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Primary and secondary sentencing purposes

Please note that as of 30 April 2018 the Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) replaced the previous Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA).

Safety of the community as the primary purpose

The Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) prescribes that the primary purpose for sentencing a defendant must be to protect the safety of the community (whether as individuals or collectively) [Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) s 3]. The primary purpose is further enshrined in section 9 of the Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) which emphasises that it must be the paramount consideration for a court when determining sentence [see s 9].

In addition to the primary sentencing purpose, the Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) outlines a number of secondary sentencing purposes. These include:

  • ensuring that the defendant is punished for the offending behaviour [s 4(1)(a)(I)];
  • ensuring that the defendant is held accountable to the community for the offending behaviour [s 4(1)(a)(ii)];
  • publicly denouncing the offending behaviour [s 4(1)(b)];
  • publicly recognising the harm done to the community and any victim [s 4(1)(c)];
  • deterring the defendant and others in the community from committing offences [s 4(1)(d)]; and
  • promoting the rehabilitation of the defendant [s 4(1)(e)].
Primary and secondary sentencing purposes  :  Last Revised: Tue May 1st 2018