Sentencing Trends for Causing Injury Recklessly in the Higher Courts of Victoria 2008-09 to 2012-13

Sentencing Snapshot 159
Date of Publication: 
26 June 2014

Sentencing Snapshot no. 159 describes sentencing outcomes for the offence of causing injury recklessly 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. 216.

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, 2014

Introduction

This Sentencing Snapshot describes sentencing outcomes[1] for the offence of causing injury recklessly 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.

The offence applies to a person who recklessly causes injury to another person without lawful excuse and carries a maximum penalty of 5 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of 600 penalty units.  Recklessness requires foresight on the part of the accused of the probability that injury will occur as a consequence of his or her actions. ‘Injury’ includes unconsciousness, hysteria, pain, and any substantial impairment of bodily function. These definitions are not exhaustive. Causing injury recklessly is an indictable offence but can also be tried summarily by the Magistrates’ Court, if the Magistrates’ Court considers it appropriate and the defendant consents. 

Causing injury recklessly was the principal offence[4] in 1.5% of cases sentenced in the higher courts between 2008–09 and 2012–13.

People sentenced

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, 151 people were sentenced in the higher courts for a principal offence of causing injury recklessly. These people are the focus of this Snapshot. However, an additional 325 people were sentenced in cases that involved causing injury recklessly but where some other offence was the principal offence. In total, 476 people were sentenced in the higher courts for 566 charges of causing injury recklessly.

Figure 1 shows the number of people sentenced for the principal offence of causing injury recklessly by gender. Over the five years depicted, the majority of those sentenced were men (84.1% or 127 of the 151 people), including 35 of the 40 people sentenced in 2012–13.

Figure 1: The number of people sentenced for causing injury recklessly by gender, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Gender
Financial year Male Female Total
2008-09 25 6 31
2009-10 23 6 29
2010-11 17 2 19
2011-12 27 5 32
2012-13 35 5 40
Total 127 24 151

Sentence types and trends

Figure 2 shows the total number of people sentenced for causing injury recklessly 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, 29% of people were given an immediate custodial sentence.  This peaked at 36% (11 of 31) in 2008–09 before decreasing to 11% (2 of 19) in 2010–11.  In 2012–13, 30% of people sentenced (12 of 40) were given an immediate custodial sentence.

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

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

Sentence type
Financial year Custodial Non-custodial Total
2008-09 11 20 31
2009-10 10 19 29
2010-11 2 17 19
2011-12 8 24 32
2012-13 12 28 40
total 43 108 151

Over the five-year period, around one in five people sentenced for causing injury recklessly received a community correction order (19% or 28 of 151 people), while 17% received a community-based order and 16% received a sentence of imprisonment. Community correction orders replaced (among other orders) community-based orders and intensive correction orders in January 2012. 

Since January 2012, the number and percentage of people given a community correction order were lowest in 2011–12 (9 of 32 people or 28%) and highest in 2012–13 (19 of 40 people or 48%). 

Up to January 2012, the number of people receiving a community-based order was highest during 2008–09 (9 of 31 people or 29%) while the percentage was highest during 2010–11 (7 of 19 people or 37%). The number and percentage of people receiving a community-based order were lowest during 2011–12 (4 of 32 people or 13%).

The number of people receiving a sentence of imprisonment was highest during 2012–13 (7 people) while the percentage was highest during 2008–09 (6 of 31 people or 19%). The number and percentage of people receiving a sentence of imprisonment were lowest during 2010–11 (2 of 19 people or 11%).

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

Sentence type 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 Total
Community correction order 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 9 (28%) 19 (48%) 28 (19%)
Community-based order 9 (29%) 6 (21%) 7 (37%) 4 (13%) 0 (–) 26 (17%)
Imprisonment 6 (19%) 4 (14%) 2 (11%) 5 (16%) 7 (18%) 24 (16%)
Wholly suspended sentence 5 (16%) 3 (10%) 4 (21%) 5 (16%) 3 (8%) 20 (13%)
Partially suspended sentence 4 (13%) 6 (21%) 0 (–) 3 (9%) 2 (5%) 15 (10%)
Fine 2 (6%) 0 (–) 1 (5%) 4 (13%) 4 (10%) 11 (7%)
Adjourned undertaking without conviction 0 (–) 6 (21%) 2 (11%) 2 (6%) 1 (3%) 11 (7%)
Adjourned undertaking with conviction 0 (–) 2 (7%) 2 (11%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 4 (3%)
Youth justice centre order 1 (3%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (3%) 2 (1%)
Non-custodial supervision order 1 (3%) 1 (3%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 2 (1%)
Mix (imprisonment and community correction order) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 2 (5%) 2 (1%)
Intensive correction order 1 (3%) 1 (3%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 2 (1%)
Aggregate fine 1 (3%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (3%) 2 (1%)
Mix (wholly suspended sentence and fine) 1 (3%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%)
Mix (community-based order and fine) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (5%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%)
People sentenced 31 29 19 32 40 151

