Sentencing Trends for Making a Threat to Kill in the Higher Courts of Victoria 2007-08 to 2011-12

Sentencing Snapshot 143
Date of Publication: 
8 May 2013

Sentencing Snapshot no. 143 describes sentencing outcomes for the offence of making a threat to kill in the County and Supreme Courts of Victoria between 2007-08 and 2011-12.

The most recent Sentencing Snapshot for this offence is Snapshot no. 174.

You can also access 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 making a threat to kill and details the age and gender[2] of people sentenced for this offence in the County and Supreme Courts of Victoria between 2007-08 and 2011-12.[3] Except where otherwise noted, the data represent sentences imposed at first instance.

A person who, without lawful excuse, threatens to kill another person is guilty of the offence of making a threat to kill. The person must intend that, or be reckless as to whether, the other person would fear the threat would be carried out.[4] Making a threat to kill is an indictable offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment[5] and/or a fine of 1,200 penalty units.[6] Indictable offences are more serious offences triable before a judge and jury in the County or Supreme Court. Making a threat to kill can also be tried summarily by the Magistrates' Court[7] if the Magistrates' Court considers it appropriate and the defendant consents.[8]

Making a threat to kill was the principal offence[9] in 0.5% of cases sentenced in the higher courts between 2007-08 and 2011-12.

People sentenced

From 2007-08 to 2011-12, 51 people were sentenced in the higher courts for a principal offence of making a threat to kill. These people are the focus of this Snapshot. However, an additional 277 people were sentenced in cases that involved making a threat to kill but where some other offence was the principal offence. In total, 328 people were sentenced in the higher courts for 429 charges of making a threat to kill.

Figure 1 shows the number of people sentenced for the principal offence of making a threat to kill by their gender. Over the five years depicted, the majority of those sentenced were men (96.1% or 49 of 51 people), including all of the 10 people sentenced in 2011-12.

Figure 1: The number of people sentenced for making a threat to kill by gender, 2007-08 to 2011-12

  Gender    
Financial year Male Female Total
2007-08 11 2 13
2008-09 20 0 20
2009-10 5 0 5
2010-11 3 0 3
2011-12 10 0 10
Total 49 2 51

Sentence types and trends

Figure 2 shows the total number of people sentenced for making a threat to kill 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.[10] Over the five-year period, 47% of people were given an immediate custodial sentence. This peaked at 100% (3 of 3) in 2010-11 before decreasing to 30% (3 of 10) in 2011-12.

Figure 2: The number of people sentenced for making a threat to kill and the number who received an immediate custodial sentence, 2007-08 to 2011-12

  Sentence type    
Financial year Custodial Non-custodial Total
2007-08 5 8 13
2008-09 9 11 20
2009-10 4 1 5
2010-11 3 0 3
2011-12 3 7 10
Total 24 27 51

Table 1 shows the number of people sentenced for making a threat to kill from 2007-08 to 2011-12 by the types of sentences imposed.

Over the five-year period, around one-third of the people sentenced for making a threat to kill received a period of imprisonment (33% or 17 of 51 people), while 22% received a wholly suspended[11] sentence of imprisonment, 12% received a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment and 12% received a community-based order.

The number of people given a sentence of imprisonment was lowest during 2010-11 (1 person) and highest during 2008-09 (6 people). The percentage of people given a sentence of imprisonment was lowest during 2007-08 (23% or 3 of 13 people) and highest during 2009-10 (80% or 4 of 5 people).

The number and percentage of people given a wholly suspended sentence were lowest during 2009-10 and 2010-11 (0 people) and highest during 2008-09 (30% or 6 of 20 people).

The number and percentage of people given a partially suspended sentence were lowest during 2009-10 and 2011-12 (0 people each). The number was highest during 2008-09 (3 people) while the percentage was highest during 2010-11 (67% or 2 of 3 people).

The number and percentage of people given a community-based order were lowest during 2007-08 and 2010-11 (0 people each). The number was highest during 2008-09 (3 people) while the percentage was highest during 2009-10 and 2011-12 (20% each).

