Convicted felons may soon be subjected to contemporary sentencing practices in New South Wales, regardless of when the offense was committed, under a bill drafted by the government.
Attorney General Mark Speakman said that with the exception of child sexual abuse, courts refer to sentencing practices from the time a crime has been committed, ignoring the “current position” of the community. on an offense.
“This is especially the case with heinous acts like sexual assault or domestic violence,” Speakman said.
“Asking the courts to put themselves in a judge’s shoes years or decades earlier can be impractical, inefficient and produce inconsistent results.”
Courts will still be guided by the maximum sentence and any standard period of non-parole from the time of the offense, but historic offenders will now face the prospect of harsher sentences.
“It is unacceptable that an offender receives more lenient treatment simply because he has dodged detection by the police, or his offense has not yet been reported by an often traumatized victim,” said Mr Speakman. .
The proposed reform comes after a review by the NSW government of historic sentencing practices, which engaged legal experts, victims’ rights groups and law enforcement.
It follows legislation from 2018 which ensured that child sex offenders are sentenced in accordance with contemporary practices following a recommendation from a royal commission.
Stakeholders will be consulted on a draft exhibition law this year and a final draft law will be tabled in 2022.
Associated Australian Press