Queensland’s first Sentencing Guide launched

Media release

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council is launching the state’s first sentencing guide today in Cunnamulla.

The Queensland Sentencing Guide has been developed as part of the Council’s role to inform and engage Queenslanders on the complexities of criminal sentencing.

It follows a pilot project in South West Queensland which investigated ways to enhance engagement with rural and remote communities and help increase understanding of the sentencing process.

The research showed there was limited community understanding of sentencing and the consequences of sentencing and limited community-based legal representation.

“Sentencing in Queensland is a complex process, and informing people about how sentencing works is a fundamental role of the Council,” said Council Chair Judge John Robertson.

“We visited Cunnamulla and Charleville and spoke with a range of local people and agencies including legal professionals, police, business owners and Elders. We found there was minimal information about how courts decide the penalties they impose and what the penalties are.

“The Council hopes the guide will help the public feel more confident in their knowledge of sentencing”.

The guide explains how Queensland courts sentence adults found guilty of an offence and covers:

  • how sentencing laws are made and the role and jurisdiction of different criminal courts in Queensland
  • the sentencing process and what guides judges and magistrates in deciding what sentence to impose
  • different penalty options.

It also includes a glossary to help simplify language commonly used in the sentencing process.

The guide was developed with input from a number of legal and justice agencies, including the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Legal Aid Queensland, Queensland Corrective Services and the Queensland Law Society. It was user-tested in South West Queensland.