Sentencing Trends for Handling Stolen Goods in the Higher Courts of Victoria 2007-08 to 2011-12

Sentencing Snapshot 136
Date of Publication: 
14 March 2013

Sentencing Snapshot no. 136 describes sentencing outcomes for the offence of handling stolen goods in the County Court of Victoria between 2007-08 and 2011-12.

The most recent Sentencing Snapshot for this offence is Snapshot no. 167.

You can also find statistics for this offence on SACStat.

Authored and published by the Sentencing Advisory Council
© Copyright State of Victoria, Sentencing Advisory Council, 2013

Introduction

This Sentencing Snapshot describes sentencing outcomes[1] for the offence of handling stolen goods and details the age and gender[2] of people sentenced for this offence in the County Court of Victoria between 2007–08 and 2011–12.[3] Except where noted otherwise, the data represent sentences imposed at first instance rather than sentences imposed following appeal.

A person is guilty of handling stolen goods if he or she dishonestly receives or deals with goods, and knows or believes them to be stolen.

Handling stolen goods is an indictable offence that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment[4] and/or a fine of 1800 penalty units.[5] Indictable offences are more serious offences triable before a judge and jury in the County or Supreme Court. Handling stolen goods can also be tried summarily by the Magistrates’ Court if the property involved meets certain criteria,[6] the Magistrates’ Court considers it appropriate and the defendant consents.[7]

Handling stolen goods was the principal offence in 0.4% of cases sentenced in the higher courts between 2007–08 and 2011–12.

People sentenced

From 2007–08 to 2011–12, 45 people were sentenced in the higher courts for a principal[8] offence of handling stolen goods. These people are the focus of this Snapshot. However, an additional 210 people were sentenced in cases that involved handling stolen goods but where some other offence was the principal offence. In total, 255 people were sentenced in the higher courts for the offence of handling stolen goods for 423 charges of handling stolen goods.

Figure 1 shows the number of people sentenced for the principal offence of handling stolen goods during this five-year period. Over the five years depicted, the majority of those sentenced were men (93.3%, or 42 of 45 people), including 5 of the 6 people sentenced in 2011–12.

Figure 1: The number of people sentenced for handling stolen goods by gender, 2007–08 to 2011–12

  Gender    
Financial year Male Female Total
2007–08 21 0 21
2008–09 7 0 7
2009–10 6 0 6
2010–11 3 2 5
2011–12 5 1 6
Total 42 3 45

Sentence types and trends

Figure 2 shows the total number of people sentenced for handling stolen goods and the number who received an immediate custodial sentence. An immediate custodial sentence is one that involves at least some element of immediate (as opposed to wholly suspended) imprisonment or detention.[9] Over the five-year period, 56% of people were given an immediate custodial sentence. This peaked at 80% (4 of 5) in 2010–11 after a low of 29% (2 of 7) in 2008–09. In 2011–12, 67% of people sentenced (4 of 6) were given an immediate custodial sentence.

Figure 2: The number of people sentenced for handling stolen goods and the number who received an immediate custodial sentence, 2007–08 to 2011–12

  Sentence type
Financial year Custodial Non-custodial Total
2007–08 11 10 21
2008–09 2 5 7
2009–10 4 2 6
2010–11 4 1 5
2011–12 4 2 6
Total 25 20 45

Table 1 shows the number of people sentenced for handling stolen goods from 2007–08 to 2011–12 by the types of sentences imposed.

Over the five-year period, around four in 10 people sentenced for handling stolen goods received a period of imprisonment (38%, or 17 of 45 people), while 24% received a wholly suspended[10] sentence of imprisonment, 16% received a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment and 11% received a community-based order.

The number and percentage of people receiving imprisonment for handling stolen goods were lowest during 2008–09 (2 of 7 people, or 29%). The number receiving imprisonment was highest during 2007–08 (7 people), while the percentage was highest during 2010–11 (4 of 5 people, or 80%).

The number and percentage of people given a wholly suspended sentence were lowest during 2010–11 and 2011–12 (0 people each). The number receiving a wholly suspended sentence was highest during 2007–08 (6 people), while the percentage was highest during 2008–09 (4 of 7 people, or 57%).

