Deferral Of Sentence
A court that finds a person guilty can make an order adjourning the proceedings for a maximum of 12 months for a number of specific purposes. The purposes which a court can adjourn the proceedings are set out in Section 11 (1) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW). These purposes are set out below:
- Assessing the offender’s capacity and prospects for rehabilitation; or
- Allowing the offender to demonstrate that rehabilitation has taken place; or
- Assessing the offender’s capacity and prospects for participation in an intervention program, or
- Allowing the offender to participate in an intervention program, or
- For any other purpose the court considers appropriate in the circumstances.
Purpose of Legislation
In the decision of R v Trindall the Court Of Criminal Appeal in NSW explained the purpose behind the adjourning of a matter for rehabilitation. They said the following:
“Often a court experiences difficulty when sentencing an offender in determining the offender’s prospects of rehabilitation and whether the foreshadowed rehabilitation will occur. In many instances it will be of great assistance to the sentencing judge if there is an adjournment to enable the offender to demonstrate that rehabilitation has taken place or is well on the way. That was the present case. It is so much better for the court to have evidence of what has actually taken place than to have to base its decision on the opinions of experts, assertions by the offender and what has happened over a short period of time, that is, since the commission of the offence or the offender’s arrest.”
Examples of Terms or Conditions that May be Imposed
A reporting condition: The Court may require the defendant to report to the officer in charge of police at a particular police station on certain days of the week, between certain times. Alternatively, or in addition, a Court may require the defendant to report to a particular office of the NSW Probation Service within a specified period of time and to comply with all reasonable directions given by an officer of that service.
A residential condition: The Court may require the defendant to reside at a particular rehabilitation centre or a centre run by the Salvation Army for alcoholics during the period of the adjournment.
A condition to enter an intervention program: The accused may agree to undertake an intervention or other program for assessment or rehabilitation purposes.
A counselling condition: The Court may require the defendant to seek counselling for drug or alcohol abuse, or to attend Narcotics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous meetings during the period of the adjournment. The Court may require the defendant to seek treatment from a psychologist or psychiatrist during the period of adjournment.
A condition that the defendant or an acceptable person forfeit money upon failure to comply with the bail undertaking: Any of the usual requirements as to bail can be imposed. For example, the accused may agree to forfeit an amount of money if he or she does not comply with the terms of the bail undertaking or the Court may require an acceptable person to agree to forfeit a certain amount of money if the defendant does not comply with the bail undertaking.
A condition of good behaviour: The Court may require the accused to be of good behaviour for the period of the adjournment.
If the accused breaches any conditions of their bail the Court can issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused. When the offender appears before the court, the Court can then proceed to deal with the matter immediately and sentence the offender or re-release them on bail.
WHERE TO NEXT?
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.