Sentencing Trends for Aggravated Burglary in the Higher Courts of Victoria 2008-09 to 2012-13

Sentencing Snapshot 155
Date of Publication: 
26 June 2014

Sentencing Snapshot no. 155 describes sentencing outcomes for the offence of aggravated burglary in the County and Supreme Courts of Victoria between 2008-09 and 2012-13.

The most recent Sentencing Snapshot for this offence is Snapshot no. 211.

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, 2014

Introduction

This Sentencing Snapshot describes sentencing outcomes[1] for the offence of aggravated burglary and details the age and gender[2] of people sentenced for this offence in the County and Supreme Courts of Victoria between 2008–09 and 2012–13.[3] Except where otherwise noted, the data represent sentences imposed at first instance.

A person who enters a building or part of a building as a trespasser and who intends to steal, assault a person in the building, or damage the building or property in the building is guilty of burglary. The offence of burglary is aggravated if the person has with him or her a firearm, imitation firearm, offensive weapon, explosive, or imitation explosive.  Aggravated burglary also occurs if, at the time of entering the building, someone else was present and the offender knew, or was reckless as to the fact. Aggravated burglary is an indictable offence that carries a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to 3,000 penalty units. Indictable offences are more serious offences triable before a judge and jury in the County or Supreme Court. Aggravated burglary can also be tried summarily if it involves an intent to steal property below a certain value, the Magistrates’ Court considers it appropriate, and the defendant consents. 

Aggravated burglary was the principal offence[4] in 7.9% of cases sentenced in the higher courts between 2008–09 and 2012–13.

People sentenced

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, 772 people were sentenced in the higher courts for a principal offence of aggravated burglary. These people are the focus of this Snapshot. However, an additional 341 people were sentenced in cases that involved aggravated burglary but where some other offence was the principal offence. In total, 1,113 people were sentenced in the higher courts for 1,207 charges of aggravated burglary.

Figure 1 shows the number of people sentenced for the principal offence of aggravated burglary by gender. Over the five years depicted, the majority of those sentenced were men (94.0% or 726 of the 772 people), including 119 of the 128 people sentenced in 2012–13.

Figure 1: The number of people sentenced for aggravated burglary by gender, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Gender
Financial year Male Female Total
2008-09 118 8 126
2009-10 150 9 159
2010-11 167 11 178
2011-12 172 9 181
2012-13 119 9 128
Total 726 46 772

Sentence types and trends

Figure 2 shows the total number of people sentenced for aggravated burglary 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.[5]   Over the five-year period, 63% of people were given an immediate custodial sentence.  This peaked at 77% (99 of 128) in 2012–13 after a low of 52% (66 of 126) in 2008–09.

Figure 2: The number of people sentenced for aggravated burglary and the number who received an immediate custodial sentence, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Sentence type
Financial year Custodial Non-custodial Total
2008-09 66 60 126
2009-10 99 60 159
2010-11 108 70 178
2011-12 117 64 181
2012-13 99 29 128
Total 489 283 772

Table 1 shows the number of people sentenced for aggravated burglary from 2008–09 to 2012–13 by the types of sentences imposed.

Over the five-year period, around half of the people sentenced for aggravated burglary received a period of imprisonment (52% or 404 of 772 people), while 29% received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment.

The number and percentage of people receiving a sentence of imprisonment were lowest during 2008–09 (56 of 126 people or 44%). The number of people receiving a sentence of imprisonment was highest in 2011–12 (99 people) while the percentage of people receiving a sentence of imprisonment was highest in 2012–13 (88 of 128 people or 69%).

The number and percentage of people receiving wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment were lowest in 2012–13 (11 of 128 people or 9%). The number of people receiving a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment was highest during 2010–11 (57 people) while the percentage of people receiving a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment was highest during 2008–09 (53 of 126 people or 42%).

The number and percentage of people given a partially suspended sentence were lowest in 2012–13 (5 of 128 people or 4%) and highest in 2009–10 (19 of 159 people or 12%). 