Table 1: The number and percentage of people sentenced for handling stolen goods by sentence type, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Sentence type 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 Total
Imprisonment 7 (33%) 2 (29%) 2 (33%) 4 (80%) 2 (33%) 17 (38%)
Wholly suspended sentence 6 (29%) 4 (57%) 1 (17%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 11 (24%)
Partially suspended sentence 3 (14%) 0 (–) 2 (33%) 0 (–) 2 (33%) 7 (16%)
Community-based order 3 (14%) 1 (14%) 0 (–) 1 (20%) 0 (–) 5 (11%)
Fine 1 (5%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (17%) 2 (4%)
Community correction order 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (17%) 1 (2%)
Aggregate imprisonment 1 (5%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (2%)
Adjourned undertaking without conviction 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (17%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (2%)
People sentenced 21 7 6 5 6 45

Age and gender of people sentenced

Figure 3 shows the gender of people sentenced for handling stolen goods grouped by their age[11] between 2007–08 and 2011–12. The average age of people sentenced for handling stolen goods was 36 years and 8 months. There were no juveniles sentenced over this period.[12]

Figure 3: The number of people sentenced for handling stolen goods by gender and age, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Age category Female Male Total
18 to 19   2 2
20 to 24 1 3 4
25 to 29 1 4 5
30 to 34   9 9
35 to 39 1 9 10
40 to 44   5 5
45 to 49   6 6
50 to 54      
55 to 59   1 1
60 or older   3 3
Total 3 42 45

Sentence types by gender

Table 2 shows the types of sentences imposed for handling stolen goods grouped by gender. As shown, a higher percentage of men received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment (26.2% compared with no women), a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment (16.7% compared with no women), a community-based order (11.9% compared with no women) and a fine (4.8% compared with no women). Conversely, a higher percentage of women received a period of imprisonment (100.0% compared with 33.3% of men).

Table 2: The number and percentage of people sentenced for handling stolen goods by sentence type and gender, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Sentence type Male Female
Imprisonment 14 (33%) 3 (100%)
Wholly suspended sentence 11 (26%) 0 (–)
Partially suspended sentence 7 (17%) 0 (–)
Community-based order 5 (12%) 0 (–)
Fine 2 (5%) 0 (–)
Community correction order 1 (2%) 0 (–)
Aggregate imprisonment 1 (2%) 0 (–)
Adjourned undertaking without conviction 1 (2%) 0 (–)
People sentenced 42 3

Sentence types by age

As shown in Table 2, the four most common sentence types were imprisonment, wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment, partially suspended sentences of imprisonment and community-based orders. The following analysis examines these sentence types by the offender’s age group.

Imprisonment

As shown in Figure 4, sentences of imprisonment were most likely to be given to people aged under 30 years (55%, or 6 of the 11 people in this age group).

Conversely, sentences of imprisonment were least common for those aged 45 years and older (10%, or 1 of the 10 people in this age group).

Figure 4: The percentage of people who received a period of imprisonment for handling stolen goods by age group, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Age category Percentage
Younger than 30 years 54.5
30 to 34 years 33.3
35 to 39 years 50.0
40 to 44 years 40.0
45 years or older 10.0
Total 37.8

Wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment

As shown in Figure 5, wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment were most likely to be given to people aged 45 years and older (70%, or 7 of the 10 people in this age group).

Conversely, none of the 11 people aged under 30 years received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment.

Figure 5: The percentage of people who received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment for handling stolen goods by age group, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Age category Percentage
Younger than 30 years 0.0
30 to 34 years 22.2
35 to 39 years 10.0
40 to 44 years 20.0
45 years or older 70.0
Total 24.4

Partially suspended sentences of imprisonment

As shown in Figure 6, partially suspended sentences of imprisonment were most likely to be given to people aged 35–39 years (30%, or 3 of the 10 people in this age group).

Conversely, partially suspended sentences of imprisonment were least common for those aged under 30 years (9%, or 1 of the 11 people in this age group).

Figure 6: The percentage of people who received a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment for handling stolen goods by age group, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Age category Percentage
Younger than 30 years 9.1
30 to 34 years 11.1
35 to 39 years 30.0
40 to 44 years 20.0
45 years or older 10.0
Grand Total 15.6

Community-based orders

As shown in Figure 7, community-based orders were most likely to be given to people aged 30–34 years (22%, or 2 of the 9 people in this age group).

Conversely, none of the 10 people aged 35–39 years and none of the 10 people aged 45 years and older received a community-based order.

