Commonwealth Sentencing Database

The purpose of the Commonwealth Sentencing Database is to provide judicial officers and other users with rapid and easy access to information about sentencing for Commonwealth offences.

Click on the links on the menu bar to access:

  • the ‘Principles and Practice’ component (a guide for judicial officers and practitioners to federal sentencing)
  • the ‘Statistics’ component (statistical information on sentences by courts for federal offences)
  • the Publications list (a list of reports and articles on federal sentencing)

Below is a quick guide to recent cases, legislation and updates to commentary. This area is updated with new cases by NJCA researchers on a weekly basis. Click on the arrows to see a full summary.

To subscribe to regular updates on Commonwealth sentencing, click here.

Follow us on Twitter @JudicialCollAUS.

Recent Federal Cases

27 April 2017 — R v Constant (No 2) [2017] SASCFC 36 — drug importation offence —rehabilitation — dependants — guilty plea — See Summary 

 — resentencing — attempted drug importation offences contrary to ss 11.1(1) and 307.12(1) of Commonwealth Criminal Code — resentencing after appeal against sentence allowed in R v Constant [2016] SASCFC 87 — offences committed while offender subject of suspended sentence bond considered an aggravating factor — rehabilitation — offender’s dependants — offender gave birth to second child in October 2016 after being released on parole and bail in August 2016 — offender’s rehabilitation achieved primarily through motherhood — guilty plea — sentence reduced by two months on account of offender’s subjective willingness to facilitate the course of justice as evidenced by guilty plea — sentence reduced by one month on account of one week in custody upon arrest and three months on home detention bail — 13 month custodial sentence imposed — released on recognizance release order

13 April 2017 — Linggo v The Queen [2017] NSWCCA 67 — money laundering — guilty plea — See Summary 

 — appeal against sentence — money laundering offences contrary to Commonwealth Criminal Code and Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) — guilty plea — sentencing judge in error by having regard to fact that offender had not disclosed names of those involved in enterprise under s 16A(2)(g) — s 16A(2)(g) not conditioned upon offender providing assistance — assistance provided to authorities to be taken into account under s 16A(2)(h) — range of discount for guilty plea — sentencing judge imposed discount between 4 and 10 percent — sentencing judge in error by imposing very small discount as failed to pay appropriate regard to extent to which guilty plea facilitated the course of justice — difficult to know whether discount was imposed was 4 percent or 10 percent or close to one or other of those figures — introduced unsatisfactory degree of uncertainty into the sentencing process — warning against using range of percentages when determining guilty plea discount — appeal against sentence allowed — offender resentenced with 20 percent discount for guilty plea — Commentary on this case has been incorporated into the database, see Guilty Plea

11 April 2017 — H L v DPP (Cth) [2017] NSWCCA 66 — drug importation offence — totality — parity — See Summary 

 — appeal against sentence — conspiracy to commit drug importation offence contrary to ss 11.5(1) and 302.2(1) of Commonwealth Criminal Code — state offence — totality principle — sentencing judge in error by not providing some accumulation between two separate instances of offending — sentencing judge in error in application of parity principle — co-offender had more senior role in offending — harsher conditions experienced by co-offender while imprisoned in Hong Kong for 4 years modifies amount of intervention required — accumulation of sentences for two offences should be reduced from 3 to 2 years to appropriately acknowledge parity principle — leave to appeal against sentence granted — appeal allowed in part — 12 year custodial sentence imposed with 6 year non-parole period

11 April 2017 — Jorissen v The Queen [2017] WASCA 71 — Commonwealth fraud — course of conduct — See Summary 

 — appeal against sentence — defrauding the Commonwealth offence contrary to s 29D of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) — dishonestly causing loss to the Commonwealth in illicit importation of tobacco offences contrary to s 135.1(5) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code — course of conduct — three separate counts within Commonwealth fraud offence represent sustained course of dishonest conduct which continued over an 11-year period — offender not passive recipient of benefits but rather made numerous false claims regarding employment and income — total amount defrauded $84,459 relatively large — custodial sentence of 2 years clearly within sound exercise of sentencing discretion — leave to appeal against sentence refused — appeal dismissed

6 April 2017 — DPP (Cth) v Haynes [2017] VSCA 79 — sexual harassment offences — recognizance release order — s 19AC — See Summary 

