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Good Behaviour Bonds (Qld)

In Queensland, courts have the option of sentencing a person found guilty of a criminal offence to a good behaviour bond. This sentencing option allows the courts to release an offender into the community on conditions, including the condition that they do not commit any further criminal offences. These bonds are also known as a recognisance, which is a promise to be of good behaviour for a set period of time. Good behaviour bonds may include a condition that a surety (a guarantee or an amount of money) be made as well as any other conditions that the court thinks are appropriate in the circumstances. A person who is sentenced to a good behaviour bond may or may not have a conviction entered against them, depending on the type of bond that is imposed.

There are three kinds of good behaviour bonds that can be imposed under the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992. They are:

  • a bond under section 19;
  • a bond under sections 30, 31 or 32;
  • a bond under section 24.

Good behaviour bonds under section 19

Good behaviour bonds can be issued under section 19 for any indictable or summary offence under any Queensland Act or law. The person has been found guilty of the offence, but no conviction will be recorded against them.

If a person has been found guilty of a minor drug offence, a section 19 bond may be given to allow them to enter into the court diversion program. One of the conditions of release on the bond is that they attend the program.

Drug diversion is available for those who have been charged with:

  • possession of less than the schedule amount of a dangerous drug;
  • possession of anything used to administer a drug
  • failing to take proper care of, or failure to safely dispose of, a syringe.

This means that drug diversion is not available for matters that must be heard in the Supreme Court. Drug diversion is not available to a person who is charged with, or has past convictions for:

  • a sexual offence;
  • an offence of trafficking, supply, production or possession of dangerous drugs that was heard, or will be heard, in the Supreme Court;
  • indictable offences that were committed using violence (not including common assault or serious assault).

Good behaviour bonds under section 24

Good behaviour bonds are issued under section 24 if a person is found guilty of an offence relating to property damage or stealing. A conviction will not be recorded against the person unless they breach the bond and are required to come back to court to be re-sentenced.

When a person enters a bond, the court will adjourn sentencing to a date not more than six months off and release them on the recognisance. They must come back to court to be sentenced if they are directed to do so.

As well as the condition that the person be of good behaviour, there can be other conditions attached to the bond that the person return or restore the property stolen or damaged, or that they pay compensation for any damage they have caused.

Good behaviour bonds under sections 30, 31 and 32

Good behaviour bonds are issued under section 30 for indictable offences. If a person is convicted on indictment the court may order that they be released on a bond (with or without sureties) for a specified period. This may be in addition to, or instead of, any other sentencing order.

The defendant will be imprisoned until they enter into the bond, although they cannot be held for longer than one year under these circumstances.

Section 31 bonds apply to summary offences. These bonds can only be imposed for a period of up to one year and will require that the person keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Section 32 bonds can be imposed instead of any other penalty that the court has the power to impose.  

Breaching a recognisance

If a person is sentenced to any good behaviour bond in Queensland and the court is satisfied that they have failed to comply with a condition, the bond may be forfeited and a warrant issued for the person’s arrest.

If a forfeiture order is made, the person will lose any surety they promised under the bond.

Under the warrant, the person can be arrested at any time, bought back to court and re-sentenced for the original offending as well as being dealt with for any new offences.

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

Fernanda Dahlstrom

This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She has also completed a Master’s in Writing and Literature. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

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