Table 1: The number and percentage of people sentenced for aggravated burglary by sentence type, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Sentence type 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 Total
Imprisonment 56 (44%) 75 (47%) 86 (48%) 99 (55%) 88 (69%) 404 (52%)
Wholly suspended sentence 53 (42%) 55 (35%) 57 (32%) 48 (27%) 11 (9%) 224 (29%)
Partially suspended sentence 8 (6%) 19 (12%) 15 (8%) 13 (7%) 5 (4%) 60 (8%)
Youth justice centre order 2 (2%) 5 (3%) 7 (4%) 5 (3%) 5 (4%) 24 (3%)
Community correction order 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 7 (4%) 16 (13%) 23 (3%)
Community-based order 3 (2%) 1 (<1%) 9 (5%) 8 (4%) 0 (–) 21 (3%)
Intensive correction order 1 (<1%) 1 (<1%) 4 (2%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 6 (<1%)
Non-custodial supervision order 1 (<1%) 1 (<1%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%) 3 (<1%)
Fine 1 (<1%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%) 1 (<1%) 3 (<1%)
Mix (wholly suspended sentence and fine) 0 (–) 2 (1%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 2 (<1%)
Mix (imprisonment and community correction order) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%) 1 (<1%)
Mix (fine and adjourned undertaking) 1 (<1%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%)
People sentenced 126 159 178 181 128 772

Age and gender of people sentenced

Figure 3 shows the gender of people sentenced for aggravated burglary grouped by their age[6] between 2008–09 and 2012–13.  The average (mean) age of people sentenced for aggravated burglary was 31 years and 2 months.  Women sentenced over this period were much older than men (an average age of 34 years and 8 months for women compared with 31 years for men).  There were no juveniles sentenced over this period.[7]

Figure 3: The number of people sentenced for aggravated burglary by gender and age, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Gender
Age group (years) Male Female
<20 37 3
20-24 184 4
25-29 154 6
30-34 111 12
35-39 93 7
40-44 73 4
45+ 74 10

Sentence types by gender

Table 2 shows the types of sentences imposed for aggravated burglary grouped by gender.  As shown, a higher percentage of men received a period of imprisonment (53.7% compared with 30.4% of women), a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment (8.1% compared with 2.2%) and a youth justice centre order (3.3% compared with no women).  Conversely, a higher percentage of women received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment (56.5% compared with 27.3% of men) and a community correction order (8.7% compared with 2.6% of men).

Table 2: The number and percentage of people sentenced for aggravated burglary by sentence type and gender, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Sentence type Male Female
Imprisonment 390 (54%) 14 (30%)
Wholly suspended sentence 198 (27%) 26 (57%)
Partially suspended sentence 59 (8%) 1 (2%)
Youth training centre order 24 (3%) 0 (–)
Community correction order 19 (3%) 4 (9%)
Community-based order 21 (3%) 0 (–)
Intensive correction order 5 (<1%) 1 (2%)
Non-custodial supervision order 3 (<1%) 0 (–)
Fine 3 (<1%) 0 (–)
Mix (wholly suspended sentence and fine) 2 (<1%) 0 (–)
Mix (imprisonment and community correction order) 1 (<1%) 0 (–)
Mix (fine and adjourned undertaking) 1 (<1%) 0 (–)
People sentenced 726 46

Sentence types by age

As shown in Table 1, the three most common sentence types were imprisonment, wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment, and partially suspended sentences of imprisonment.  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 40–44 years (64% or 49 of the 77 people in this age group).

Conversely, sentences of imprisonment were least common for those aged under 20 years (25% or 10 of the 40 people in this age group).

Figure 4: The percentage of people who received a period of imprisonment for aggravated burglary by age group, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Age group (years) Percentage
<20 25.0
20-24 41.5
25-29 60.0
30-34 57.7
35-39 55.0
40-44 63.6
45-49 60.0
50+ 37.5

Wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment

As shown in Figure 5, wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment were most likely to be given to people aged 50 years and older (50% or 12 of the 24 people in this age group).

Conversely, wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment were least common for those aged 35–39 years (23% or 23 of the 100 people in this age group).

