Area of Law – Sentencing

An Article about Parity of sentence in criminal cases

SENTENCING – Parity
It is an important principle that two people sentenced for the same offence, should not receive markedly different sentences, unless they have markedly different circumstances. It is often a very useful principle when another person has been sentenced, as it gives you a benchmark to assess your liability against.

The case law about this issue has stated the following as being some of the propositions relevant to parity;

The promotion of consistency and fairness in punishment demanded that like co-offenders not be left with a justifiable sense of grievance by comparison of sentences passed upon them, and upon others.
R. v. Taudevin [1996] 2 V.R. 402 at 404, applying Lowe v. The Queen (1984) 154 C.L.R. 606.

The principle is as applicable to a case of punishment of like offenders receiving the same sentence, where there should have been disparate sentences as to a case where there are disparate sentences passed upon offenders where it is alleged such disparity was not justified.

[18] Postiglione v. The Queen (1997) 189 C.L.R. 295 at 338.

The avoidance of a justifiable sense of grievance does not mean that a wholly inadequate sentence which is said to be a benchmark, should be imposed; but it does mean that unacceptable disparity should be avoided by giving such weight to the alleged benchmark as the circumstances permit.

[19] Pecora v. R. [1980] V.R. 499 at 503-4; see also R. v. Capper (1993) 69 A.Crim.R. 64. To these cases might be added R. v. Wilson (2000) 116 A.Crim.R. 90 at 96-98 [21]-[23].

 

Date: 09/01/2009