Breach of a suspended sentence may be filed against an individual who has previously received a suspended sentence of imprisonment, and who within the operation of the suspended sentence commits another offence punishable by imprisonment.
To prove that this offence occurred, the prosecution must first prove that there was a lawful suspended sentence in place.
The Prosecution must then proved that during that operational period of the suspended sentence a further offence has been committed.
A proceeding for this charge must be started within 3 years from the time the breaching offence was committed. The court that imposed the suspended sentence will be the one to hear the charge of breaching the order.
Once convicted, the court may restore the original sentence or part sentence held in suspense then require the accused to serve it.
The defence to this charge is to not be found guilty of a breaching offence.
Section 31 of the Sentencing Act provides the guidelines for this offence.
To not have the suspended sentence restored the Accused must show that exceptional circumstances apply. This is a very high legal burden and generally means something very significant has occurred since the order was imposed. Exceptional circumstances can be made out with a combination of factors.