17 November 2015

Prosecutions to proceed

Criminal prosecutions subject to the baseline provisions of the Sentencing Act 1991 will proceed in accordance with today’s Court of Appeal judgment, the Director of Public Prosecutions John Champion S.C. said today.

In a majority judgment in the matter of DPP v Walters (2015) VSCA 303, the Court of Appeal found that the “baseline sentencing provisions are incapable of being given any practical operation”.

“The effect of this authoritative judgment by the Court of Appeal will permit pending prosecutions to proceed without further delay,” Mr Champion said.

Mr Champion thanked the Court of Appeal for expeditiously hearing and determining the appeal:  "The result is that we have only a handful of cases that were adjourned pending this decision."

Mr Champion said the judgment would still need to be carefully considered to determine whether the decision should be appealed.

On 30 July, 2015, Justice Lasry sentenced an offender in the Supreme Court to six years and eight months' imprisonment, with a minimum of four years, after he pleaded guilty to four counts of incest. One of the counts of incest was committed after the baseline provisions came into effect on 2 November, 2014.

Mr Champion lodged an appeal against the sentence, which was the first baseline sentence to be handed down, on the ground that the total effective sentence and non-parole period was manifestly inadequate.

In a 4-1 ruling, the full bench of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

For further information contact:

Lisa Walker

03 9603 7493
0400 494 962