What are the key principles of sentencing that guide the Court in deciding on the sentence?
- When the Court decides on the sentence to impose against you, he aims to find a sentence that will fit both the offence and the offender i.e. the sentence should proportionately and appropriately reflect the seriousness of the offence and your level of culpability.
- In deciding on the type and amount of sentence to impose, the Court will generally consider and balance 4 main sentencing principles:
- Retribution: the reasoning behind this principle is that the offender must suffer the penalty for the criminal act which he has carried out. Importantly, the principle of retribution includes the rule that the punishment must appropriately, proportionately and accurately reflect and fit the seriousness of the criminal act committed and the harm it has caused.
- Deterrence: the reasoning behind this principle is that other potential offenders must be deterred and reminded that they should not commit similar offences. This principle includes 2 other categories:
- General deterrence: the objective of this purpose is to educate members of the general public and deter other potential offenders by making an example of one particular offender to send a strong message that such offences will not be tolerated and will be punished severely.
- Specific deterrence: he objective of this purpose is to educate and deter the specific individual offender (e.g. a repeat offender) by sending a strong message that his particularly reprehensible actions (e.g. unrepentant behaviour) will not be tolerated and they will be punished severely.
- Prevention: the reasoning behind this principle is that the offender must be physically incapacitated and removed from general public society because the members of the general public need to be protected from his dangerous behaviour and conduct.
- Rehabilitation: the reasoning behind this principle is that the offender should be given an opportunity to reform himself from his offending behaviour and into a law-abiding person. This principle takes a higher priority and is a greater consideration in cases involving young offenders and persons below 21 years of age.