Baseline offences – Adding up the difference between median and baseline
Written by Bill Doogue.Partner, Doogue + George Defence Lawyers.
There has been some struggle to get to the essence of what will happen with baseline offences, since the introduction of the amended Sentencing Amendment (Baseline Sentences) Bill 2014 in April last year.
The Sentencing Advisory Council produced the following PDF explaining the process:
It includes a table explaining Difference between Median and Baseline, reproduced below, and gives examples of what people have been getting as a median sentence and then what the baseline sentence will be. It also shows the difference in sentence between the median and the baseline.
Baseline Offence Medians
2009–10 to 2013–14
Median sentence 2009–10 to 2013–14
|Murder||20 years||25 years||5 years|
|Trafficking in a large commercial quantity of a drug of dependence||6 years 6 months||14 years||7 years 6 months|
|Persistent sexual abuse of a child under 16||6 years||10 years||4 years|
|Sexual penetration with a child under 12||3 years 6 months||10 years||6 years 6 months|
|Incest with a child/step-child/lineal descendant (aged under 18)||5 years||10 years||5 years|
|Incest with the child/step-child/lineal descendant, aged under 18, of a de facto spouse||4 years||10 years||6 years|
|Culpable driving causing death||5 years 11 months||9 years||3 years 1 month|
It is a fairly simple calculation to multiply the number of that offence sentenced by the difference and be left with an approximation of the suffering and sadness that this will cause.
This is known as the “Cost of Populism and subsequent Government cowardice calculation.”