This article was written by Aurhett Barrie - Solicitor – Sydney

As a former Judge’s Associate Aurhett has rare insight into how cases are heard and decided. This knowledge allows him to persuasively advocate for his clients’ interests, both inside and outside of a courtroom. He has spent his career practising exclusively in criminal and traffic law and has advised hundreds of clients on an extensive range of matters. He takes...

Good Behaviour Bond


A good behaviour bond was an order available to a sentencing court that required an offender to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The powers to order a person to enter a good behaviour bond were repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with powers to order a person to enter a Conditional Release Order (CRO) or Community Corrections Order (CCO).

When Were Good Behaviour Bonds Made?

A good behaviour bond could be made under section 9, 10 or 12 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW). A section 9 bond would follow a conviction (criminal record) being recorded and could be made for a maximum of 5 years. It could only be made if the maximum penalty for the offence included imprisonment.

A Section 10 bond would follow a finding of guilt without conviction and could be made for a maximum period of 2 years. It could be made whether or not the maximum penalty for the offence included imprisonment.

A Section 12 bond followed after a person was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment but received a suspended sentence meaning the person released from custody after entering into a good behaviour bond. Such a bond could be made for a period that did not exceed the term of imprisonment and, in any event, did not exceed 2 years.

What happened to Good Behaviour Bonds when the Law Changed?

Good behaviour bonds were automatically converted to Conditional Release Orders (CRO) (if made under s 10) or Community Corrections Orders (CCO) (if made under s 9) on 24 September 2018. Bonds made pursuant to s 12 continue to operate until they expire.

Conditions of Good Behaviour Bonds

Good behaviour bonds had two compulsory conditions:

  1. that the offender would appear before the Court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the bond; and
  2. that during the term of the bond the person would be of good behaviour.

Further conditions that could be attached to a bond were at the discretion of the court. Some of the most common conditions included:

Supervision by Community Corrections

A court could order that an offender be supervised by Community Corrections NSW (formerly Probation and Parole). Normally a court would order that the supervision condition remain in place for as long as Community Corrections deemed it necessary.

Counselling

A court could order that an offender attend drug- or alcohol-abuse counselling, or anger management counselling, and make attendance a condition of a good behaviour bond.

Residence at a Rehabilitation Centre

A court could order that an offender reside at a particular rehabilitation centre for a period of time as a condition of a good behaviour bond.

Conditions that Could not be Ordered

A court could not make it a condition of a bond that an offender pay compensation to the victim of the crime. Instead, compensation orders are made through the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013.

A court could not make it a condition of a bond that an offender perform community service work. This may be made a condition of a CCO.

Breaches of Good Behaviour Bonds

A good behaviour bond could be breached by:

  • committing another offence of any kind; or
  • failing to abide by any conditions that were set (e.g. not attending counselling or missing appointments with community corrections)

If a court suspected that the person had breached a condition of a bond the person could be “called-up” (required to appear) before the court which could do any one of the following:

  • take no action;
  • vary the conditions of the bond;
  • impose further conditions on the bond; or
  • revoke the bond and re-sentence the person (which would often result in a harsher penalty).

Travel and Good Behaviour Bonds

Whether or not a person could travel overseas while serving a good behaviour bond depended on two things:

  • any conditions that were attached to the bond that would either directly or indirectly prevent him or her from leaving Australia; and/or
  • the visa requirements of the particular country the person wished to enter.

Convictions and Good Behaviours Bonds

Whether a person received a criminal conviction with a bond depended on the power through which the bond was ordered. A bond that was made pursuant to s 10 would not carry an associated criminal conviction, whereas a bond made pursuant to section 9 or 12 would.

What Happened at the End of a Bond?

If a person adhered to the conditions of their good behaviour bond for the required time the bond would automatically expire. If a person committed an offence before the expiration of the bond, but that offence was only brought to the attention of the court after the expiration of the bond, the person could still be “called-up” on the original breach.

If you require legal advice in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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