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My legal matter concerning an application for a Domestic Violence Order was managed by Mr Thomas Allen. I am grateful for the outcome he obtained. Without Mr Allen and his ongoing support, I would be certain of a different result. It has been an extremely stressful period. Mr Allen’s astute ability to liaise on my behalf and his expertise was invaluable and for which I am grateful as I am now able to move forward. Thanking you
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Armstrong Legal and specifically Mr Thomas Allen for representing me in my recent case. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr Allen for the very professional delivery of his legal service. From the first time that I met Mr Allen, I was very impressed with his demeanour and delivery as he made me feel at ease knowing the severity of my case. Mr Allen not only gave me the possible positive outcomes of the case but also the realisation of the worst-case scenario as far as sentencing goes. … I will certainly be recommending Armstrong Legal to any of my friends or family needing representation in criminal matters. Thank you so very much.
Thank you for your representation and help. Fingers crossed for the next step and parole. I just want to say that from the first phone call to your office, your service has been outstanding and have put my mind at ease. I am glad I picked your number to ring.
Thank you Armstrong Legal, the lawyers that have helped over the past 3 years but more importantly, thank you to Thomas Allen for the major part you and Mr Buckland played. Cannot thank you enough. Cheers.
Hi all. I would like to thank Ms Lisa Riley for all her help with my legal issues this past month. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and thanks to her expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the law, I came out almost unscathed. I have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Riley and Armstrong Legal if you need help. The service is amazing and the cost was very minimal for the great outcome. Thank you Lisa for helping me in the most difficult time.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. My whole life I was thrown away, you made me feel like I did mean something. I could not have asked for a better lawyer. Your compassion and love for your job is inspiring. Your upfront and honesty were muchly appreciated, you are a beautiful person. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for all the work you put in. I wish you all the best for the future and I will be recommending you to everyone I know. You're amazing!!!!
I just wanted to thank you for representing me on Monday, I was overjoyed & relieved with the outcome. I don’t think it could have gone any better. All the best, I hope you got to celebrate this one instead after work, you forever made a difference in my life.
I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Sentencing Young Offenders (Vic)
When determining any sentence, a court must consider a number of sentencing objectives and principles. These include just punishment, general deterrence (deterring the community), specific deterrence (deterring the offender), denunciation of the offence, protecting the community and rehabilitation of the offender. When courts sentence young adults, they recognise that they lack the same maturity in their decision making as an older adult and that young offenders who are incarcerated have a higher risk of returning to custody than an older offender.
Who is a young offender?
In Victoria, an offender who is under 25 at the time of sentencing can be categorised as either a young offender or a youthful offender. In rare circumstances, the court has determined that the offender may benefit from being considered as a youthful offender beyond the age of 25. However, the courts have refused (regardless of circumstance) to extend the consideration of an offender as a youthful offender to beyond the age of 28 at the time of sentencing.
The Sentencing Act 1991 provides that an offender under the age of 21 is to be considered a young offender. Case law provides that an offender who is over 21 but under 25 at the time of sentencing may be considered a youthful offender and may attract similar considerations to young offenders.
Sentencing Considerations for Young Offenders
In R v Mills, the Court of Appeal in Victoria made rehabilitation the primary consideration in sentencing a young offender. In that case, the Court of Appeal identified three key principles relevant to the sentencing of a young offender. These are:
- That the court must consider an offender’s youth as the primary consideration in sentencing.
- In this regard, the onus is particularly placed on the court to consider the offender’s youth when sentencing a person that does not have any history of prior offending,
- That rehabilitation ‘usually far more important than general deterrence’ because punishment may in fact lead to further offending.
- In this regard, the court has indicated that rehabilitation has a greater benefit to the community as well as the offender in the role that it plays in minimising the risk of reoffending and that society will benefit more greatly when a young person is ‘led away from a life of crime’. When making this consideration, the court has considered the impact of other prisoners that the offender may be introduced to, and that may influence the offender if unnecessarily introduced to the prison system.
- That a young offender should not be sent to an adult prison unless sentencing of this nature is unavoidable, especially if they are beginning to appreciate the effect of their offending.
The principles for consideration when sentencing a young offender were further considered in R v Azzopardi. At this time, the Court of Appeal discussed the consideration of youth and immaturity when determining proportionality and sentencing a young offender.
In this regard, the court noted that because of immaturity, a young offender is ‘more prone to ill-considered or rash decisions’ and that they ‘may lack the degree of insight, judgement and self-control that is possessed by an adult’.
The court has also recognised in DPP (Vic) v Ellis that imprisonment may be more burdensome for a young offender than it would be for an offender of greater age. When sentencing a young offender, the court has dictated that, where possible, a young offender should be given an opportunity to reform, and that the sentence provided to a young offender should ‘fit the young offender more than it fits the crime’ (CNK at 644).
In both R v Mills and R v Azzopardi, the Victorian Court of Appeal has indicated that a young offender, should not, where possible be given a custodial sentence and that the court must consider whether options for rehabilitation through other means will achieve the objectives of sentencing for a young offender. These considerations include, whether rehabilitation can be achieved through programs that may be offered and required through the completion of a Community Corrections Order. The impact of the decision in R v Azzopardi is that the court may consider that a younger offender is less morally culpable than older offenders and that, where it is determined that a custodial sentence is necessary, a shorter sentence or shorter parole period may be appropriate in the circumstances.
When is rehabilitation not the primary consideration?
It is important to note that the principles outlined in R v Mills and the requirement that greater weight to be placed on rehabilitation when sentencing a young offender must be considered in conjunction with the seriousness of the offending before the court.
In R v Shoma, the Supreme Court of Victoria determined that whilst an offender’s youth remains a relevant factor to be considered by the court, youth will carry less weight in situations where there is a greater need for just punishment and community protection. This is particularly relevant in relation to offending of a terrorist nature. Similarly, the court will moderate the sentencing considerations for dealing with young offenders where offending arose from the use of alcohol or drugs, where offences consist of particularly violent acts such as “glassing” or where the victim was particularly vulnerable.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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