Age and gender of people sentenced

Figure 3 shows the gender of people sentenced for causing injury recklessly grouped by their age[6] between 2008–09 and 2012–13.  The average (mean) age of people sentenced for causing injury recklessly was 32 years and 7 months. Men and women were approximately the same age across the five-year period (an average age of 33 years and 1 month for women compared with 32 years and 6 months for men).  There were no juveniles sentenced over this period.[7]

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

Gender
Age group (years) Male Female
<20 1 0
20-24 27 3
25-29 28 6
30-34 30 3
35-39 8 7
40-44 16 3
45-49 9 2
50+ 8 0

Sentence types by gender

Table 2 shows the types of sentences imposed for causing injury recklessly grouped by gender.  As shown, a higher percentage of men received a period of imprisonment (18.1% compared with 4.2% of women), and a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment (13.4% compared with 12.5%).  Conversely, a higher percentage of women received an adjourned undertaking without conviction (20.8% compared with 4.7% of men), an adjourned undertaking with conviction (8.3% compared with 1.6%) and a community correction order (29.2% compared with 16.5%).

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

Sentence type Male Female
Community correction order 21 (17%) 7 (29%)
Community-based order 22 (17%) 4 (17%)
Imprisonment 23 (18%) 1 (4%)
Wholly suspended sentence 17 (13%) 3 (13%)
Partially suspended sentence 14 (11%) 1 (4%)
Fine 10 (8%) 1 (4%)
Adjourned undertaking without conviction 6 (5%) 5 (21%)
Adjourned undertaking with conviction 2 (2%) 2 (8%)
Youth justice centre order 2 (2%) 0 (–)
Non-custodial supervision order 2 (2%) 0 (–)
Mix (imprisonment and community correction order) 2 (2%) 0 (–)
Intensive correction order 2 (2%) 0 (–)
Aggregate fine 2 (2%) 0 (–)
Mix (wholly suspended sentence and fine) 1 (<1%) 0 (–)
Mix (community-based order and fine) 1 (<1%) 0 (–)
People sentenced 127 24

Sentence types by age

As shown in Table 1, the three most common sentence types were community correction orders, community-based orders, and imprisonment.  The following analysis examines these sentence types by the offender’s age group.

Community correction orders

As shown in Figure 4, community correction orders were most likely to be given to people aged under 25 years (29% or 9 of the 31 people in this age group).

Conversely, community correction orders were least common for those aged 40 years and older (11% or 4 of the 38 people in this age group).

Figure 4: The percentage of people who received a community correction order for causing injury recklessly by age group, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Age group (years) Percentage
<25 29.0
25-29 17.6
30-34 18.2
35-39 20.0
40+ 10.5

Community-based orders

As shown in Figure 5, community-based orders were most likely to be given to people aged 35–39 years (33% or 5 of the 15 people in this age group).

Conversely, community-based orders were least common for those aged 30–34 years (6% or 2 of the 33 people in this age group).

Figure 5: The percentage of people who received a community-based order for causing injury recklessly by age group, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Age group (years) Percentage
<25 29.0
25-29 14.7
30-34 6.1
35-39 33.3
40+ 13.2

Imprisonment

As shown in Figure 6, sentences of imprisonment were most likely to be given to people aged 30–34 years (27% or 9 of the 33 people in this age group).

Conversely, sentences of imprisonment were least common for those aged under 25 years (6% or 2 of the 31 people in this age group).

Figure 6: The percentage of people who received a period of imprisonment for causing injury recklessly by age group, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Age group (years) Percentage
<25 6.5
25-29 17.6
30-34 27.3
35-39 6.7
40+ 15.8

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

Principal sentence of imprisonment

A total of 26 people received a principal sentence of imprisonment for causing injury recklessly between 2008–09 and 2012–13.

Figure 7 shows these people by the length of their imprisonment term.[9]  Imprisonment terms ranged from 1 month to 2 years, while the median length of imprisonment was 1 year (meaning that half of the imprisonment terms were shorter than 1 year and half were longer).

The most common range of imprisonment length imposed was 1 year to less than 2 years (11 people).

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

Imprisonment length Number
Less than 1 year 9
1 year to less than 2 years 11
2 years to less than 3 years 6
People sentenced 26

Expanding the analysis from principal sentences of imprisonment to all charges that received imprisonment, there were 262 charges of causing injury recklessly sentenced to imprisonment between 2008–09 and 2012–13. Imprisonment lengths for causing injury recklessly ranged from 6 days to 3 years and 6 months while the median was 9 months and the most common range was less than 1 year (148 charges).

