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Key decisions

  • R v Sharrouf [2023] NSWCCA 137
  • Brzozowski v R [2023] NSWCCA 129

R v Sharrouf [2023] NSWCCA 137

Sentencing – domestic violence offences – conviction only outcomes

In this decision the Court of Criminal Appeal (‘CCA’) has determined that the use of a s 10A (i.e. a conviction with no other penalty) should be rare in domestic violence offences where the offence is considered to be objectively serious.

Following a judge-alone trial, the respondent (this was a Crown appeal) was found guilty of 24 counts out of an original 40 on indictment. The offences were committed against his partner, to whom he was married (albeit it was a cultural marriage and not registered as a legally-recognised union). Ten of the counts of which he was found guilty were of a sexual nature ranging from aggravated sexual assault to indecent assault, with the balance being offences of violence variously involving choking, using an offensive weapon to intimidate, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault. The respondent was sentenced to 10 years with a non-parole period of 5 years. Crucially for present purposes, seven of the offences (five common assaults, one assault occasioning actual bodily harm and the indecent assault) resulted in an order under s 10A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (‘Sentencing Act) – that is, a conviction with no further penalty.

The Crown appealed against the asserted inadequacy of the overall sentence on grounds including that the judge erred in imposing four out of those seven s 10A penalties, and that the sentence overall was manifestly inadequate; this summary only deals with those aspects of the judgment.

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