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Recognizance release orders

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton
Andrew Tiedt

A Commonwealth (Federal) court can impose a recognizance release order for any commonwealth criminal offence. A recognizance release order involves an order that an offender be of good behaviour for a period of time. If they are of good behaviour for that period there is no further punishment.

There are 3 different types of recognizance release orders that a federal court can impose. The major difference between each of the orders is the repercussions for breaching the order. Details of the 3 different types of orders are set out below in the order of their severity:

  • The first is an order that an offender be of good behavior for a period of time pursuant to section 20(1)(a) of the Commonwealth Crimes Act. If the offender breaches the order the offender may be re-sentenced and the court is free to impose any sentence they think appropriate.
  • The second order that can be imposed is similar to a suspended sentence that a NSW state Court could impose. It involves the court imposing a prison sentence upon the offender and directs that the person be released immediately, upon them entering into a good behaviour bond for a specified period pursuant to section 20(1)(b) of the Commonwealth Crimes Act. If an offender breaches the good behaviour bond the offender is likely to serve the prison sentence the court imposed.
  • The third order is like parole under the state system. After a federal offender serves their prison sentence imposed by the court they are then released on a recognizance release order for a period of the time the court sets pursuant to section 20(1)(b) of the Commonwealth Crimes Act. If the offender breaches this recognizance release order they will serve the balance of the order in prison.

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