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SEN07

Sentencing Update

NZ $65.00
incl GST
Judge Stephen O'Driscoll Prof Geoff Hall Tracy Mellor
Judge Stephen O'Driscoll
District Court
Dunedin
Professor Geoff Hall
University of Otago
Dunedin
Tracy Mellor
Department of Corrections
Wellington

Published: 5 September, 2007
Pages: 270

Introduction

The Sentencing Amendment Act 2007 started life as part of the Criminal Justice Reform Bill 2006. The Bill was eventually divided into 5 Acts:

  • the Sentencing Amendment Act 2007. Significant features are a clearly defined hierarchy of sentences; the introduction of two new community-based sentences — intensive supervision (standard and special conditions, including programmes) and community detention (detention subject to an electronically monitored curfew); and the re-working of the sentence of imprisonment served by way of home detention as the sentence of home detention in its own right, with the ultimate determination being made not by the Parole Board but by the sentencing judge. Sentencing options are also broadened through the lifting of certain restrictions upon the court’s ability to combine the various sentencing alternatives.
  • the Parole Amendment Act 2007. Significant features are that a short-term sentence is any sentence of imprisonment of one year (not 2 years) and it is to be served in its entirety and is no longer to be automatically halved upon its imposition, as the Parole Act 2002 previously provided; and that parole eligibility is increased from 1/3 to 2/3 of a long-term sentence, with minimum periods being abolished as a consequence. Back-end home detention is abolished and is replaced by residential restrictions. Confidentiality orders and an ability for the Parole Board to monitor compliance with release conditions are introduced. Conditions of an extended supervision order are amended. There is also a clear statement in the Act to the effect that an offender has no entitlement to be released on parole.
  • the Bail Amendment Act 2007. This Act contains only a few amendments, but there is a significant tweaking of the “risk factors” in s 8, the powers of the Registrar under s 28 to grant bail in all summary cases have been extended to all cases where the prosecution agrees, and provision is made for bail on deferment of home detention under s 80W of the 2002 Act, in both the summary and indictable jurisdiction.
  • the Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims Amendment Act 2007. This Act extends the sunset clauses in the principal Act to 30 June 2010.
  • the Sentencing Council Act 2007. This Act establishes a Sentencing Council to issue sentencing and parole guidelines to address issues of consistency and transparency in sentencing.

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