Figure 7: The percentage of people who received a community-based order for handling stolen goods by age group, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Age category Percentage
Younger than 30 years 18.2
30 to 34 years 22.2
35 to 39 years 0.0
40 to 44 years 20.0
45 years or older 0.0
Total 11.1

Principal and total effective sentences

Two methods for describing sentence types and lengths are examined in this section. One relates to the principal sentence and examines sentences for the offence at a charge level. The other relates to the total effective sentence and examines sentences for the offence at a case level.

The principal sentence is the individual sentence imposed for the charge that is the principal offence.[13]

The total effective sentence in a case with a single charge is the principal sentence. The total effective sentence in a case with multiple charges is the sentence that results from the court ordering the individual sentences for each charge to be served concurrently (at the same time) or wholly or partially cumulatively (one after the other).

In many cases, the total effective sentence imposed on a person will be longer than the principal sentence. Principal sentences for handling stolen goods must be considered in this broader context. The following sections analyse the use of imprisonment for the offence of handling stolen goods from 2007–08 to 2011–12.

Principal sentence of imprisonment

A total of 17 people received a principal sentence of imprisonment for handling stolen goods between 2007–08 and 2011–12

Figure 8 shows these people by the length of the imprisonment term.[14] Imprisonment terms ranged from 7 days to 3 years, while the median length of imprisonment was 1 year and 6 months (meaning that half of the imprisonment terms were shorter than 1 year and 6 months and half were longer).

Figure 8: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for handling stolen goods by length of imprisonment term, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Imprisonment length Total
less than 1 year 6
1 year to less than 2 years 4
2 years to less than 3 years 5
3 years or more 2
Total 17

The most common length of imprisonment imposed was less than 1 year (6 people).

Expanding the analysis from principal sentences of imprisonment to all charges that received imprisonment, there were 221 charges of handling stolen goods sentenced to imprisonment between 2007–08 and 2011–12. Imprisonment lengths for handling stolen goods ranged from 7 days to 3 years, while the median was 6 months, and the most common length was less than 1 year (155 of 221 charges, or 70.1%).

Returning to principal sentences of imprisonment, as shown in Figure 9, the average length of imprisonment term imposed on people sentenced for handling stolen goods ranged from 1 month in 2011–12 to 1 year and 10 months in 2010–11.

Figure 9: The average length of imprisonment term imposed on people sentenced for handling stolen goods, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Financial year Average length of imprisonment
2007–08 1 year, 7 months
2008–09 1 year, 3 months
2009–10 1 year, 6 months
2010–11 1 year, 10 months
2011–12 1 month

From 2007–08 to 2011–12, the majority of people who received a term of imprisonment for handling stolen goods were men (14 people or 82.4%). Over the five-year period, men received a longer average term of imprisonment (1 year and 7 months compared with 1 year for women).

Other offences finalised at the same hearing

Often people prosecuted for handling stolen goods face multiple charges, which are finalised at the same hearing. This section looks at the range of offences for which offenders have been sentenced at the same time as being sentenced for the principal offence of handling stolen goods.

Figure 10 shows the number of people sentenced for the principal offence of handling stolen goods by the total number of offences for which sentences were set. The number of sentenced offences per person ranged from 1 to 26, while the median was 2 offences. There were 13 people (28.9%) sentenced for the single offence of handling stolen goods. The average number of offences per person sentenced for handling stolen goods was 4.47.

Figure 10: The number of people sentenced for the principal offence of handling stolen goods by the number of sentenced offences per person, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Number of offences Number of people
1 13
2 13
3 3
4 3
5 to 9 7
10 to 19 5
20 or more 1
Total 45

While Figure 10 presents the number of sentenced offences for those sentenced for handling stolen goods, Table 3 shows what the accompanying offences were. It shows the number and percentage of people sentenced for the 10 most common offences. The last column sets out the average number of offences sentenced per person. For example, 11 of the total 45 people (24.4%) also received sentences for possessing a drug of dependence. On average, they were sentenced for 1.73 counts of possessing a drug of dependence.

