OPP Statement

On 27 February 2023, the County Court of Victoria imposed sentence on Jeffrey Corfe for an offence of sexual penetration of a child under 16 years.

The sentence was a term of imprisonment for 12 months, wholly suspended for two years.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has carefully considered this sentence.

At the time the offence was committed, the Sentencing Act 1991 provided that a wholly suspended sentence was to be taken as a sentence of imprisonment.  The Court of Appeal has held that, for the purposes of appellate review, if the County Court has imposed a wholly suspended sentence it has, in effect, ordered that the offender be imprisoned.

In light of all the relevant sentencing considerations — and in particular having regard to the fact that the law at the relevant time regarded a wholly suspended sentence as a sentence of imprisonment — there is no reasonable prospect that the Court of Appeal would consider the wholly suspended sentence to be outside the range of available sentencing options.

Suspended sentences have since been abolished in Victoria, but are still an available sentencing option for offences committed before their abolition.  The offence in this case was committed in 2005, so a suspended sentence was still an available sentencing option.

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