 — appeal against sentence — nine sexual offending or harassment offences via the internet contrary to ss 474.25A and 474.26 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code — recognizance release order imposed under s 19AC — offender used false identity online — six of eight victims children — immediate custodial sentence of 10 months for offending of this nature plainly disproportionate to head sentence — does not adequately reflect offender’s degree of criminality — recognizance release order after 10 months in custody does not fall within sound exercise of sentencing discretion — period of 18 months’ custody would have been more appropriate given that head sentence was fixed — 15-month custodial sentence for s 474.25A offences and 6-month custodial sentence for s 474.26 offences lenient but not manifestly inadequate — rehabilitation — offender already undertaken rehabilitative programs while in custody — offender’s rehabilitative process likely to be impeded if expectations as to the release date and ability to commence Sex Offender Treatment Program are delayed — residual discretion exercised — leave to appeal against sentence granted — appeal dismissed

31 March 2017 — Pullman v Australian Taxation Office [2017] SASC 44 — tax offences — s 16C — offender’s financial circumstances — See Summary 

 — appeal against sentence — 22 offences contrary to s 8C(1)(a) of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) — 12 offences contrary to s 8C(1)(a) of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) and s 162 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) — s 16C(1) — taking offender’s financial circumstances into account before imposing fine —  $25,000 fine imposed at sentence — sentencing judge did not have proper regard to offender’s financial circumstances — not a ‘run of the mill’ case — offender did not wilfully defraud Commissioner of Taxation — liability to pay GST rose out of mistake —offender’s annual income less than basic wage — fine imposed double offender’s annual income over past 10 years — offender’s circumstances regarded as exceptional — ordinarily fine imposed should represent at least a figure more than the amount of the administrative penalties which would have been imposed — leniency extended — even though s 16C does not provide same scope of leniency as s 13 of the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) sentencing judge still required to turn mind to issue of offender’s financial circumstances — appeal allowed — offender re-sentenced —  $8,000 fine imposed

28 March 2017 — R v Boimah [2017] QCA 50 — drug importation offence — false travel document offence — parity — See Summary 

— appeal against sentence — attempted possession of border controlled drug offence contrary to ss 11.1(1) and 307.5(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code — false travel document offence contrary to s 22(1) of the Foreign Passports (Law Enforcement and Security) Act 2005 (Cth) — parity — co-offender convicted of importation rather than attempted possession — no error in application of parity principle — sentencing judge recognised offender’s criminality as less than co-offender — intended use of false passport aggravating feature — application for leave to appeal against sentence refused

24 March 2017 — Kaveh v The Queen [2017] NSWCCA 52 — drug importation offence — mental condition — dependants — See Summary 

 — appeal against sentence — drug importation offence contrary to s 307.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code — mental condition — s 16A(2)(m) — application to admit new psychological report as fresh evidence refused — nothing in report that supports contention that offender experiencing hardship beyond what was anticipated by sentencing judge — offender already being appropriately treated for mental afflictions that were identified at sentencing — effect of sentence on offender’s family and dependants — s 16A(2)(p) — whether exceptional hardship test applicable in federal sentencing regime — consideration of R v Zerafa [2013] NSWCCA 222 and DPP (Cth) v Pratten (No 2) [2017] NSWCCA 42 — sentencing judge not in error in taking into account probable hardship of offender’s custodial sentence on offender’s family — application for leave to appeal against sentence refused

23 March 2017 — R v Pham, Tran & Dang; Ex parte DPP (Cth) [2017] QCA 46 — attempted possession offence — role of offenders — See Summary 

— appeal against sentence — attempted possession of border controlled drug offence contrary to ss 11.1(1) and 307.5(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code — whether sentence manifestly excessive — role of offenders — application of Wong v The Queen [2001] HCA 64 — open to sentencing judge to identify level of offender’s criminality by looking at state of offender’s knowledge about importation — characterisation of offenders as ‘couriers’ did not provide meaningful comparison regarding respective states of mind — no error in having regard to extent of offenders’ involvement — application for leave to appeal against sentence allowed — appeal dismissed

17 March 2017 — DPP (Cth) v Pratten (No 2) [2017] NSWCCA 42 — dishonesty offences — proceeds of crime offences — double jeopardy — dependants — antecedents — See Summary 