Table 3: The number and percentage of people sentenced for the principal offence of handling stolen goods by the most common offences that were sentenced and the average number of those offences that were sentenced, 2007–08 to 2011–12

  Offence No. % Avg.
1 Handling stolen goods 45 100.0 1.98
2 Possess a drug of dependence 11 24.4 1.73
3 Obtaining property by deception 5 11.1 4.40
4 Prohibited person possess unregistered firearm 5 11.1 1.00
5 Obtaining a financial advantage by deception 2 4.4 4.00
6 Drug trafficking in a non-commercial quantity 2 4.4 2.50
7 Deal with property suspected of being proceeds of crime 2 4.4 2.00
8 Theft 2 4.4 2.00
9 Make false document to prejudice of other 2 4.4 1.50
10 Drive whilst authorisation suspended 2 4.4 1.00
People sentenced 45 100.0 4.47

Total effective sentence of imprisonment

There were 18 people given a total effective sentence of imprisonment.[15] Figure 11 shows the number of people sentenced to imprisonment for handling stolen goods between 2007–08 and 2011–12 by length of total effective sentence. The length of total effective sentences ranged from 15 days to 4 years, while the median total effective length of imprisonment was 2 years (meaning that half of the total effective sentence lengths were below two years and half were above).

The most common total effective imprisonment length was 3 years to less than 4 years (6 people).

Figure 11: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for handling stolen goods by length of total effective imprisonment term, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Total effective imprisonment length Number of people
Less than 1 year 4
1 year to less than 2 years 5
2 years to less than 3 years 2
3 years to less than 4 years 6
4 years to less than 5 years 1
Total 18

Non-parole period

When a person is sentenced to a term of immediate imprisonment of one year or more, the court has the discretion to fix a non-parole period. Where a non-parole period is fixed, the person must serve that period before becoming eligible for parole. Where no non-parole period is set by the court, the person must serve the entirety of the imprisonment term.

Under section 11(4) of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic), if a court sentences an offender to imprisonment in respect of more than one offence, the non-parole period set by the court must be in respect of the total effective sentence of imprisonment that the offender is liable to serve under all the sentences imposed. In many cases, the non-parole period will be longer than the individual principal sentence for handling stolen goods. Sentences and non-parole periods must be considered in this broader context.

Of the 18 people who were sentenced to imprisonment for handling stolen goods, 14 were eligible to have a non-parole period fixed.[16] Of these people, all were given a non-parole period (100%).[17] Figure 12 shows the number of people sentenced to imprisonment for handling stolen goods between 2007–08 and 2011–12 by length of non-parole period. Non-parole periods ranged from 6 months to 2 years, while the median length of the non-parole period was 1 year and 5 months (meaning that half of the non-parole periods were below 1 year and 5 months and half were above).

The most common non-parole period imposed was 1 year to less than 2 years (8 people).

Figure 12: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for handling stolen goods by length of non-parole period, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Non-parole period Total
Less than 1 year 5
1 year to less than 2 years 8
2 years to less than 3 years 1
No non-parole period 3
Total 17

Total effective sentence of imprisonment by non-parole period

While Figures 11 and 12 present the lengths of the total effective sentences and non-parole periods separately, Figure 13 combines the two methods of describing sentence lengths in the one diagram. It shows the total effective sentence and non-parole period for handling stolen goods for each individual person.

The centre of each ‘bubble’ on the chart represents a combination of imprisonment length and non-parole period, while the size of the bubble reflects the number of people who received that particular combination. Sentence lengths and non-parole periods that are longer than one year are rounded down to the nearest year of imprisonment, while sentence lengths and non-parole periods of less than one year are grouped into the ‘<1 year’ category. For example, a sentence length of 2 years and 6 months would be included as a sentence length of 2 years for the purposes of Figure 13.

As shown, the most common combination of imprisonment length and non-parole period imposed was 3 years with a non-parole period of 1 year (6 people – as represented by the largest bubble on the chart). The length of imprisonment ranged from 15 days with no non-parole period to 4 years with a non-parole period of 2 years.

Figure 13: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for handling stolen goods by the total effective sentence and the non-parole period imposed, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Total effective sentence length category Non-parole period category No. of people
Less than 1 year No non-parole period 3
1 year to less than 2 years Less than 1 year 5
2 years to less than 3 years 1 year to less than 2 years 2
3 years to less than 4 years 1 year to less than 2 years 6
4 years to less than 5 years 2 years to less than 3 years 1

Note: No NPP refers to no non-parole period.