Table 1: The number and percentage of people sentenced for making a threat to kill by sentence type, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Sentence type 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Total
Imprisonment 3 (23%) 6 (30%) 4 (80%) 1 (33%) 3 (30%) 17 (33%)
Wholly suspended sentence 3 (23%) 6 (30%) 0 (-) 0 (-) 2 (20%) 11 (22%)
Partially suspended sentence 1 (8%) 3 (15%) 0 (-) 2 (67%) 0 (-) 6 (12%)
Community-based order 0 (-) 3 (15%) 1 (20%) 0 (-) 2 (20%) 6 (12%)
Community corrections order 0 (-) 0 (-) 0 (-) 0 (-) 3 (30%) 3 (6%)
Adjourned undertaking with conviction 2 (15%) 1 (5%) 0 (-) 0 (-) 0 (-) 3 (6%)
Fine 1 (8%) 1 (5%) 0 (-) 0 (-) 0 (-) 2 (4%)
Residential treatment order 1 (8%) 0 (-) 0 (-) 0 (-) 0 (-) 1 (2%)
Aggregate wholly suspended sentence 1 (8%) 0 (-) 0 (-) 0 (-) 0 (-) 1 (2%)
Aggregate intensive correction order 1 (8%) 0 (-) 0 (-) 0 (-) 0 (-) 1 (2%)
People sentenced 13 20 5 3 10 51

Age and gender of people sentenced

Figure 3 shows the gender of people sentenced for making a threat to kill grouped by their age[12] between 2007-08 and 2011-12. The average age of people sentenced for making a threat to kill was 36 years and 9 months. There were no juveniles sentenced over this period.[13]

Figure 3: The number of people sentenced for making a threat to kill by gender and age, 2007-08 to 2011-12

  Gender    
Age group (years) Male Female Total
21 to 24 5 1 6
25 to 29 7 0 7
30 to 34 10 1 11
35 to 39 13 0 13
40 to 44 5 0 5
45 to 49 3 0 3
50 to 54 1 0 1
55 to 59 2 0 2
60 or older 3 0 3
Total 49 2 51

Sentence types by gender

Table 2 shows the types of sentences imposed for making a threat to kill grouped by gender. As shown, a higher percentage of men received a period of imprisonment (34.7% compared with no women), a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment (22.4% compared with no women), a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment (12.2% compared with no women) and a community-based order (12.2% compared with no women). Conversely, a higher percentage of women received an adjourned undertaking with conviction (100.0% compared with 2.0% of men).

Table 2: The number and percentage of people sentenced for making a threat to kill by sentence type and gender, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Sentence type Male Female
Imprisonment 17 (35%) 0 (-)
Wholly suspended sentence 11 (22 %) 0 (-)
Partially suspended sentence 6 (12 %) 0 (-)
Community-based order 6 (12 %) 0 (-)
Community corrections order 3 (6 %) 0 (-)
Adjourned undertaking with conviction 1 (2 %) 2 (100%)
Fine 2 (4 %) 0 (-)
Residential treatment order 1 (2 %) 0 (-)
Aggregate wholly suspended sentence 1 (2 %) 0 (-)
Aggregate intensive correction order 1 (2 %) 0 (-)
People sentenced 49 2

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 35-39 years (54% or 7 of the 13 people in this age group).

Conversely, sentences of imprisonment were least common for those aged 30-34 years (18% or 2 of the 11 people in this age group).

Figure 4: The percentage of people who received a period of imprisonment for making a threat to kill by age group, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Age group (years) Percentage
younger than 30 23.1
30 to 34 18.2
35 to 39 53.8
40 or older 35.7

Wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment

As shown in Figure 5, wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment were most likely to be given to people aged 30-34 years (36% or 4 of the 11 people in this age group) followed by people aged 40 years and older (36% or 5 of the 14 people in this age group).

Conversely, none of the 13 people aged 35-39 years received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment.

Figure 5: The percentage of people who received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment for making a threat to kill by age group, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Age group (years) Percentage
Younger than 30 15.4
30 to 34 36.4
35 to 39 0
40 or older 35.7

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 (23% or 3 of the 13 people in this age group).

