A deferral of sentence is often imposed by Victorian courts when an offender is going through a process of rehabilitation. The deferral can be done for a maximum period of 12 months and aims to give an offender the chance to organize their life before the case is finished.
If efforts to improve behavior and general lifestyle are observed by the accused, sentencing by the end of the deferral period is likely to yield a more favorable outcome. A Magistrate may be persuaded to give a lighter sentence if the accused individuals prove to be able to continue their personal rehabilitation and do not reoffend during the deferral period.
Judges are specifically empowered by Section 83A of the Sentencing Act to defer sentencing of an individual found guilty of an offence – provided that they find the deferral to be in the interests of the offender. When this is imposed, it is understood that the judge trusts the offender to be capable of continuing to do the right thing and thus deserving of a chance.
A deferral of sentence is not a typical order given by courts especially as case management tends to mean that the Courts want cases resolved as swiftly as possible. Hence, it is crucial for the accused to show reasonable circumstances that warrant a deferral of sentencing. The defence should thoroughly prepare when requesting for this order and carefully identify the reasons and proof on why deferral is the just course.