Sentencing reforms for historical crimes introduced to Parliament
Offenders convicted of historical offences will be sentenced according to current sentencing patterns and practices, under a bill introduced into Parliament.
Attorney General Mark Speakman, who second read the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Amendment Bill 2022, said the bill will generally require NSW courts to apply current sentencing practices to perpetrators of all crimes, regardless of when those crimes were committed.
“Currently, courts must apply the sentencing patterns and practices that were in place at the time an offence was committed, instead of at the time of sentencing, except in cases of child sexual abuse,” Mr Speakman said.
“Those historical patterns don’t always reflect current community standards or expectations of our justice system.
“This bill expands upon the NSW Government’s 2018 reforms which ensured that child sex offenders are sentenced according to contemporary practices, as recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
“The bill does not change existing maximum penalties or standard non-parole periods.
“The bill will also address a drafting gap in relation to Intensive Correction Orders, which was inherited from the former Labor Government’s Crimes (Sentencing Legislation) Amendment (Intensive Correction Orders) Act 2010.
“That drafting had excluded certain child and adult sexual offences from Intensive Correction Orders, but not if they had occurred before 2000. The NSW Government’s bill will ensure that this exclusion will apply regardless of when the offence was committed or under what provision it is charged.
“Both sets of amendments will ensure that sentences for historical offences are consistent with current community standards, that they reflect community expectations, and that courts are not obliged to perpetuate past sentencing errors or to maintain historically inadequate sentencing patterns,” Mr Speakman said.