Conversely, none of the 14 people aged 40 years and older received a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment.

Figure 6: The percentage of people who received a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment for making a threat to kill by age group, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Age group (years) Percentage
Younger than 30 15.4
30 to 34 9.1
35 to 39 23.1
40 or older 0

Community-based orders

As shown in Figure 7, community-based orders were most likely to be given to people aged younger than 30 years (23% or 3 of the 13 people in this age group).

Conversely, none of the 11 people aged 30-34 years received a community-based order.

Figure 7: The percentage of people who received a community-based order for making a threat to kill by age group, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Age group (years) Percentage
Younger than 30 23.1
30 to 34 0
35 to 39 7.7
40 or older 14.3

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.[14]

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 making a threat to kill must be considered in this broader context. The following sections analyse the use of imprisonment for the offence of making a threat to kill from 2007-08 to 2011-12.

Principal sentence of imprisonment

A total of 17 people received a principal sentence of imprisonment for making a threat to kill between 2007-08 and 2011-12.

Figure 8 shows these people by the length of their imprisonment term. Imprisonment terms ranged from 4 months and 15 days to 5 years, while the median length of imprisonment was 2 years (meaning that half of the imprisonment terms were shorter than 2 years and half were longer).

The most common length of imprisonment imposed was 2 to less than 3 years (6 people).

Figure 8: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for making a threat to kill by length of imprisonment term, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Imprisonment length Number
Less than 1 year 4
1 to less than 2 years 4
2 to less than 3 years 6
3 to less than 4 years 2
4 to less than 5 years 0
5 to less than 6 years 1

Expanding the analysis from principal sentences of imprisonment to all charges that received imprisonment, there were 268 charges of making a threat to kill sentenced to imprisonment between 2007-08 and 2011-12. Imprisonment lengths for making a threat to kill ranged from 7 days to 6 years while the median was 12 months, and the most common length was less than 1 year (125 of 268 charges, or 47%).

Returning to principal sentences of imprisonment, as shown in Figure 9, the average length of imprisonment term imposed on people sentenced for making a threat to kill ranged from 1 year and 4 months in 2009-10 to 2 years and 6 months in 2010-11.

From 2007-08 to 2011-12, all of those people who received a term of imprisonment for making a threat to kill were men (17 people or 100.0%).

Figure 9: The average length of imprisonment term imposed on people sentenced for making a threat to kill, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Financial year Average length of imprisonment
2007-08 1 year, 5 months
2008-09 1 year, 11 months
2009-10 1 year, 4 months
2010-11 2 years, 6 months
2011-12 2 years

Other offences finalised at the same hearing

Often people prosecuted for making a threat to kill 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 making a threat to kill.

Figure 10 shows the number of people sentenced for the principal offence of making a threat to kill by the total number of offences for which sentences were set. The number of sentenced offences per person ranged from 1 to 13, while the median was 3 offences. There were 10 people (19.6%) sentenced for the single offence of making a threat to kill. The average number of offences per person sentenced for making a threat to kill was 3.65.

Figure 10: The number of people sentenced for the principal offence of making a threat to kill by the number of sentenced offences per person, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Number of offences Number of people
1 10
2 12
3 11
4 5
5 to 9 9
10 or more 4

While Figure 10 presents the number of sentenced offences for those sentenced for making a threat to kill, 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, 18 of the total 51 people (35.3%) also received sentences for intentionally destroying/damaging property (criminal damage). On average, they were sentenced for 1.22 counts of intentionally destroy/damage property (criminal damage).

