On this page we explain who's who and what happens in a court at sentencing. Select a topic to learn more below:
Structure of the criminal justice system in NSW.
An offender is sentenced after he or she:
Sentencing often takes place on a separate day to the trial or summary hearing and is conducted before the
judge or magistrate.A
victim, like all members of the community, has the right to be present at the sentencing hearing.At the sentencing hearing, the
defence has the opportunity to put forward evidence and arguments about what the sentence should be.The prosecution assists the court by providing information about applicable law and relevant sentencing statistics.Both the defence and the prosecution can make oral and written arguments, and both sides can call evidence in support of their arguments.The
prosecution may challenge evidence put forward by the defence at the sentencing hearing, and may challenge or cross-examine defence witnesses. The prosecution will normally provide information concerning any prior criminal convictions of the offender.Evidence presented by the defence may include:
The court often obtains a pre-sentence report from the Community and Offender Services, which will detail the offender's background and any appropriate or available sentencing options. In the case of a juvenile offender, Juvenile Justice must provide a background report detailing this information.An offender can only be sentenced for the charge of which he or she has been found guilty. The judge or magistrate can only take into account factors that are relevant to that charge.The judge or magistrate will often make sentencing remarks to clarify his/her decision.
Download the Sentencing Information Package [PDF 470KB]