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Bond Without Conviction

The second lest severe sentence available for Commonwealth offences is a bond without conviction under section 19B(1)(d) of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) (the Act). A court may sentence an offender to a bond without conviction if it is satisfied that the criteria in a two-stage test set out in s 19B is made out.

The Two-Stage Test

The two-stage test for whether it is suitable for a court to sentence an offender to a bond without conviction is in s 19B of the Act. According to this section, a court can sentence an offender to a bond without conviction in circumstances where:

The court is satisfied, in respect of that charge or more than one of those charges, that the charge is proved, but is of the opinion, having regard to:

  1. the character, antecedents, age, health or mental condition of the person;
  2. the extent (if any) to which the offence is of a trivial nature; or
  • the extent (if any) to which the offence was committed under extenuating circumstances;

that it is inexpedient to inflict any punishment, or to inflict any punishment other than a nominal punishment, or that it is expedient to release the offender on probation…

Stage One

To satisfy the first stage, the court must be satisfied that one or more of the factors listed in subsections (i), (ii) and (iii) is / are made out.

Stage Two

To satisfy the second stage, the court must be satisfied that “it is inexpedient to inflict any punishment, or to inflict any punishment other than a nominal punishment, or that it is expedient to release the offender on probation…”

Length of a Bond Without Conviction

A bond without conviction may be conditional on the person being of good behaviour (i.e. not committing further offences) for a specified period. This specified period cannot be more than three years.[1]

Bond Conditions

Reparations and payments

A bond without conviction may include conditions that an offender must abide by. These conditions may include making a reparation or restitution or paying compensation or costs. These may be ordered to be made before a specified date or by specified instalments.[2]

Probation

A bond without conviction may include a condition that an offender be supervised by a probation officer.[3] Where this is a condition of a good behaviour bond, an offender must obey all reasonable directions of the probation officer.[4]

Other Conditions

A court may also impose any condition the Court thinks fit to specify in the order.[5]

This is not as broad as it sounds. There is a general law principle that a person who has not been convicted of an offence should not be punished by a court.[6] This means that a condition may not be imposed if it would amount to punishment.

Breaching a bond

If a person breaches a bond, then proceedings may be brought for a bond breach.[7]


[1] s 19B(1)(d)(i) Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
[2] S 19B(1)(d)(ii) Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
[3] S 19B(1)(d)(iii) Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
[4] S 19B(1)(d)(iii) Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
[5] S 19B(1)(d)(iii) Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
[6] Temby v Schulze (1991) 57 A Crim R 284
[7] S 20A(1A) Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)