— appeal against sentence — seven counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception contrary to s 134.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code — offences contrary to s 37(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth) and s 11.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code — double jeopardy — application of Bui v DPP (Cth) [2012] HCA 1 — not open to the court to treat ‘double jeopardy’ as a relevant consideration when resentencing for a federal offence — s 16A(2)(p) — offender’s family and dependants — sentencing judge erred in not stating that circumstances of hardship to offender’s dependants must be exceptional — evidence did not establish that offender’s custodial sentence would significantly and deleteriously affect the offender’s daughters’ lives — s 16A(2)(m) — antecedents — offender first time offender — leniency associated with first time offender does not apply to all offences committed by a serial offender merely because when the last offence was committed they had not been charged for an earlier offence — the fact that the convictions involved repeated dishonesty over seven years disentitled the offender to any leniency in respect of later offences — assumption of payment of tax liability — sentencing judge erred by assuming tax liability had been satisfied despite no evidence before the court — overly lenient sentence imposed — leave to appeal against sentences granted — 6 year 4 month custodial sentence imposed with 3 year 9 month non-parole period

6 March 2017 — Le v The Queen [2017] NSWCCA 26 — drug importation offence — s 16BA — parity — See Summary 

— appeal against sentence — drug importation offence — s 16BA — taking further admitted offence into account — sentencing judge not in error by stating weight had to be given to need for personal deterrence and community’s entitlement to exact retribution for the offence to be dealt with pursuant to s 16BA rather than principal offence — sentencing judge’s remarks an imprecise statement of the practical effect of taking into account a further serious offence when sentencing for principal offence — language ‘infelicitous’ but not an error — parity — sentencing judge not in error as offender had greater knowledge and was involved for longer period in commission of offence than co-offender — leave to appeal against sentence granted — appeal dismissed

3 March 2017 — Afiouny v The Queen [2017] NSWCCA 23 — causing loss to Commonwealth offence — non-parole period — totality principle — See Summary 

— appeal against sentence — dishonestly causing loss to the Commonwealth in illicit importation of tobacco contrary to s 135.1(5) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code — offender already serving custodial sentence for Commonwealth bribery offences — additional 8 month non-parole period imposed for instant offence not manifestly excessive — sentencing judge had proper regard to objective seriousness of offence, totality principle and offender’s prospects of rehabilitation — no error which required court’s intervention as one year parole period not unusual for this type of offending —leave to appeal against sentence granted — appeal dismissed

16 February 2017 — R v Zhang [2017] SASCFC 5 — identification offences — importation offences — proceeds of crime offence — foreign passport offence — co-operation — deportation — See Summary 

— appeal against sentence — unlawfully dealing with identification information offences contrary to Commonwealth Criminal Code — importation with intention of defrauding the revenue offences contrary to Customs Act 1901 (Cth) — dealing with proceeds of crime offence contrary to Commonwealth Criminal Code — attempting to possess false foreign passport offence contrary to Foreign Passports (Law Enforcement and Security) Act 2005 (Cth) and Commonwealth Criminal Code — co-operation — sentencing judge not in error by not stipulating precise reduction on account of co-operation — offender’s co-operation with authorities adequately recognised in low non-parole period — deportation — offender foreign national — application of R v Schelvis; R v Hildebrand [2016] QCA 294 — sentencing judge not in error in failing to take into account prospect of deportation of offender in relation to more burdensome sentence and possibility of Chief Executive’s discretion exercised under s 37A of Correctional Services Act 1982 (SA) — appeal dismissed

13 February 2017 — R v Arthur [2017] ACTSC 23 — child exploitation — guilty plea — See Summary 

— sentencing — child exploitation offences contrary to s 474.19 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code — territory child exploitation offences — federal discount for guilty plea given on basis of subjective willingness to facilitate the course of justice — applied Cameron v The Queen [2002] HCA 6 and R v Harrington [2016] ACTCA 10 — 2 years imprisonment imposed with conditional release order — Commentary on this case has been incorporated into the database, see Guilty Plea

10 February 2017 — R v Sigalla [2017] NSWSC 52 — directors’ duties — delay — victim — See Summary 

— sentencing — 24 counts of dishonestly using position as director to gain an advantage contrary to s 184(2)(a) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) — delay not mitigating as offences led to complex and time-consuming investigation and offender’s conduct delayed trial — victims of the offence include investing public as well as company and shareholders — high level of objective seriousness — need for lengthy custodial sentence — importance of general deterrence as breach of directors’ duties offences difficult to detect — 10 years imprisonment with 6 year non-parole period imposed — Commentary on this case has been incorporated into the database, see Course of Conduct

