Charges: 5 x contravention of a Family Violence Order; 1 x use carriage service to harass/menace
Case type: Appeal against sentence
Facts: In early 2019, the appellant was sentenced to a total of 2 years’ and 8 months’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 18 months, following guilty pleas to 6 charges, namely, contravening family violence orders obtained by his parents and his ex-partner against him and using carriage service to harass/menace.
Issue: The appellant appealed against the sentence on various grounds, including that the total sentence was manifestly excessive and that her Honour erred in her approach to s 110(2)(a) Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005 (ACT) by ordering that the suspended sentences imposed for the breach offences be served cumulatively.
Held: Murrell CJ noted that the appellant had a very significant domestic violence history (). Her Honour considered the appellant’s prior convictions of matters of dishonesty, and contravening protection orders (), for which he had been sentenced to 5 months’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months. Offences 1 and 2 were committed while he was subject to these suspended sentences, and Offence 3 was committed 3 days after his release from prison (for contravening a protection order) (). Further, the appellant’s illicit substance abuse rendered him unsuitable for an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO) ().
Murrell CJ held that the appellant’s continued contraventions of court orders required a significant total sentence to be imposed. Her Honour was not satisfied that, when considering the appropriateness of the total sentencing, the sentencing judge erred in exercising her sentencing discretion ().
The appellant argued that, as the original suspended sentences were concurrent, the sentencing judge fell into specific error when she made them cumulative (). After analysing the interpretation of s 110(2) in some detail, her Honour concluded that the sentencing judge fell into error (). The appeal was therefore allowed and the appellant was re-sentenced to a total sentence of 2 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 13 months ().