A suspended sentence of imprisonment basically allows an offender to not serve a gaol term right away. The judge, after sentencing offenders to a specific period of imprisonment, does not send them to prison; but makes the sentence hang over them through a specific suspension period. The sentence gets served only if the offenders re-offend during the said period.

For example, you could be sentenced to 6 months in prison to be suspended for 12 months. If you display good behavior for the next 12 months after the sentence was announced, you need not serve the 6-month prison term. However if you re-offend during the suspension period of 12 months, you will have to go to prison unless you can establish exceptional circumstances.

“Exceptional circumstances” – which are very challenging to establish in courts – are strictly required should a re-offending occur during a suspension period. If you cannot prove exceptional circumstances, you are made to serve the suspended prison term.