Suspended sentences of imprisonment

There were 18 people given a suspended sentence of imprisonment as their total effective sentence. Of these, 11 people had their prison sentence wholly suspended and 7 received a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment. Figure 14 shows the number of people with a suspended sentence of imprisonment as their total effective sentence by the suspended sentence type and length of sentence. The green ‘bubbles’ to the left of the vertical axis show the lengths of the wholly suspended sentences, while the grey bubbles to the right of the vertical axis show the combination of total imprisonment length and the suspended period for those sentenced to a partially suspended sentence. The size of the bubble reflects the number of people who received either the wholly or the partially suspended prison term. Imprisonment lengths and suspended periods that end part way through a month are rounded down to the nearest complete month. For example, a wholly suspended sentence of 6 months and 12 days would be included as a sentence length of 6 months for the purposes of Figure 14.

Wholly suspended sentence lengths ranged from 6 months to 3 years. The most common wholly suspended sentence length was 2 years (3 people – as represented by the largest green bubble on the chart).

Partially suspended sentences ranged from 8 months and 15 days’ imprisonment, with 5 months and 27 days suspended, to 2 years and 9 months’ imprisonment with 1 year suspended. Each partially suspended sentence combination was equally distributed (1 person each – as represented by the grey bubbles on the chart).

Figure 14: The number of people given a wholly or partially suspended sentence of imprisonment for handling stolen goods by sentence type and length, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Wholly suspended sentences
Wholly suspended sentence length (months) No. of people
6 2
12 2
15 1
18 1
24 3
30 1
36 1
Partially suspended sentences
Imprisonment sentence length (months) Suspended period (months) No. of people
8.5 5.9 1
9 6.6 1
12 9 1
13 11 1
30 20 1
30 21 1
33 12 1

Fines

This analysis includes all fines that were imposed for cases where handling stolen goods was the principal offence. Fines were imposed on 14 people.

The fine amount imposed ranged from $75 to $10,200, with a median of $500 (meaning that half of the values fell below $500 and half of the values were above $500).

The average fine amount was $1,598. Fines were only imposed against men.

Figure 15: The number of people who received a fine for handling stolen goods by fine amount, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Fine amount No. of people
$0 to $499 4
$500 to $999 6
$1000 to $1499 0
$1500 to $1999 1
$2000 to $2499 0
$2500 to $2999 0
$3000 to $3499 1
$3500 or more 2

Appeals

A sentence imposed on a person may be appealed[18] by that person or by the Crown. A person sentenced may also appeal against their conviction. All appeals made in relation to people sentenced in the higher courts are determined by the Court of Appeal.

Up to June 2012, no one sentenced for a principal offence of handling stolen goods in the period 2007–08 to 2011–12 had successfully appealed their conviction. Thus, the number of people sentenced for the principal offence of handling stolen goods remained at 45 after appeals are considered.

As a result of successful appeals against sentence, the total effective sentence and/or the non-parole period changed for 1 person. This appeal was made by the person sentenced and resulted in a reduction of the original total effective sentence, from 1 year and 6 months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 7 months, to a new total effective sentence of 1 year and 1 month with a non-parole period of 7 months.

The principal sentence also changed for 1 person as a result of a successful appeal. The longest principal sentence of imprisonment reduced was 1 year and 6 months, which decreased to 1 year and 1 month on appeal.

With the original sentencing data revised to incorporate appeal outcomes, the adjusted longest total effective imprisonment term remained at 4 years and the adjusted longest non-parole period remained at 2 years.

The adjusted longest principal sentence of imprisonment remained at 3 years.

Summary

Between 2007–08 and 2011–12, 45 people were sentenced for handling stolen goods in the higher courts. Over this period, the majority of people sentenced were men (93%), while 78% were aged 25 to 49 years.

Around four in 10 people sentenced for handling stolen goods received a period of imprisonment (38%), while 24% received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment, 16% received a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment and 11% received a community-based order.

Imprisonment was most common for those younger than 30 years of age, wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment were more common for those aged 45 or older, partially suspended sentences of imprisonment were more common for those aged between 35 and 39 years and community-based orders were more common for those aged between 30 and 34 years.

