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Sentencing Advisory Council

Sentencing Advisory Council reports

Listing of final reports produced by the Sentencing Advisory Council.

Recent reports 

Sentencing appeals in Tasmania

The Sentencing Advisory Council released it research paper on sentencing appeals in Tasmania on 27 August 2019.

Research Paper No. 4: Sentencing Appeals in Tasmania provides information about the operation of two areas of appeal against sentence for offenders sentenced under the Tasmania Sentencing Act 1997 -

  1. from decisions of magistrates in the Magistrates Court to the Supreme Court (called motions to review), and
  2. from decisions of single judges in the Supreme Court to the Court of Criminal Appeal (called appeals).

Appeals against conviction were not included in the research.

The Paper makes a number of key findings in relation to the appeals and their outcomes, and looks at whether offenders had legal representation during the process.

The paper also compares the success rate for appeals against sentence in Tasmania with those in NSW and Victoria.

Download document

Research Paper No. 4: Sentencing Appeals in Tasmania (pdf, 845.6 KB)


Sentencing for serious sex offences against children

The Sentencing Advisory Council released its research paper on sentencing for serious sex offences against children on 19 December 2018.

The Research Paper examines the trends in sentencing in Tasmania for serious sex offences against children. In this Paper the Council examines sentencing data from the Court of Criminal Appeal and the Supreme Court of Tasmania for the period 1 January 2015 to 30 September 2018 and compares it with the sentencing data for the period 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2014.  The paper identifies a marked upward trend in sentences imposed for these crimes under the Sentencing Act 1997.

Sentencing for Serious Sex Offences against Children Research Paper 3 (pdf, 737.9 KB)


Statutory sentencing discounts for pleas of guilty

The Sentencing Advisory Council released its final report on statutory sentencing reductions for pleas of guilty on 7 November 2018.

This report was prepared following a request in August 2017 from the Acting Attorney-General, the Hon Matthew Groom, in response to concerns regarding delays in criminal proceedings in Tasmania and late resolving guilty pleas.

The report examines the current approach in Tasmania to the reduction of sentence for a guilty plea, and the legislative approaches in other Australian and relevant international jurisdictions.

Taking into account the findings from its research and stakeholder consultation, the Council makes nine recommendations addressing some of the systemic factors contributing to court delays in Tasmania, and setting out some parameters around the possible introduction of a statutory sentence reduction scheme for guilty pleas in Tasmania.

Final Report No. 10: Statutory Sentencing Discount for Pleas of Guilty (pdf, 2.2 MB)


Previous Reports

Mandatory treatment for alcohol and drug affected offenders

The Sentencing Advisory Council released its research paper on the implementation of mandatory treatment for alcohol and drug affected offenders on 21 December 2017.

This was Stage 2 of a referral from the Attorney-General to examine putting into effect compulsory offender treatment programs in prison and the community for a range of offences.  Stage 1 of the referral concerned mandatory treatment for sex offenders, and the research paper for this Stage was released on 16 February 2017.

Research Paper No. 2 considers mandatory treatment for offenders with substance abuse problems in four situations:

  1. in prison
  2. as part of a drug-treatment order
  3. as part of a parole order, and
  4. as part of a community-based sanction.

It considers justifications for creating a mandatory treatment regime and the legal mechanisms that may be used to achieve that outcome.

As this is a research paper it does not provide recommendations for action.  Nevertheless, it does consider the strengths and weaknesses of the various mechanisms that could be used to expand the requirements in prison and the community for mandatory treatment for offenders with substance abuse issues in Tasmania.

Mandatory Treatment for Alcohol and Drug Affected Offenders Research Paper (pdf, 618.0 KB)


Sentencing of driving offences that result in death or injury final report

The Sentencing Advisory Council released its final report on sentencing of driving offences that result in death or injury on 26 April 2017.

The report examines the sentences imposed by the Tasmanian courts in cases where a person is seriously injured and killed as a result of a motor vehicle crash. The report provides advice on how any identified problems may be addressed, and makes specific recommendations in the areas of:

  • Restorative justice
  • The availability of comments on passing sentence
  • Renaming the offence of negligent driving
  • Alternative verdicts.

