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If you are convicted of a criminal offence in South Australia, the courts when deciding on a suitable penalty must take into consideration precedents from past similar cases, and laws set by parliament. They can also consult pre-sentence reports, and victim impact statements.
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The various factors that must be considered include the circumstances of the offence; past criminal history; personal circumstances of the victim, and the offender; any injury, loss or damage as a result of the offence; whether any early plea of guilty was entered; the need to protect the community; the deterrent any sentence may have; and the possible rehabilitation of the offender. Types of penalties that can be imposed include fines, good behaviour bonds, community service orders, and imprisonment. There are guidelines in place that state that imprisonment must be considered as the last resort after all other possible options are evaluated.
In some circumstances a Magistrate can convict you in your absence, at the request of the Prosecutor.
Department for Correctional Services
This is called an ex parte conviction. If this does occur you can file an application to set the conviction aside, but this must be done within 14 days. The Magistrate will take into consideration the reason why you failed to attend court, and will list the matter for re-hearing if the prosecutor agrees, if the order was made in error, or in the interests of justice.
If you believe your sentence was too severe, or you want to dispute the conviction, you can lodge an appeal in the Supreme Court. The Appeal is not a re-hearing of your case but must be based on a question of law. Appeals from the Magistrate Court, and District Court, on summary or simple indictable matters are determined by a single Judge of the Supreme Court.
Law of Australia - Wikipedia
Appeals from serious indictable offences from the District, or Supreme Court, are heard in the Court of Appeal and decided by a Full Court of three Judges. These Acts outline the types of charges that can be laid for certain offences, and provides the minimum and maximum penalties.
The Act also provides guidelines as to the circumstances surrounding the offence, victim and offender that must be taken into consideration when deciding on an appropriate penalty. Criminal Law.
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