A combination sentence is usually taken to mean one that combines an element of full-time prison with other options, with an aim of assisting the rehabilitation of offenders, and, thereby, the long-term protection of the community.
Combination sentences can, however, be used for a multitude of offences, and in a multitude of ways.
Section 29 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 provides that, if an offence is punishable by imprisonment, the court may impose a sentence (a combination sentence) consisting of 2 or more of the following:
- full-time imprisonment;
- an Intensive Correction Order (but not in combination with a sentence of full-time imprisonment, a suspended sentence of imprisonment or a good behaviour order);
- a suspended sentence;
- a good behaviour order (which may not be set to start at a time when the offender may be serving full-time detention or be on parole: Section 31 (2)).
- a fine;
- a driver-licence disqualification;
- a reparation order;
- a non-association order;
- a place-restriction order;
- an order imposing another penalty available under any other ACT law.
The following are examples of sentences that might be imposed on an offender who has been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment:
Example A: a sentence of 18 months as follows:
- Imprisonment for 1 year with no non-parole period.
- A fine order directing payment of $500 by stated instalments.
- A good behaviour order for 6 months (the remainder of the term of the sentence).
- A driver-licence disqualification order for all of the sentence.
Example B: a sentence of 3 years and 6 months as follows:
- An order for 3 years imprisonment with no non-parole period.
- A good behaviour order for 6 months (the remainder of the term of the sentence) and a concurrent non-association order.
The court must not make an order that forms part of a combination sentence unless the court would have power to make the order otherwise than as part of a combination sentence.
Section 30 of the Act provides that if an offence is not punishable by imprisonment (except in default of payment of a fine), the court sentencing the offender may impose a sentence (also a combination sentence) consisting of 2 or more of the following orders:
- A good behaviour order;
- A fine;
- Licence disqualification;
- A non-association order;
- A place-restriction order;
- An order imposing another penalty available under any other ACT law.
Timing of Combination Sentences
Section 31 of the Act provides that a court may set the start or end of the period of any part of a combination sentence, or of any order forming part of the sentence, by reference to anything the court considers appropriate, including, for example:
- a stated day; or
- the lapse of a stated period of time; or
- whenever a stated event happens, or whenever the earlier or later of 2 or more stated events happens.
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