Sentencing of Driving Offences that Result in Death or Injury Final Report (pdf, 1.5 MB)


Mandatory treatment for sex offenders research paper

The Sentencing Advisory Council released its research paper on the implementation of mandatory treatment for sex offenders in custody and in the community on 16 February 2017.

This was Stage 1 of a referral from the Attorney-General to examine putting into effect compulsory offender treatment programs in prison and in the community for a range of offences.

The paper considers mandatory treatment for sex offenders in prison and in the community. It considers the justifications for creating a mandatory treatment regime and the legal mechanisms that may be used to achieve that outcome. However, the paper does not consider the treatment of young sex offenders, nor does it evaluate existing treatment programs.

As this is a research paper it does not provide recommendations for action. Nevertheless, it does set out various models for reform.

Mandatory Treatment for Sex Offenders Research Paper (pdf, 693.1 KB)


Mandatory sentencing for serious sex offences against children final report

The Sentencing Advisory Council investigated the implementation in Tasmania of mandatory minimum sentencing for serious sex offences against children following a request from the Attorney-General. It released its final report on 15 November 2016.

The report is divided into 2 Parts:

  • Part A examines objections to the implementation of a mandatory minimum sentencing scheme in Tasmania and reiterates an earlier Council recommendation that such a scheme not be introduced in Tasmania.
  • Part B discusses the implementation of a mandatory scheme and provides preliminary advice on the structure and coverage of a mandatory scheme, and levels of mandatory minimum sentences.

Mandatory Sentencing for Serious Sex Offences against Children Final Report (pdf, 1.2 MB)


Phasing out suspended sentences

The Sentencing Advisory Council released its final report on phasing out suspended sentences in Tasmania on 30 March 2016.

The paper examines Tasmania's current use of suspended sentences. It then examines how to phase out suspended sentences in Tasmania and makes 55 recommendations concerning the approach to phasing out suspended sentences.

Phasing out Suspended Sentences Final Report (pdf, 4.7 MB)


Sentencing of Adult Family Violence Offenders Final Report

The Sentencing Advisory Council released its final report on the sentencing of adult family violence offenders on 7 December 2015.

The report was prepared following a request from the then Attorney-General, the Hon Brian Wightman MP, following the identification of a number of problems relating to the sentencing of family violence offenders in a series of reports presented to the then Government.

This report provides advice on the sentencing of adult family violence offenders in Tasmania and includes consideration of the range and adequacy of sentencing options and support programs available and the role of specialist family violence lists or courts in dealing with family violence matters. The Council was not required to provide recommendations but the Report offers 12 observations about current sentencing practices for these offences.

Sentencing of Adult Family Violence Offenders Final Report (pdf, 973.9 KB)


Sex Offence Sentencing Final Report 

The Sentencing Advisory Council’s Final Report on Sex Offence Sentencing has been prepared by the Council following the raising of concerns that sentencing for sexual offences in Tasmania was out of step with sentencing for comparable offences in other Australian jurisdictions and/or community standards and expectations.

The terms of reference asked the Council to report on existing sentencing practices in the Tasmanian Supreme Court regarding sex offences and to provide advice on how to address any inadequacies.

The Council was also asked to gauge public opinion on this matter. The research and public responses have been incorporated into this final report which makes 15 recommendations.

Sex Offence Sentencing Final Report (pdf, 1.9 MB)


Non Conviction Sentences Final Report No.3

The Sentencing Advisory Council were asked to provide advice on the implications for an offender of a court not recording a conviction following a finding of guilt, and specifically whether a fine should be able to be imposed if a conviction is not recorded.

Non Conviction Sentences Final Report No.3 (pdf, 1.3 MB)


Assaults on Emergency Service Workers Final Report No.2

This report makes recommendations to the Attorney-General in relation to the issue of assault on emergency service workers in Tasmania.

Assaults on Emergency Service Workers Final Report No.2 (pdf, 439.4 KB)


Arson and Deliberately Lit Fires Final Report No. 1

This report makes recommendations to the Attorney-General in relation to the serious issue of arson and deliberately lit fires in Tasmania.

Arson and Deliberately Lit Fires Final Report No. 1 (pdf, 386.5 KB)