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Key decisions

  • R v Obbens [2022] NSWCCA 109
  • Haile v R [2022] NSWCCA 71

R v Obbens [2022] NSWCCA 109

Sentencing – delay – where new offending occurred during a period which already resulted in a sentence

In this decision, the Court of Criminal Appeal (‘CCA’) stated that when sentencing an offender for fresh sentences which overlap a stale sentence imposed some time ago, the focus is on the totality of the sentence at the time it is imposed. In other words, the question is: what is the appropriate sentence now, having regard to the sentence already imposed and its total effect, rather than what the original sentence ought to have been.

The respondent (this was a Crown appeal) was sentenced in 2022 for an indecent assault, with a further indecent assault on a Form 1. Both date back to 1989 when he was a dormitory master at a Catholic school and he indecently assaulted a 12 or 13-year-old boarder. For this offending, a Community Correction Order was imposed. The Court observed (Hamill and Dhanji JJ, with whom Basten AJA agreed, offering brief additional remarks), without being prescriptive, that ordinarily these offences would be expected to have resulted in a full-time custodial sentence of some significance (at [10]).

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