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Special circumstances justified reducing a non-parole period that exceeded 75% of the total sentence

On appeal to the District Court from sentences imposed by a Local Court, the accused in Carratt v R [2016] NSWDC 7 benefitted from a modest reduction of his non-parole periods. The accused was convicted after guilty pleas to two counts of larceny (shoplifting), contravening a domestic violence order, and intentionally causing property damage.

Sentence imposed by Local Court

Incarceration was, in the District Court’s view, the only option to punish Carratt’s misconduct. Carratt had received good behaviour bonds and suspended sentences in the past, but he had a history of breaching the bonds.

The Local Court gave Carratt a good behaviour bond on one shoplifting count. On the remaining offences, Carratt was given an aggregate sentence of 20 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 15 months and 22 days.

The District Court noted that non-parole periods do not typically exceed 75 percent of the total sentence, although section 44 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedures) Act (NSW) does not limit the length of the non-parole period that the court chooses.

Facts justifying sentence reduction

The District Court determined that special circumstances warranted a sentence reduction. Carratt was 26 and was being sentenced to prison for the first time. He has been assaulted a number of times in prison and he expressed a sincere desire to avoid returning to prison. He wants to return to his psychologist and reengage in treatment.

Carratt’s criminal record is relatively short and is largely attributable to drug problems. His family is supportive and his father may be able to secure employment for him. He wants to take a rigger’s course which would improve his employment opportunities.

The Director of Public Prosecutions did not oppose the request for a shortened non-parole period.

District Court’s decision

The District Court did not vary the length of the sentences imposed but did reduce Carratt’s non-parole period by two months. While on parole, Carratt must reengage with his treating psychologist.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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