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An empirical analysis of sentencing outcomes for assault offences in Victoria and the implications for the sentencing methodology

journal contribution
posted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Clare FarmerClare Farmer, M Bargaric, I Parsons
The desire for consistency in sentencing has been the catalyst for major sentencing reform in numerous jurisdictions, including those in the UK and the US. Despite this, there is a dearth of literature which examines and evaluates the actual extent of consistency in sentencing decisions. This article attempts to at least partially fill this void by reporting the findings of a wide-ranging study into sentencing outcomes for assault offences in four courts in Victoria, Australia. The study is significant because it relates to more than 4,500 sentencing determinations over a four-year period and compares sentencing outcomes in a single jurisdiction—where identical legal principles and rules operate. The findings reveal a considerable degree of inconsistency regarding sentencing outcomes between the courts, thereby calling into question the consistency and fairness of the current sentencing methodology. The methodology in this paper provides a basis upon which the consistency of sentencing in other sentencing systems, including England and Wales can be explored and evaluated and has implications for whether narrative directives can effectively enhance the current guideline system to more effectively achieve sentencing consistency.

History

Journal

Criminal law review

Pagination

205-215

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

0011-135X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Thomson Reuters

Issue

3

Publisher

Sweet and Maxwell

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