LWB494 PRINCIPLES OF SENTENCING

| June 19, 2015

LWB494 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?

 
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