders who are on parole

4 4 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Where is sentencing law found? Sentencing Act 1991 Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 Common law – previous court judgments Various Acts and Regulations creating particular offences, for example: – Crimes Act 1958 deals with a range of crimes, including injury offences – Road Safety Act 1986 deals with a range of driving offences, including drink driving and drug driving

5 5 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Types of sentences  Imprisonment  Drug treatment order  Community correction order  Fine  Adjourned undertaking Most severe Least severe

6 6 Sentencing Advisory Council, Sentencing theory What must a judge consider when deciding what sentence to impose? Source: Victorian Sentencing Manual, Judicial College of Victoria

7 7 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Purposes of sentencing These are the ONLY purposes for which sentences can be given Sentencing Act 1991 s 5(1) PURPOSES OF SENTENCING Community protection Deterrence Rehabilitation Denunciation Just punishment

8 8 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Principle of parsimony Sentencing Act 1991 ss 5(3)  (7) Parsimony ~ extreme care when imposing punishment ~ Where a choice of punishment exists, the judge should take care to choose the least severe option that will achieve the purposes of sentencing Example - If there is a choice between imposing a fine or a community correction order, a fine should be imposed provided it meets the purposes of sentencing

9 9 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Factors that must be considered Sentencing Act 1991 s 5(2) Aggravating or mitigating factors Maximum penalty & current sentencing practices Type of offence & how serious Circumstances of the offender Victim Relevant Acts of Parliament & previous court decisions Factors making the crime worse, intention, effects, method, motive, weapons, role the offender played Prior offences, age, character, & mental state. Alcohol, drug, or gambling addiction. Personal crisis, guilty plea Impact of crime on victim (e.g. psychological or physical trauma), material or financial loss Factors that increase or lessen the seriousness of the crime Victim Impact Statement Factors that must be considered when sentencing

10 10 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Victim Impact Statements If a court finds a person guilty, a victim of the offence may make a Victim Impact Statement (VIS) A VIS contains details of any injury, loss, or damage suffered by the victim as a direct result of the offence A person who has made a VIS can request that it be read aloud during the sentencing hearing

11 11 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 How long is a sentence? Cumulative  sentences for two or more crimes that run one after the other, e.g. two x five-year prison sentences served cumulatively = 10 years in prison Concurrent  sentences for two or more crimes that run at the same time, e.g. two x five-year prison sentences served concurrently = five years in prison The total effective sentence (TES) (or head sentence)  the total imprisonment sentence for all offences within a case, after orders making sentences cumulative or concurrent

12 12 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Non-parole period Parole is the prisoner’s release from prison before the end of his or her total possible prison sentence, subject to conditions (e.g. regular reporting to a parole officer) A non-parole period: is set by the court is the part of the sentence that must be served in prison must be set by the court for sentences of two years or more may or may not be set for sentences of one to two years is not set if the sentence is less than one year

13 13 Sentencing Advisory Council, The crime and the time What is armed robbery? What is the maximum penalty?

14 14 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Armed robbery A person is guilty of armed robbery if he or she commits any robbery and at the time has with him or her a firearm, imitation firearm, offensive weapon, explosive, or imitation explosive. A person guilty of armed robbery is guilty of an indictable offence Maximum penalty The maximum penalty for armed robbery is Level 2 imprisonment (maximum 25 years’ imprisonment) and/or a fine of 3,000 penalty units Crimes Act 1958 s 75A(1)  (2)

15 15 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Armed robbery  people sentenced

16 16 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Armed robbery  sentence types

17 17 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Age & gender of people sentenced

18 18 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Total effective sentence & non-parole period

19 19 Sentencing Advisory Council, The case What are the facts of this case?

20 20 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 The offender Bradley Flint is 19 years old He was 18 at the time of the offence He has been found guilty of one count of armed robbery

21 21 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 The crime 1 Bradley went into his local milkbar, took a can of soft drink from the fridge, and went to the counter He took a knife from his pocket, pointed it at the female shopkeeper, and said, ‘Money, quickly!’ The shopkeeper took a $10 note from the cash register Bradley grabbed the $10 and ran from the store with the can of soft drink

22 22 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 The crime 2 Bradley ran down a laneway near the store He hid the knife behind a wall He caught a bus home, using the $10 note to buy his bus ticket He was arrested soon after and taken to the local police station At the police station, he was charged with armed robbery

23 23 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 Factors for consideration Bradley was 18 when he committed the offence He pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity He has four prior juvenile convictions for theft, driving offences, and cannabis possession Bradley had an unstable home life. His parents separated when he was five years old He is a regular cannabis user, a habit he started when he was 11 years old He left school after Year 11 and worked briefly as an apprentice bricklayer. He is now unemployed

24 24 Sentencing Advisory Council, The sentence What sentence would you give? Photo: Department of Justice & Regulation

25 25 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 You decide … What sentence would you give? If imprisonment, what would be the total effective sentence and the non-parole period? If a community correction order, what would be the length of the order? If a fine, what would be the amount of the fine?

26 26 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 The maximum penalty Armed robbery A person found guilty of armed robbery is liable to Level 2 imprisonment and/or fine Maximum 25 years and/or 3,000 penalty units Crimes Act 1958 s 75A(1)  (2) Bradley Flint is guilty of one count of armed robbery and could receive: possible maximum imprisonment of 25 years possible maximum fine of 3,000 penalty units

27 27 Sentencing Advisory Council, 2015 What the judge decided Bradley Flint’s case, County Court Two years community correction order Conditions – report to a community corrections worker for supervision – attend treatment for alcohol and drug addiction – complete 100 hours of unpaid community work

28 28 Sentencing Advisory Council, Conclusion Effective sentencing achieves a balance between the interests of society, the concerns of the victim, and the best interests of the offender The more information society has about crimes and the people involved in them, the more reasonable it is in its demands about sentencing Photo: Department of Justice & Regulation


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