Baseline offences – Adding up the difference between median and baseline

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Sentencing BookWritten 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:

Charges Sentenced to the Baseline Median Value

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
Baseline sentence
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.”

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