There are numerous sentencing options available to magistrates and judges. Before sentencing, the court may wish to order a pre-sentence report. Reports and references may be provided to the court, relevant to the defendant’s personal circumstances. This may include medical reports, character references, proof of income/employment or other relevant documents.
When deciding upon the penalty there are a large number of issues the court must take into account. Such issues may relate to the defendant’s medical condition, their age, past offending history, responsibilities to other family members, degree of remorse for their actions and any compensation made. Similarly, the court must take into account the needs of the victim, the effects of the crime on the victim and the protection of the general community. General and personal deterrence are also factors.
The court has the discretion to imposes one or more of the following:
- A finding of guilty, without recording a conviction
- An order for the payment of compensation
- A Bond to be of good behaviour and, if the bond is breached the matter may be brought back before the court for re-sentencing
- A term of imprisonment but suspended on condition of the defendant enters into a good behaviour bond. The term of imprisonment may be imposed if the bond is breached and no good reason exists for excusing the breach. A breach can occur either by re-offending or by failing to comply with the conditions of the bond (e.g., not reporting for supervision)
- An immediate term of imprisonment. If the term is greater than 12 months, then a non-parole period is set
- Upon conviction, a restraining order may be imposed against the defendant
- A conviction, but without further penalty
- A monetary fine.
In the District or Supreme Court it is the judge, not the jury who decide the penalty. The court does not generally order a sentence of imprisonment but with home detention. Home detention during a sentence is at the discretion of the Correctional Services.