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Principles of sentencing

January 14, 2015| Papers Haven

Principles of sentencing
INSTRUCTIONS

? All THREE (3) questions MUST be attempted.

? A maximum word limit of 2000 words applies – that means that the total word count (including your

answers to each question) must not exceed 2 000 words. This does not mean that you have 2 000

words with which to answer each question, the word limit applies to your overall word count. It is up

to you how you apportion the word count to each question. A word count needs to be included on your

submitted exam.

? Words over this limit will not be read nor taken into account in assigning your mark.

? The answers to these questions should not include quotes of any sort – either from judgements, books,

journal articles or any other source.

? Footnotes for primary citations (or for any other purpose) are not to be used.

? You must include full citations for legislation and legislative provisions within the text of your

answers. The exception is the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld) which may be cited in all

instances as PSA. For example Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld) 2 9(2) may be cited as PSA s

9(2).

? Cases need only be cited with the case name e.g. Smith v Jones.

? The contents of this exam are not to be discussed with any other person until after the submission date.

? Although you are of course able to consult primary and secondary sources in preparing your answers,

plagiarism detection techniques will be applied to submitted papers and the appropriate processes

followed in academic dishonesty is detected.

? Format – you may use any easy to read and sensible formatting properties you wish. If possible, the

following formatting is preferred:

o Arial font in 11 point

o Single line spacing

o Default margin settings

o Start each question on a new page

o Please include your name and student number as a footer on each page of your exam paper.

o Please include a cover sheet which includes your name, student number, the unit

coordinator’s name and the name of this assessment – and make that the first page of your

submitted document. Do not submit this as a separate document.

SUBMISSION

IMPORTANT it is essential that you organise your time, connectivity and other commitments to

ensure that you can submit your exam paper on time as no extensions will be given. Furthermore, it is

your responsibility to ensure that you upload before the deadline. The later you leave it to upload the

greater the chance of you experiencing technical difficulties. Contacting the IT Helpdesk for assistance

when the submission deadline is close is a risk which you alone bear.

If you have any problems with your submission please contact IT helpdesk on 07 31384000 or email

ithelpdesk@qut.edu.au during the weekend.

QUESTION 1

Commenting on a number of studies which investigated links between offending rates on the one

hand, and increased penalties or the chance of being caught and convicted on the other, Von

Hirsch noted that:

‘Current research confirms earlier correlational and quasi-experimental studies and

indicates consistent and significant negative correlations between the likelihood of

conviction and crime rates. The data on severity effects is less impressive.’

This suggests that relying on more severe penalties and sentences as a significant factor in

reducing crime rates may not be as effective as some policy makers seem to assume.

To what extent do legislators and criminal justice policy makers in Queensland seem to be

guided by a belief in the deterrent effect of stronger penalties? What factors might impact on

whether the severity of a particular penalty available to the sentencing court for a given offence

does, in fact, deter? Are there other justifications for increasing the statutory maximum penalties

for offences apart from an appeal to deterrence?

[TOTAL: 20 MARKS]

QUESTION 2

In R v Bojovic [2002] 2 Qd R 183, the Queensland Court of Appeal held that:

“In a case such as the present where the essential feature was over-reaction in the

course of self-defence and where the danger of repetition seems remote we fail to see

why any additional recommendation over and above an adequate sentence, which in this

case is eight years, would be called for. “

If an offender is convicted of a manslaughter offence and then, by applying the normal principles

and factors of sentencing, the court is of the view that a custodial penalty in the range of between

6 and 8 years is appropriate – does the Penalties and Sentences Act 1997 (Qld) then require the

court to make a declaration that the offender is convicted of a serious violent offence (SVO)?

If the court considers that this offender deserves the benefit of not being subject to a SVO

declaration, can it then fix the penalty at the higher end of the 6 to 8 year range, based on the

rationale that this will ensure a significant time in custody but without that time in actual custody

being calculated with reference to an SVO declaration?

[TOTAL: 20 MARKS]

QUESTION 3

When might a sentencing court be of the view that a substantial fine is the appropriate penalty

for a particular offender? How can a pecuniary penalty help achieve the purpose for which a

sentence is imposed?

The most common criticism of fines is that they can be an inequitable form of punishment where

co-offenders are convicted of the same offence, but who have different levels of culpability

and/or different capacities to pay. It is also probably accurate to say that fines rarely do anything

to address the causes of offending. Is this criticism justified?

How might a court combine a fine with some other sort of penalty where a fine alone is

considered insufficient or inappropriate?

[TOTAL: 20 MARKS]

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