Figure 5: The percentage of people who received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment for aggravated burglary by age group, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Age group (years) Percentage
<20 30
20-24 36.2
25-29 24.4
30-34 26.8
35-39 23
40-44 28.6
45-49 25
50+ 50

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 (14% or 14 of the 100 people in this age group).

Conversely, none of the 24 people aged 50 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 aggravated burglary by age group, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Age group (years) Percentage
<20 5
20-24 6.4
25-29 7.5
30-34 8.1
35-39 14
40-44 5.2
45-49 10
50+ 0

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.[8]

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 aggravated burglary must be considered in this broader context. The following sections analyse the use of imprisonment for the offence of aggravated burglary from 2008–09 to 2012–13.

Principal sentence of imprisonment

A total of 405 people received a principal sentence of imprisonment for aggravated burglary between 2008–09 and 2012–13.

Figure 7 shows these people by the length of their imprisonment term.  Imprisonment terms ranged from 2 months to 7 years, while the median length of imprisonment was 2 years and 6 months (meaning that half of the imprisonment terms were shorter than 2 years and 6 months and half were longer).

The most common range of imprisonment length imposed was 2 to less than 3 years (151 people).

Figure 7: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for aggravated burglary by length of imprisonment term, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Imprisonment length Number
Less than 1 year 13
1 year to less than 2 years 98
2 to less than 3 years 151
3 to less than 4 years 77
4 to less than 5 years 34
5 to less than 6 years 17
6 to less than 7 years 12
7 to less than 8 years 3

Expanding the analysis from principal sentences of imprisonment to all charges that received imprisonment, there were 676 charges of aggravated burglary sentenced to imprisonment between 2008–09 and 2012–13. Imprisonment lengths for aggravated burglary ranged from 8 days to 9 years while the median was 2 years and 2 months and the most common range of imprisonment length was 2 to less than 3 years (235 charges).

Returning to principal sentences of imprisonment, as shown in Figure 8, the average (mean) length of imprisonment term imposed on people sentenced for aggravated burglary ranged from 2 years and 4 months in 2008–09 to 2 years and 10 months in 2010–11.

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, the majority of people who received a term of imprisonment for aggravated burglary were men (391 people or 96.5%). Over the five-year period, men received a longer average term of imprisonment (2 years and 7 months compared with 2 years and 1 month for women).

Figure 8: The average length of imprisonment term imposed on people sentenced for aggravated burglary, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Financial year Average length of imprisonment
2008-09 2y, 4m
2009-10 2y, 7m
2010-11 2y, 10m
2011-12 2y, 6m
2012-13 2y, 6m

Other offences finalised at the same hearing

Often people prosecuted for aggravated burglary 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 aggravated burglary.

Figure 9 shows the number of people sentenced for the principal offence of aggravated burglary by the total number of offences for which sentences were set.  The number of sentenced offences per person ranged from 1 to 124, while the median was 3 offences.  There were 56 people (7.3%) sentenced for the single offence of aggravated burglary.  The average (mean) number of offences per person sentenced for aggravated burglary was 4.28.

Figure 9: The number of people sentenced for the principal offence of aggravated burglary by the number of sentenced offences per person, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Number of offences Number of people
1 56
2 216
3 180
4 108
5 to 9 178
10 to 19 26
20-49 4
50-99 2
100+ 2

While Figure 9 presents the number of sentenced offences for those sentenced for aggravated burglary, 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, 220 of the total 772 people (28.5%) also received sentences for intentionally causing injury.  On average, the 220 people were sentenced for 1.22 counts of intentionally causing injury.

