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  • Parente v R [2017] NSWCCA 284
  • R v Hall [2017] NSWCCA 313

Parente v R [2017] NSWCCA 284

Sentencing – drug offences – Clark ‘principle’ compelling fulltime custody overturned

This full-bench decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal (‘CCA’), which follows a recent line of cases previously reported in these pages, finally overturns the so-called ‘principle’ or ‘rule’ which meant that involvement in trafficking of drugs to a substantial degree must lead to fulltime custody unless there were exceptional circumstances. When sentencing for drug matters, courts must focus on the principles of sentencing applicable to all matters, rather than starting with a prima facie sentence of imprisonment.

Unhappily, in this case a criminal lawyer has changed the law in a way he’d probably prefer he hadn’t: the appellant was a solicitor practising in criminal law who was, but for the facts of this case, described by the sentencing judge as being of otherwise excellent character.

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