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  • Non-convictions are generally thought to be options for first time offenders being sentenced in the Local Court for driving, drug possession or minor assaults.
  • Recently the Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed two Crown inadequacy appeals for conditional release orders imposed in the District Court for serious offences.
  • The decisions serve as a reminder of the importance of individualised justice and the Court’s power to decline to record a conviction, even when a client is being sentenced for serious offences.

On the last day of sittings for 2021, the Court of Criminal Appeal handed down its decision in R v Ball [2021] NSWCCA 314. On the first day the Court sat in 2022, R v AB [2022] NSWCCA 3 was published.

In both cases the Crown appealed against sentences of conditional release orders (‘CROs’) without conviction, for serious offences. Manifest inadequacy was alleged. In both cases the appeals were dismissed.

Both decisions reflect that individualised justice may, regardless of the seriousness of the matter, very well take the appearance of a conditional release order without conviction.

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