Table 3: The number and percentage of people sentenced for the principal offence of making a threat to kill 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 Making a threat to kill 51 100.0 1.22
2 Intentionally destroy/damage property (criminal damage) 18 35.3 1.22
3 Aggravated burglary 12 23.5 1.00
4 Common law assault 10 19.6 1.10
5 Make threat to inflict serious injury 5 9.8 1.40
6 Assault with weapon 4 7.8 2.00
7 Cause injury intentionally 4 7.8 1.50
8 Breach of intervention order 3 5.9 1.33
9 Cause injury recklessly 3 5.9 1.33
10 Prohibited person possess firearm 3 5.9 1.33
People sentenced 51 100.0 3.65

Total effective sentence of imprisonment

There were 17 people given a total effective sentence of imprisonment.[15] Figure 11 shows the number of people sentenced to imprisonment for making a threat to kill between 2007-08 and 2011-12 by length of total effective sentence. The length of total effective sentences ranged from 4 months and 15 days to 6 years, while the median total effective length of imprisonment was 2 years and 6 months (meaning that half of the total effective sentence lengths were below 2 years and 6 months and half were above).

The most common total effective imprisonment length was less than 1 year and 2 to less than 3 years (4 people each).

Figure 11: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for making a threat to kill 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 to less than 2 years 2
2 to less than 3 years 4
3 to less than 4 years 3
4 to less than 5 years 2
5 to less than 6 years 1
6 to less than 7 years 1

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 making a threat to kill. Sentences and non-parole periods must be considered in this broader context.

Of the 17 people who were sentenced to imprisonment for making a threat to kill, 13 were eligible to have a non-parole period fixed.[16] Of these people, all were given a non-parole period (100%). Figure 12 shows the number of people sentenced to imprisonment for making a threat to kill between 2007-08 and 2011-12 by length of non-parole period. Non-parole periods ranged from 3 months to 4 years, while the median length of the non-parole period was 1 year and 6 months (meaning that half of the non-parole periods were below 1 year and 6 months and half were above).

The most common non-parole period imposed was 1 to less than 2 years (6 people).

Figure 12: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for making a threat to kill by length of non-parole period, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Non-parole period Number of people
Less than 1 year 2
1 to less than 2 years 6
2 to less than 3 years 3
3 to less than 4 years 0
4 to less than 5 years 2
No non-parole period 2

Total effective sentences of imprisonment and non-parole periods

Figure 13 presents the average length of total effective sentences of imprisonment compared with the average length of non-parole periods for all people from 2007-08 to 2011-12.

From 2007-08 to 2011-12, the average length of total effective sentences for all people ranged from 2 years in 2009-10 to 3 years and 4 months in 2010-11. Over the same period, the average length of non-parole periods ranged from 1 year and 6 months in 2011-12 to 2 years and 4 months in 2007-08.

Figure 13: The average total effective sentence and the average non-parole period imposed on people sentenced to imprisonment for making a threat to kill, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Financial year Total effective sentence length Non-parole period
2007-08 2 years, 7 months 2 years, 4 months
2008-09 2 years, 9 months 1 year, 9 months
2009-10 2 years 1 year, 11 months
2010-11 3 years, 4 months 2 years
2011-12 2 years, 8 months 1 year, 6 months

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 14 combines the two methods of describing sentence lengths in the one diagram. It shows the total effective sentence and non-parole period for making a threat to kill 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 14.

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

Figure 14: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for making a threat to kill by the total effective sentence and the non-parole period imposed, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Total effective sentence category Non-parole period category Total
Less than 1 year No non-parole period 2
1 to less than 2 years Less than 1 year 1
1 to less than 2 years 1 to less than 2 years 1
2 to less than 3 years Less than 1 year 1
2 to less than 3 years 1 to less than 2 years 3
3 to less than 4 years 1 to less than 2 years 2
3 to less than 4 years 2 to less than 3 years 1
4 to less than 5 years 2 to less than 3 years 2
5 to less than 6 years 4 years to less than 5 years 1
6 to less than 7 years 4 years to less than 5 years 1
Total number of people   15

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, 12 people had their prison sentence wholly suspended and 6 received a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment. Figure 15 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 15.

Wholly suspended sentence lengths ranged from 3 months to 2 years and 6 months. The most common wholly suspended sentence lengths were 9 months and 2 years and 6 months (3 people each - as represented by the two largest green bubbles on the chart).

Partially suspended sentences ranged from 5 months' imprisonment with 2 months and 7 days suspended to 2 years and 10 months' imprisonment with 1 year and 10 months suspended. Each combination of imprisonment length and suspension period given during 2007-08 to 2011-12 was equally distributed (one person each - as represented by the 6 grey bubbles on the chart).

