Area of Law – Sentencing

An Article about Young offender in criminal case

Young Offenders
The Sentencing Act defines a young offender as:

“an offender who at the time of being sentenced is under the age of 21 years” There has been a lot of case law about how a young offender should be dealt with and the importance of rehabilitation when looking at the sentencing a young offender.”

The withdrawal from the Mill’s principles
as Batt, J.A. observed

“…the general propositions in R v Mills were just that, general propositions, not of usual or automatic application. Each case depended on its own circumstances, including the circumstances of the offence as well as of the offender: R v Bell [4] and R v Henne n[5]…”

D.P.P. v Lawrence [2004] VSCA 154 at [16].

Thus, in R v. Mills, Batt, J.A. accepted that the youth of the offender is a primary consideration (my emphasis) for sentencing purposes, and in R. v. Bell the same learned judge again emphasised that the general propositions stated in Mills about the significance of youth of the offender for sentencing purposes “are just that – general propositions”. In R. v. Teichelman, Batt, J.A., with whom Phillips, C.J. and Buchanan, J.A. agreed, noted that, notwithstanding that the youth of an offender is a powerful mitigating factor, it may, in the face of other powerful considerations, be subjugated to other sentencing principles or purposes. For example, where general deterrence must be emphasised in the punishment of an offence, as here, there may be correspondingly less scope for leniency on account of the offender’s youth. I consider that this is particularly so in a case such as the present where, notwithstanding the anger of the respondent, he must have been fully aware of the nature of his offending conduct. I add for completeness that although in the case of a young offender the focus is usually placed on his or her prospects of rehabilitation, it is not really clear to me that her Honour accepted that the respondent’s prospects in that regard were sound

[2005] VSCA 13


Date: 09/01/2009