10 January 2017 — NGO v The Queen [2017] WASCA 3 — entering into agreement to commit drug importation offence — guilty plea — parity principle — manifest excess — See Summary 

— appeal against sentence — entering into an agreement with other persons to commit a drug importation offence contrary to ss 11.2A(1), 11.1 and 307.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code — guilty plea — s 9AA of the Sentencing Act 1995 (WA) does not apply to federal offences — general and unqualified provision in s 16A(2)(g) inconsistent with detailed and exhaustive provision in s 9AA — sentencing judge not bound to reduce the sentence by 25% on account of guilty plea — sentencing judge not bound to state period or percentage of reduction of sentence on account of guilty plea — no disparity between co-offenders — sentence not manifestly excessive — application for leave to appeal against sentence refused — Commentary on this case has been incorporated into the database, see Guilty Plea

9 December 2016 — R v Al-Kutobi; R v Kiad [2016] NSWSC 1760 — terrorism offences — guilty plea — See Summary 

— sentencing — conspiring to commit an act or acts in preparation for or planning a terrorist act contrary to Commonwealth Criminal Code — factual dispute at sentence — resolved in favour of the Crown — found beyond reasonable doubt that offenders were in the late stages of preparing to cause serious harm or death to a person — late guilty pleas — conflicting legal authority on whether Court is entitled to have regard to utilitarian benefit of guilty plea — bound to apply authority of Tyler v The Queen [2007] NSWCCA 257 — not necessary to resolve differing authorities — little difference between discount which would be allowed for subjective willingness to facilitate the course of justice or objectively ascertained utilitarian benefit of the guilty plea as plea was entered only a few days before trial — nature and circumstances of the offence — incumbent on courts to make plain that extremist ideologies and beliefs have no place in Australian society — importance of general and specific deterrence — hardship as a result of onerous conditions of custody given allowance in a general sense — mandatory minimum non-parole period of 75% of term of imprisonment — 20 years imprisonment with 15 year non-parole period imposed — Commentary on this case has been incorporated into the database, see Guilty Plea

7 December 2016 — R v M H K [2016] VSC 742 — terrorism offences — young offender — See Summary 

— act in preparation or planning a terrorist offence contrary to Commonwealth Criminal Code — offender aged 17 at time of offending at time of arrest offender part-way through the construction of several pipe bombs and assembled means to construct a pressure cooker bomb written material including Facebook posts compelling evidence of intention reflecting hostile propaganda of ‘ISIS’ early plea of guilty utilitarian benefit of plea and subjective willingness to facilitate the course of justice taken into account importance of denunciation, punishment, general deterrence and protection of the community young people inclined to pursue similar course must understand that despite their youth significant punishment awaits them mandatory minimum non-parole period of 75% of term of imprisonment 7 years imprisonment imposed with 5 year 3 month non-parole period if permitted to do so a minimum term of four years would have been imposed to better enable supervision and rehabilitation given offender’s youth

Recent Legislative Amendments

27 November 2015 — Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers, Offences and Other Measures) Act 2015 (Cth) — amends Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) — See Summary 

­­

general deterrence — inserts new s 16A(2)(ja) — court to have regard to the deterrent effect that any sentence or order under consideration may have on other persons — Commentary on this amendment has been incorporated into the database, see Deterrence

co-operation — repeals s 21E — inserts new s 16AC — court can reduce sentence, order or non-parole period in recognition of undertaking to co-operate with law enforcement agencies — DPP given new right to appeal where offender has not co-operated in accordance with undertaking when offender’s sentence has expired — Commentary on this amendment has been incorporated into the database, see Co-operation

non-parole periods and recognizance release orders — repeals and replaces s 19AB — removes option for court to make a recognizance release order where the sentence imposed exceeds three years — inserts new s 19AB(2)–(3) — court can decline to set a non-parole period or fix a recognizance release order where offender expected to be serving a State or Territory sentence immediately after the end of the federal sentence — Commentary on this amendment has been incorporated into the database, see Non Parole Period and Recognizance Release Orders