Figure 15: The number of people given a wholly or partially suspended sentence of imprisonment for making a threat to kill by sentence type and length, 2007-08 to 2011-12

Wholly suspended sentences  
Wholly suspended sentence length (months) No. of people
3 1
9 3
12 1
15 2
18 2
30 3
Partially suspended sentences    
Imprisonment sentence length (months) Suspended period (months) No. of people
5 2.25 1
9.5 6.35 1
18 17.05 1
24 13.8 1
24 15 1
34 22 1

Appeals

A sentence imposed on a person may be appealed[17] 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, one person sentenced for a principal offence of making a threat to kill in the period 2007-08 to 2011-12 successfully appealed their conviction. The person had originally received a total effective imprisonment term of 4 years with a non-parole period of 2 years and 8 months but was acquitted of the principal offence of making a threat to kill on appeal (but continued to be found guilty on other charges). Thus, the number of people sentenced from 2007-08 to 2011-12 for a principal offence of making a threat to kill was reduced to 50 people once appeals are considered.

As a result of successful appeals against sentence, the total effective sentence and/or the non-parole period changed for one person. The appeal was made by the person sentenced and resulted in a sentence reduction from 3 years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of 1 year and 6 months to a partially suspended sentence of 3 years with 2 years suspended.

The principal sentences did not change as a result of any successful appeals.

With the original sentencing data revised to incorporate appeal outcomes, the adjusted longest total effective imprisonment term was unchanged at 6 years with a non-parole period of 4 years.

The adjusted longest principal sentence of imprisonment was also unchanged at 5 years.

Summary

Between 2007-08 and 2011-12, 51 people were sentenced for making a threat to kill in the higher courts. Over this period, the majority of people sentenced were men (96%), while 73% were between the ages of 21 and 39.

Around one-third of the people sentenced for making a threat to kill received a period of imprisonment (33%), while 22% received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment, 12% received a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment and 12% received a community-based order.

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

Each of the 51 people was sentenced for an average of 3.65 offences, including 1.22 offences of making a threat to kill. The most common offence finalised in conjunction with making a threat to kill was intentionally destroying/damaging property (criminal damage) (35.3% of all cases). The number and range of offences for which people with a principal offence of making a threat to kill 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 and 6 months, while the median principal imprisonment length was 2 years.

Total effective imprisonment lengths ranged from 4 months and 15 days with no non-parole period to 6 years with a non-parole period of 4 years. The most common sentence of imprisonment was 2 years with a non-parole period of 1 year.

The most common wholly suspended sentence lengths were 9 months and 2 years and 6 months.

A small number of people were able to successfully appeal against their sentences. When the results of the appeal outcomes are incorporated into the original sentencing data, the range of total effective imprisonment lengths and principal imprisonment sentence lengths remains 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. 112, which describes sentencing trends for making a threat to kill between 2005-06 and 2009-10.

[2] The information source for sentencing outcomes for making a threat to kill 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 20.

[5] Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 20.

[6] 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 (external site opens in a new window).

[7] Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) s 28. Prior to the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) coming into effect, section 53 of the Magistrates' Court Act 1989 (Vic) provided similar powers to allow the Magistrates' Court to hear this offence summarily.

[8] 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 allow the Magistrates' Court to hear this offence summarily.

[9] 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.

[10] Immediate custodial sentence includes imprisonment, partially suspended sentence and residential treatment order.

[11] Making a threat to kill 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).

[12] Age is at the time of sentencing.

[13] 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.

[14] Refer to endnote 9.

[15] All of the 17 people who were sentenced to imprisonment as the principal sentence were also given imprisonment as the total effective sentence.

[16] A total of four people were not eligible for parole because they were given a total effective sentence length of less than one year. Two of these four people were granted a non-parole period, but these related to sentences of imprisonment from other cases. It is not possible to determine the length of the non-parole period that relates to these cases separately. The non-parole period for these people are excluded from the analysis.

[17] 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).