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If the accused person is found guilty by a Magistrate, Judge or Jury or pleads guilty to some or all of the charges they have been charged with, a date for a sentencing hearing will be made. The accused is now referred to as the offender.
When the offender is sentenced by the Magistrate or Judge you don't have to attend court unless you want to.
Depending on what crime the offender has been found guilty of or pleaded guilty to, you may have the right to give the court a written statement about how the crime has affected your life. This is called a Victim Impact Statement (VIS). Photos, drawings or other images can also be used to describe the impact of the offence.
Immediate family members of victims who have died as the result of an offence may also be able to give a VIS about the impact of the death on the members of the immediate family.
The prosecutor will need to check your VIS before it is given to the court. Sometimes changes may have to be made to your VIS. Your VIS will be made available for the offender and their defence solicitor to read.
Once the court has accepted your VIS, you or your representative is entitled to read out part or all of the statement to the court. The reading of the VIS to the court is optional and voluntary.
Find out more detailed information about victim impact statements in the Victim Impact Statements Information Package.
The Magistrate or Judge may also request a Pre-Sentence Report on the offender. This gives the court information about the offender. This report is prepared by someone from the Probation and Parole Service. It helps the court decide on what sentence they should give the offender.
Other information that may be given to the court at the sentencing hearing includes; the offender's criminal history, the offender's personal circumstances, other cases that are similar to this one, a statement of facts describing how the offender broke the law, and information about what the offender may have been doing between committing the crime and the sentence date.
The law says the court must take into account all these things before deciding on the offender's sentence. Sentences can range from a fine, community service order, periodic detention, home detention or other imprisonment. It will depend on each offender and what happened in the case. The ODPP solicitor can tell you more about how the offender will be sentenced.
Find out more about sentencing in the Sentencing Information Package (PDF, 159Kb)
Note: This document is currently being updated to reflect changes to the criminal justice system that were approved by NSW Parliament in Oct 2017 and are taking effect from late 2017 through 2018. For more information about these changes and how they affect victims go to: www.justice.nsw.gov.au/reforms
See alsoLocal Court diversion programs and alternative sentencing programs