Table 3: The number and percentage of people sentenced for the principal offence of aggravated burglary by the most common offences that were sentenced and the average number of those offences that were sentenced, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Offence No. % Average
1 Aggravated burglary 772 100.0 1.09
2 Causing injury intentionally 220 28.5 1.22
3 Intentionally damage/destroy property 210 27.2 1.33
4 Theft 153 19.8 2.71
5 Common law assault 152 19.7 1.45
6 Causing injury recklessly 113 14.6 1.27
7 Make threat to kill 75 9.7 1.35
8 Causing serious injury recklessly  61 7.9 1.08
9 Unlawful assault 43 5.6 1.30
10 Possess a drug of dependence 42 5.4 1.31
People sentenced 772 100.0 4.28

Total effective sentence of imprisonment

There were 404 people given a total effective sentence of imprisonment.[9]  Figure 10 shows the number of people sentenced to imprisonment for aggravated burglary between 2008–09 and 2012–13 by length of total effective sentence.  The length of total effective sentences ranged from 2 months and 6 days to 9 years and 6 months, while the median total effective length of imprisonment was 3 years (meaning that half of the total effective sentence lengths were below 3 years and half were above).

The most common range of total effective imprisonment length was 2 to less than 3 years (107 people).

Figure 10: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for aggravated burglary by length of total effective imprisonment term, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Total effective imprisonment length Number of people
Less than 1 year 11
1 year to less than 2 years 60
2 to less than 3 years 107
3 to less than 4 years 103
4 to less than 5 years 47
5 to less than 6 years 31
6 to less than 7 years 14
7 to less than 8 years 13
8 to less than 9 years 14
9 to less than 10 years 4

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 aggravated burglary.  Sentences and non-parole periods must be considered in this broader context.

Of the 404 people who were sentenced to imprisonment for aggravated burglary, 393 were eligible to have a non-parole period fixed.[10]   Of these people, 380 were given a non-parole period (97%).[11]  Figure 11 shows the number of people sentenced to imprisonment for aggravated burglary between 2008–09 and 2012–13 by length of non-parole period.  Non-parole periods ranged from 3 months to 7 years, while the median length of the non-parole period was 1 year and 8 months (meaning that half of the non-parole periods were below 1 year and 8 months and half were above).  

The most common range of non-parole period imposed was 1 year to less than 2 years (145 people).

Figure 11: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for aggravated burglary by length of non-parole period, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Non-parole period Number of people
Less than 1 year 71
1 year to less than 2 years 145
2 to less than 3 years 83
3 to less than 4 years 41
4 to less than 5 years 13
5 to less than 6 years 17
6 to less than 7 years 7
7 to less than 8 years 3
No NPP 15

Total effective sentences of imprisonment and non-parole periods

Figure 12 presents the average length of total effective sentences of imprisonment compared with the average length of non-parole periods for all people from 2008–09 to 2012–13. 

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, the average length of total effective sentences for all people ranged from 3 years and 1 month in 2008–09 to 3 years and 10 months in 2010–11.  Over the same period, the average length of non-parole periods ranged from 1 year and 9 months in 2008–09 to 2 years and 4 months in 2010–11.

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, the majority of people who received a total effective sentence of imprisonment for aggravated burglary were men (390 people or 96.5%). Over the five-year period, men received longer average terms of imprisonment (3 years and 5 months compared with 2 years and 8 months for women) and longer non-parole periods (2 years compared with 1 year and 4 months for women).

Figure 12: The average total effective sentence and the average non-parole period imposed on people sentenced to imprisonment for aggravated burglary, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Financial year Total effective sentence length Non-parole period
2008-09 3y, 1m 1y, 9m
2009-10 3y, 4m 1y, 10m
2010-11 3y, 10m 2y, 4m
2011-12 3y, 2m 1y, 10m
2012-13 3y, 5m 2y, 1m

Total effective sentence of imprisonment by non-parole period

While Figures 10 and 11 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 aggravated burglary 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 2 years with a non-parole period of 1 year (80 people – as represented by the largest bubble on the chart).  The length of imprisonment ranged from 2 months and 6 days with no non-parole period to 9 years and 6 months with a non-parole period of 7 years.