Each of the 45 people was sentenced for an average of 4.47 offences, including 1.98 offences of handling stolen goods. The most common offence finalised in conjunction with handling stolen goods was possession of a drug of dependence (24.4% of all cases). The number and range of offences for which people with a principal offence of handling stolen goods were sentenced help explain why imprisonment sentence lengths were longer for the total effective sentence than for the principal sentence. The median total effective imprisonment length was 2 years, while the median principal imprisonment length was 1 year and 6 months.

Total effective imprisonment lengths ranged from 15 days with no non-parole period to 4 years with a non-parole period of 2 years. The most common sentence of imprisonment was 3 years with a non-parole period of 1 year.

The most common wholly suspended sentence length was 2 years.

One person was able to successfully appeal against their sentence. When the results of the appeal outcomes are incorporated into the original sentencing data, the range of total effective imprisonment length and principal imprisonment sentence length was unchanged.

Endnotes

[1] This series of reports includes custodial and non-custodial supervision orders imposed under Part 5 of the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) as sentencing orders and in the count of people sentenced. These orders are not sentencing orders, as they are imposed in cases where the defendant is not guilty because of mental impairment. However, they are included in this report as they are an important form of disposition of criminal charges.

This Sentencing Snapshot is an update of Sentencing Snapshot no. 105, which describes sentencing trends for handling stolen goods between 2005–06 and 2009–10.

[2] The information source for sentencing outcomes for handling stolen goods only contains information on age and gender characteristics. No other demographic analysis is possible using this data source.

[3] The source data for the statistical information presented in this Snapshot were provided by the Business Intelligence area of the Courts and Tribunals unit within the Department of Justice (Vic). The Sentencing Advisory Council regularly undertakes extensive quality control measures for current and historical data. While every effort is made to ensure that the data analysed in this report are accurate, the data are subject to revision.

[4] Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 88.

[5] The value of a penalty unit changes each year and can be found in the Victorian Government Gazette and on the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel website (link to external site opens in a new window).

[6] Between 1 July 2007 and 11 March 2009, the Magistrates’ Court Act 1989 (Vic) allowed this offence to be heard summarily ‘if the stolen goods alleged to have been handled are a motor vehicle or, in any other case, the amount or value of the stolen goods alleged to have been handled does not in the judgement of the Court exceed $100 000’. On 11 March 2009 the power to hear this offence summarily was transferred to Schedule 2 (4.13) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic). There were no significant changes to the type or value of the property that would allow the offence to be heard summarily.

[7] Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) s 29. Prior to the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) coming into effect, section 53 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1989 (Vic) provided similar powers to hear this offence summarily.

[8] If a person is sentenced for a case with a single charge, the offence for that charge is the principal offence. If a person is sentenced for more than one charge in a single case, the principal offence is the offence for the charge that attracted the most serious sentence according to the sentencing hierarchy.

[9] Immediate custodial sentence includes imprisonment, partially suspended sentence and aggregate imprisonment.

[10] Handling stolen goods is not defined as a ‘serious’ or a ‘significant’ offence for the purposes of giving a wholly suspended sentence under section 27(2B) of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic).

[11] Age is as at the time of sentencing.

[12] Some defendants who were under the age of 18 at the time of committing the alleged offence and who were not 19 years or older at the time proceedings commenced may have been dealt with in the Children’s Court of Victoria.

[13] Refer to endnote 8.

[14] Data presented in this section do not include imprisonment lengths for people who received an aggregate sentence of imprisonment. Sentence lengths for aggregate sentences of imprisonment apply to the whole case, while Figure 8 only deals with sentences of imprisonment for the principal proven offence. During 2006–07 to 2010–11, 1 person received an aggregate form of imprisonment.

[15] All of the 17 people who were sentenced to imprisonment as the principal sentence were also given imprisonment as the total effective sentence. One additional person was given an aggregate sentence of imprisonment and was also included in Figure 11.

[16] A total of 4 people were not eligible for parole because they were given a total effective sentence length of less than 1 year. One of these people was given a non-parole period but it also related to other cases. The non-parole period for this person was excluded from analysis (refer to endnote 16).

[17] One person was sentenced to a total effective sentence of less than 1 year, but was given a non-parole period that related to sentences of imprisonment being served from other cases. It is not possible to determine the length of the non-parole period that related to these cases. The non-parole period for this person was excluded from analysis.

[18] Appeals data were collected by the Sentencing Advisory Council from transcripts of sentencing remarks of criminal appeals on the Australasian Legal Information Institute’s website (link to external site opens in a new window).