Sentence appeals in Victoria: second statistical research report

Criminal justice Criminal law Sentencing Victoria

One of the main roles of the Court of Appeal in Victoria is to review sentences on appeal from the County Court or the trial division of the Supreme Court and correct any errors identified in the sentencing process. In addition to remedying any identified errors, the Court of Appeal’s decisions provide guidance to courts on sentencing matters and help maintain public confidence in the criminal justice system.

This report identifies all cases that were originally sentenced in the County and Supreme Courts (the higher courts) from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014 (the index year), and describes the outcomes in those cases in which sentences were appealed and finalised from 1 July 2013 to 31 December 2016 (the reference period).

Using that sample of cases, this report answers the following questions:

  • What proportion of cases sentenced in the higher courts in 2013–14 resulted in a sentence appeal during the reference period?
  • What proportion of sentence appeals were initiated by the offender, the Crown (the prosecution) or both the offender and the Crown?
  • What original sentence types and lengths were most likely to be appealed?
  • Which offence types were most likely to be involved in a sentence appeal?
  • What changes were made to the original sentence after a successful sentence appeal (including both the total effective sentence and the non-parole period)?

The Council has previously published a report on sentence appeals in Victoria (the 2012 report), which examined various aspects of the criminal appeals process between 1996 and 2011.2 In the lead up to that report, there were concerns about the backlog of criminal appeals, many of them appeals against sentence.

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