Figure 13: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for aggravated burglary by the total effective sentence and the non-parole period imposed, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Total effective sentence category Non-parole period category Total
Less than 1 year No NPP 10
1 year to less than 2 years No NPP 3
1 year to less than 2 years Less than 1 year 45
1 year to less than 2 years 1 year to less than 2 years 8
2 to less than 3 years Less than 1 year 25
2 to less than 3 years 1 year to less than 2 years 80
3 to less than 4 years No NPP 1
3 to less than 4 years Less than 1 year 1
3 to less than 4 years 1 year to less than 2 years 54
3 to less than 4 years 2 to less than 3 years 46
4 to less than 5 years 1 year to less than 2 years 3
4 to less than 5 years 2 to less than 3 years 33
4 to less than 5 years 3 to less than 4 years 11
5 to less than 6 years 2 to less than 3 years 3
5 to less than 6 years 3 to less than 4 years 26
5 to less than 6 years 4 to less than 5 years 1
6 to less than 7 years No NPP 1
6 to less than 7 years 2 to less than 3 years 1
6 to less than 7 years 3 to less than 4 years 3
6 to less than 7 years 4 to less than 5 years 9
7 to less than 8 years 3 to less than 4 years 1
7 to less than 8 years 4 to less than 5 years 2
7 to less than 8 years 5 to less than 6 years 10
8 to less than 9 years 4 to less than 5 years 1
8 to less than 9 years 5 to less than 6 years 7
8 to less than 9 years 6 to less than 7 years 6
9 to less than 10 years 6 to less than 7 years 1
9 to less than 10 years 7 to less than 8 years 3
People sentenced 395

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

Suspended sentences of imprisonment

There were 287 people given a suspended sentence of imprisonment as their total effective sentence.  Of these, 228 people had their prison sentence wholly suspended and 59 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 4 months to 3 years.  The most common wholly suspended sentence length was 2 years (38 people – as represented by the largest green bubble on the chart).

The most common partially suspended sentence combination was 2 years with 1 year and 6 months suspended (6 people – as represented by the largest grey bubble on the chart).

Figure 14: The number of people given a wholly or partially suspended sentence of imprisonment for aggravated burglary by sentence type and length, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Wholly suspended sentences
Wholly suspended sentence length (months) No. of people
4 1
5 1
6 7
7 1
8 4
9 10
10 4
11 2
12 26
13 7
14 3
15 14
16 7
17 2
18 35
19 2
20 10
21 5
22 1
24 38
26 3
27 3
28 2
30 17
32 1
33 3
34 1
36 18
People sentenced 228

Partially suspended sentences
Imprisonment sentence length (months) Suspended period (months) No. of people
12 3 2
12 9 1
12 10 2
13 7 1
14 10 1
15 5 1
15 9 1
15 10 2
16 12 1
16 15 1
18 1 1
18 3 1
18 10 1
18 12 1
18 15 3
18 16 1
20 1 1
20 11 2
20 12 1
20 14 1
21 15 2
22 14 1
22 16 2
24 14 1
24 18 6
24 21 1
26 20 1
27 22 1
27 25 1
28 16 1
28 22 2
30 12 3
30 20 1
30 22 1
30 23 1
30 28 1
33 30 1
33 31 1
34 26 1
36 17 1
36 21 1
36 26 1
36 30 1
People sentenced 59

Community-based orders

There were 21 people given a community-based order as their total effective sentence.

As shown in Figure 15, the length of community-based orders for aggravated burglary ranged from 1 year to 2 years, while the most common length was 2 years (9 people).

Figure 15: The number of people sentenced to a community-based order for aggravated burglary by length of order imposed, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Order length Number of people
1 year 6
1 year and 6 months 6
2 years  9
People sentenced 21

Community correction orders

Community correction orders were introduced in early 2012 to replace community-based orders and intensive correction orders. A feature of community correction orders is that the sentence length on the order can be as high as the statutory maximum of the offence being sentenced.

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, 23 people sentenced for the principal offence of aggravated burglary were given a community correction order. The length of community correction orders ranged from 1 year to 4 years. The most common community correction order length used was 2 years (given to 11 people or 47.8%).

Fines

This analysis includes all fines that were imposed for cases where aggravated burglary was the principal offence.  Fines were imposed on 72 people.

As shown in Figure 16, the fine amount imposed ranged from $50 to $5,000, with a median of $500 (meaning that half of the values fell below $500 and half of the values were above $500).

