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The New Sentencing and Parole Acts

This book is only available in PDF format
Author(s): Professor Geoffrey G Hall, Stephen O'Driscoll
Published: 4 June, 2002
Pages: 161



The Sentencing & Parole Reform Bill will become law on 30 June 2002. The Criminal Justice Act 1985 will be repealed essentially in all but name only and replaced by two Acts, namely, the Sentencing Act and the Parole Act. This booklet and the accompanying seminar considers the new legislation.

The NZLS Seminar on the Sentencing Act and Parole Act has been deliberately timed to take place prior to the coming into force of the new legislation. Lawyers who practise in the criminal courts need to be aware of and familiar with the new legislation.

The Sentencing Act and the Parole Act represent a comprehensive reform of the laws relating to sentencing and parole in New Zealand. The legislation significantly changes many of the provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 1985.

Lawyers need to be able to advise clients before they enter the courtroom with their clients. Lawyers need to be familiar with the various sentencing options in the Sentencing Act and need to be able to advise clients on what realistic options are open to a sentencing judge. Sentencing options that will be advanced in court on behalf of the client will have to be discussed with the client in advance. Lawyers who advise their client prior to going to court that they will be seeking a “suspended prison sentence” for example will come unstuck if such a sentence is advocated in court. (Suspended sentences are not available under the new regime).

To follow on from the above example, it is important that lawyers are familiar with the new legislation in order that they can bring relevant and appropriate matters to the attention of the sentencing judge when making a plea in mitigation. In order to ensure consistency in sentencing, sentencing principles from case law have been set out in black and white in the legislation to ensure that a sentencing judge will take those matters into account.

This booklet (along with the seminar) examines changes between the 1985 legislation and the new legislation. There are many significant changes which will be considered later. Examples include the abolition of both periodic detention and suspended prison sentences as a sentencing option. There are other subtle changes such as the ability to impose compensation when discharging without conviction.

In addition to knowing what has changed, it is also important to know what has not changed. Although this booklet concentrates largely on the changes between the two sentencing regimes, reference will also be made to situations where the sentencing policy and the equivalent sentencing regimes have remained the same.

The seminar and the booklet attempt to highlight differences between the two regimes. Neither the seminar nor the booklet should be seen as a substitute for a thorough reading of the new legislation.

The first part of the booklet examines the new sentencing regime. At the back of this booklet, the major sections from the Sentencing Act are set out. It is hoped that practitioners may decide to take this booklet to court and will be able to readily refer to sections if necessary. The booklet and seminar is designed for the practising lawyer and is intended to be practical.

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