What is a sentencing hearing in a criminal case?

4. Understand the purposes and principles of sentencing

The judge should consider the main purposes of sentencing. These are to:

  • Show society's disapproval of unlawful conduct.
  • Stop the offender and others from committing crimes.
  • Keep the offender away from the community if necessary.
  • Rehabilitate the offender.
  • Make amends to victims and the community.
  • Encourage the offender to take responsibility for their actions.

Sentencing principles

The Criminal Code has sentencing principles and procedures that help the judge decide how to you. These include:

  • Your sentence should be similar to those given to other people who committed similar crimes in similar circumstances.
  • If you've been given consecutive sentences, the combined sentence should not be overly long or harsh.
  • The court should consider all possible punishments, other than sending you to jail. You should not be sent to jail if another punishment would be appropriate.
  • If your sentence could affect your immigration and increase your risk of being deported.

The sentence the judge decides on must be reasonable. It should reflect the level of harm caused to the victims of the crime or community. The court should pay particularly close attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders.

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