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CRIMINAL PENALTIES
S9 CONDITIONAL RELEASE ORDERS
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SECTION 9 : CONDITIONAL RELEASE ORDERS

Section 9 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 was introduced by the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Amendment (Sentencing Options) Act 2017 which commenced in NSW on 24 September 2018. As stated by the Attorney General (NSW), the Hon M Speakman SC, in the Second Reading Speech for the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Amendment (Sentencing Options) Bill and cognate legislation for NSW, Legislative Assembly, Debates, 11 October 2017, p 2, Conditional Relase Orders are: “a community-based sentence for the lowest level of offending”.

 

If you receive a CCO for your offence, you have been convicted and the offence will be recoredd on your criminal record.

Section 9(1) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 provides:

“(1) Instead of imposing a sentence of imprisonment or a fine (or both) on an offender, a court that finds a person guilty of an offence may make a conditional release order discharging the offender, if--

(a) the court proceeds to conviction, or

(b) the court does not proceed to conviction but makes an order under section 10 (1) (b).”

 

Two types of Conditional Release Orders (CROs) are prescribed by section 9:

  • A CRO with conviction pursuant to section 9(1)(a); or

  • A CRO without conviction pursuant to section 9(1)(b).

Some important features to keep in mind for CROs include:

  • CROs may be made without first obtaining a sentencing assessment report. A sentencing assessment report is a report prepared by a Community Corrections Officer who will assess your level of offending, personal circumstances, attitude towards the offence, risk of re-offending and whether you are eligible to complete community service work as an additional condition.

  • CROs can only be made by the Local Court if the person being sentenced is present.

  • Such orders may be made with or without conviction. If a CRO is imposed without conviction, it is made under section 10(1)(b).

  • CROs cannot be imposed together with a fine for the same offence.

  • A CRO cannot exceed 2 years, pursuant to section 95(2).

  • A CRO can only be made with respect to a domestic violence offender if the order includes a supervision condition (section 4A(3)) and the court has considered the safety of any victim of the offence/s (section 4B(3)). However, the Court “may not impose a supervision condition on a conditional release order in respect of an offender who resides, or intends to reside, in another State or Territory, unless the State or Territory is declared by the regulations to be an approved jurisdiction”.

  • CROs must include the two standard conditions and may be supplemented by additional and further conditions.

  • The Court may limit the duration of an additional condition attached to a CRO.

 

What conditions can be attached to a CRO?

Pursuant to section 97 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, a CRO is subject to the following conditions--

(a) standard conditions imposed by the sentencing court under section 98,

(b) any additional conditions imposed by the sentencing court under section 99,

(c) any further conditions imposed by the sentencing court under section 99A.

 

What are standard conditions for a CRO?

Standard conditions are defined in section 98(2) of the Act to include:

(a) a condition that the offender must not commit any offence,

(b) a condition that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the conditional release order.

 

What are additional conditions for a CRO?

Additional conditions may be imposed on top of the standard conditions for a CRO. It is up to the Court to decide whether additional conditions are required to address the underlying cause of criminal offending and otherwise make the sentence proportionate.

Section 99(2) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 provides a list of additional conditions the Court can add to a CRO:

“The additional conditions of a conditional release order that are available to be imposed are the following (as directed by the sentencing court)--

(a) a rehabilitation or treatment condition requiring the offender to participate in a rehabilitation program or to receive treatment,

(b) an abstention condition requiring abstention from alcohol or drugs or both,

(c) a non-association condition prohibiting association with particular persons,

(d) a place restriction condition prohibiting the frequenting of or visits to a particular place or area,

(e) a supervision condition requiring the offender to submit to supervision--

(i) by a community corrections officer, except as provided by subparagraph (ii), or

(ii) if the offender was under the age of 18 years when the condition was imposed, by a juvenile justice officer until the offender has reached that age.”

It is important to note that the Court cannot impose the following additional conditions to a CRO:

  1. a home detention condition,

  2. an electronic monitoring condition,

  3. a curfew condition,

  4. a community service work condition: section 99(3).

 

The Court may vary the the length of time or duration of the additional condition attached to the CRO. The additional condition can be imposed, varied or revoked at the time of sentence or upon application by the offender, the community corrections or juvenile justice officer.

 

What are the further conditions for a CRO?

Unlike the above sections providing the standard and additional conditions, there is no list for further conditions that may be imposed by the Court when making or varying a CRO. Further conditions may be imposed at the time of sentence but any further conditions cannot be inconsistent with the standard conditions of a CRO or any of the additional conditions (whether or not imposed on the CRO).

Section 99A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 provides:

“(1) The sentencing court may at the time of sentence, or subsequently on the application of a community corrections officer or juvenile justice officer or the offender--

(a) impose further conditions on a conditional release order, or

(b) vary or revoke any such further conditions imposed by it on a conditional release order.

(2) This section does not permit the sentencing court to impose any further conditions, or vary any such further conditions, if the condition as imposed or varied--

(a) would be inconsistent with--

(i) any of the standard conditions of a conditional release order, or

(ii) any of the additional conditions (whether or not actually imposed on the conditional release order) referred to in section 99 (2), or

(b) would not be permitted under section 99(3).

(3) The sentencing court may limit the period during which a further condition on a conditional release order is in force.”

Situations where further conditions may be imposed would be unique to the specific offender, their circumstances and the offence.

 

What happens if you breach a CRO?

A breach of a CRO could result in you being resentenced for the offence and receive a harsher penalty. It is therefore important that you receive legal advice about the appropriateness of your conditions and whether they can be complied with. If you are seeking legal advice about a CRO, please contact KF Lawyers for a free initial consultation.

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