rectification of errors — inserts new s 19AHA — sets out powers of court to correct Commonwealth sentencing orders which contain technical errors, defects of form, or ambiguity — Commentary on this amendment has been incorporated into the database, see Non Parole Period and Recognizance Release Orders

release on licence — inserts new s 19AP(4A) — matters to which the Attorney-General may have regard when deciding whether to grant a licence — extensive co-operation not already taken into account at sentence — serious medical treatment required — Commentary on this amendment has been incorporated into the database, see Release on Parole or Licence

parole — inserts new s 19AKA — purposes of parole are protection of the community, rehabilitation of the offender and reintegration of the offender into the community — Commentary on this amendment has been incorporated into the database, see Release on Parole or Licence

parole orders — inserts new s 19ALA — matters to which the Attorney-General may have regard when considering whether to make or refuse to make a parole order — inserts new s 19AL(4)–(6) — clarifies application of s 19AL when Attorney-General making parole orders for joint Commonwealth and State offenders — inserts new s 19AL(3A) — provides criteria for considering applications for early release on parole — repeals s 19AP(8)–(9) — inserts new s 19APA — expands power of Attorney-General to amend parole orders and licences — Commentary on this amendment has been incorporated into the database, see Release on Parole or Licence

conditional release — inserts new s 20(1A) — requires court to specify that where a person is subject to the supervision of a probation officer they will not travel interstate or overseas without the probation officers written permission

alternative sentencing options — repeals s 20AB(1) — inserts new s 20AB(1) — updates list of types of orders as alternatives to imprisonment that should be available for federal offenders — clarifies courts power to pass a similar sentence or order to the named orders

Recent Updates to Commentary

April 2017 — Guilty Plea — See Summary 

— updated to include commentary on whether a discount for a guilty plea is given on the subjective basis of the offender’s willingness to facilitate the course of justice or the objective basis of the utilitarian benefit of a guilty plea

March 2017 — Course of Conduct — See Summary 

— updated to include commentary on judicial inconsistency surrounding s 16A(2)(c) on whether a course of conduct refers only to uncharged criminal conduct, charged criminal conduct, representative charges, or the totality principle

February 2017 — Reparation OrdersSee Summary 

— updated to include commentary on courts exercising discretion to impose a reparation order, including the relevance of offender’s financial circumstances, reparation orders and co-offenders, and considerations when ordering reparation as a condition of discharge or release

January 2017 — CorporationsSee Summary 

— updated to include commentary on Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v CFMEU [2016] FCA 413 where court held s 4K does not apply to civil pecuniary penalty provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

October 2016 — Nature and Circumstances of the Offence — See Summary 

 — updated to include commentary on factors relevant to assessing the nature and circumstances of federal offences, including drug, alcohol and gambling addictions, premeditation, planning, motive, non-exculpatory duress, entrapment, the offender’s degree of participation, the profits from the offence and whether the offence involved a breach of trust

October 2016 — Offender’s Family and Dependants — See Summary 

 — updated to include commentary on the divergent approach of ACT courts to the ‘exceptional circumstances’ test in R v Weir [2015] ACTSC 394 and DPP (Cth) v Ip [2005] ACTCA 24, the relevance of international instruments to consideration of s 16A(2)(p), principles relevant to sentencing breastfeeding mothers and consideration of hardship to dependants as a result of co-operation

October 2016 — Hardship to the offender — See Summary 

 — updated to include commentary on hardship to the offender caused by the effect of the sentence on the offender’s dependants and the non-application of the ‘exceptional circumstances’ test relevant to s 16A(2)(p) to consideration of such hardship

September 2016 — Conditional Release Orders after Conviction — See Summary 

 — updated to include amendments to the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) inserting new s 20(1A), the application of Dimech v Watts [2016] ACTSC 221 resolving that community service cannot be made a condition of release under s 20 and new commentary on factors to be taken into account when imposing a recognizance release order

September 2016 — Additional Sentencing Alternatives — See Summary 

 — updated to include amendments to the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) which updated the list of state and territory sentencing options available to federal offenders and to include new commentary on principles relevant to imposing Intensive Correction Orders, Community Correction Orders and Intensive Supervision Orders, including the application of Antanackovic v The Queen [2015] VSCA and R v Porte [2015] NSWCCA 174