The average (mean) fine amount was $992.  The average fine amount imposed against the 67 males was $1,055, much higher than the average fine for the 5 females ($160).

Figure 16: The number of people who received a fine for aggravated burglary by fine amount, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Fine amount Number of people
$1-$199 6
$200-$399 17
$400-$599 19
$600-$799 6
$800-$999 1
$1000-$1199 4
$1200-$1399 2
$1400-$1599 3
$1600+ 14
People sentenced 72

Appeals

A sentence imposed on a person may be appealed[12] 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 2013, 2 people sentenced for a principal offence of aggravated burglary in the period 2008–09 to 2012–13 successfully appealed their conviction (both people were acquitted of the offence). Of these cases, 1 person was originally given a community-based order, and the other a wholly suspended sentence. Thus, the number of people sentenced from 2008–09 to 2012–13 for a principal offence of aggravated burglary was reduced to 770 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 9 people. Of these appeals, 7 were made by the person sentenced and resulted in a sentence reduction. The longest total effective imprisonment term to be reduced was a sentence of 8 years, which decreased to 5 years and 9 months. Two successful appeals were made by the Crown during 2008–09 to 2012–13. The longer total effective sentence that changed as a result of a Crown appeal increased from 3 years to 4 years.

The principal sentence changed for 10 people as a result of a successful appeal. The longest principal sentence of imprisonment reduced was 7 years, which decreased to 5 years. The only principal sentence to increase changed from 1 year and 3 months to 2 years and 6 months.

With the original sentencing data revised to incorporate successful appeals, no change occurred for the longest total effective imprisonment term (9 years and 6 months), non-parole period (7 years), or principal sentence of imprisonment (7 years). 

Summary

Between 2008–09 and 2012–13, 772 people were sentenced for aggravated burglary in the higher courts.  Over this period, the majority of people sentenced were men (94%), while 89% were between the age of 18 and 45 years.

Around half of the people sentenced for aggravated burglary received a period of imprisonment (52%), while 29% received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment.

Men were more likely than women to be sentenced to a period of imprisonment or a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment.  Conversely, women were more likely to be sentenced to a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment or a community correction order.

Imprisonment was more common for those aged between 25 and 50 years and wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment were more common for those older than 50 years of age.

Each of the 772 people was sentenced for an average of 4.28 offences, including 1.09 offences of aggravated burglary.  The most common offence finalised in conjunction with aggravated burglary was causing injury (28.5% of all cases).  The number and range of offences for which people with a principal offence of aggravated burglary 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 3 years, while the median principal imprisonment length was 2 years and 6 months.

Total effective imprisonment lengths ranged from 2 months and 6 days with no non-parole period to 9 years and 6 months with a non-parole period of 7 years.  The most common sentence of imprisonment was 2 years with a non-parole period of 1 year.

The most common wholly suspended sentence length was 2 years.

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 length and principal imprisonment sentence length was unchanged. The Crown appealed 2 sentences, which resulted in increases in the lengths of imprisonment.

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. 124, which describes sentencing trends for aggravated burglary between 2006–07 and 20010–11.

[2] The information source for sentencing outcomes for aggravated burglary 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] 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.

[5] Immediate custodial sentence includes imprisonment, partially suspended sentence, mix (imprisonment and community correction order), and youth justice centre order.

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

[7] 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.

[8] Refer to Endnote 4.

[9] Of the 405 people who were given a principal sentence of imprisonment, 404 were also given a total effective sentence of imprisonment.  There was 1 person who was given imprisonment as the principal sentence for aggravated burglary and a wholly suspended sentence as a total effective sentence.

[10] A total of 11 people were not eligible for parole because they were given a total effective sentence length of less than one year.

[11] A total of 9 people were not given a non-parole period relating to that case alone, but a non-parole period that also related to other cases.  It is not possible to determine the length of the non-parole period that relates to these cases.  The non-parole periods for these people are excluded from the analysis.  A non-parole period was not set for 5 people who were eligible for a non-parole period.

[12] 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 (external link opens in a new window).