Sentence discount legislation to pass today

Laws that will significantly reduce the discounts available to serious criminal offenders for early guilty pleas go before the Upper House of State Parliament today.

“This legislation corrects a problem created in 2013 when the former Labor Government introduced discounts of up to 40 per cent for serious offenders entering an early guilty plea and I want it through Parliament today,” said Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.

“40 per cent discounts for indictable offences for an early guilty plea have resulted in far too many sentences that didn’t reflect the seriousness of the crime.

Examples of excessive sentence discounts handed down when Labor were in office include;

Andrew Hallcroft, in the so-called wheelie bin murder, received a 30 per cent discount and just a 15 year non-parole period for the brutal stabbing and dismemberment of Allan Ryan.

Timothy James Chesterman,who sexually abused a 13 year old boy with a mild intellectual disability had his sentence reduced by nearly 40 per cent from 12 years in jail to seven years, three months.

Alexander Wooldridge, who was sentenced to five years,six months for causing death by dangerous driving, had his sentence reduced to three years, four months for a fatal crash that killed four people and seriously injured another.

“We have acted on the recommendations of the Martin Review, developing a system that is fairer, more in line with community standards and ensures the courts take into account a broad range of factors when imposing a sentence and determining the appropriate reduction,” Attorney-General Chapman said.

The new laws mean that guilty pleas for some major indictable offences -such as manslaughter, causing death by dangerous driving, rape and unlawful sexual intercourse -would be eligible for a discount of:

Up to 25 per cent (reduced from 40 per cent), where the guilty plea is entered within four weeks of the first appearance

Up to 15 per cent (reduced from 30 per cent), where the guilty plea is entered after the first four weeks but on the day of, or before, the committal appearance

Up to ten per cent (reduced from 20 per cent), where the guilty plea is entered from the day