Returning to principal sentences of imprisonment, as shown in Figure 8, the average (mean) length of imprisonment term imposed on people sentenced for causing injury recklessly ranged from 10 months in 2008–09 to 1 year and 2 months in 2012–13.

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, the majority of people who received a term of imprisonment for causing injury recklessly were men (25 people or 96.2%).  Due to the very small number of women sentenced to imprisonment for causing injury recklessly (1), the data on average imprisonment length by gender are not shown.

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

Financial year Average length of imprisonment
2008-09 10 months
2009-10 1 year
2010-11 1 year and 1 month
2011-12 1 year and 1 month
2012-13 1 year and 2 months

Other offences finalised at the same hearing

Often people prosecuted for causing injury recklessly 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 causing injury recklessly.

Figure 9 shows the number of people sentenced for the principal offence of causing injury recklessly by the total number of offences for which sentences were set.  The number of sentenced offences per person ranged from 1 to 12, while the median was 2 offences.  There were 60 people (39.7%) sentenced for the single offence of causing injury recklessly.  The average (mean) number of offences per person sentenced for causing injury recklessly was 2.31.

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

Number of offences Number of people
1 60
2 43
3 24
4 12
5 to 9 11
10+ 1

While Figure 9 presents the number of sentenced offences for those sentenced for causing injury recklessly, 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 (mean) number of offences sentenced per person.  For example, 25 of the total 151 people (16.6%) also received sentences for aggravated burglary.  On average, they were sentenced for 1 count of aggravated burglary.

Table 3: The number and percentage of people sentenced for the principal offence of causing injury recklessly 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 Causing injury recklessly 151 100.0 1.13
2 Aggravated burglary 25 16.6 1.00
3 Intentionally damage/destroy property 23 15.2 1.04
4 Common law assault 13 8.6 1.62
5 False imprisonment 10 6.6 1.00
6 Theft 9 6.0 1.00
7 Armed robbery 7 4.6 1.71
8 Affray 7 4.6 1.00
9 Make threat to kill 4 2.6 1.00
10 Unlawful assault 4 2.6 1.00
People sentenced 151 100.0 2.31

Total effective sentence of imprisonment

There were 25 people given a total effective sentence of imprisonment.[10]  Figure 10 shows the number of people sentenced to imprisonment for causing injury recklessly between 2008–09 and 2012–13 by length of total effective sentence.  The length of total effective sentences ranged from 1 month to 3 years and 6 months, while the median total effective length of imprisonment was 1 year (meaning that half of the total effective sentence lengths were below 1 year and half were above).

The most common ranges of total effective imprisonment length were less than 1 year and 1 year to less than 2 years (both with 9 people).

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

Total effective imprisonment length Number of people
Less than 1 year 9
1 year to less than 2 years 9
2 years to less than 3 years 6
3 years to less than 4 years 1
People sentenced 25

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 causing injury recklessly.  Sentences and non-parole periods must be considered in this broader context.

Of the 25 people who were sentenced to imprisonment for causing injury recklessly, 16 were eligible to have a non-parole period fixed.[11]  Of these people, 11 were given a non-parole period (69%).[12]  Figure 11 shows the number of people sentenced to imprisonment for causing injury recklessly between 2008–09 and 2012–13 by length of non-parole period.  Non-parole periods ranged from 4 months to 2 years and 4 months, while the median length of the non-parole period was 1 year and 3 months (meaning that half of the non-parole periods were below 1 year and 3 months and half were above).  

The most common ranges of non-parole period imposed was less than 1 year and 1 year to less than 2 years (both with 5 people).

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

Non-parole period Number of people
Less than 1 year 5
1 year to less than 2 years 5
2 years to less than 3 years 1
No NPP 13
People sentenced 24

Total effective sentences of imprisonment and non-parole periods

Figure 12 presents the average (mean) 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 (mean) length of total effective sentence for all people ranged from 1 year  in 2010–11 to 1 year and 4 months in 2012–13. Over the same period, the average non-parole period ranged from 8 months in 2009–10 to 1 year and 6 months in 2008–09.

Although in individual cases non-parole periods (if imposed) must be shorter than the total effective imprisonment term, across a number of cases the average non-parole period may be higher than the average total effective imprisonment length. This is because the pool of cases from which average non-parole periods is calculated excludes people who received no non-parole period; these tend to be people who received short imprisonment terms, which can reduce the average imprisonment term to lower than the average non-parole period. 

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, the majority of people who received a term of imprisonment for causing injury recklessly were men (24 people or 96%).  Due to the very small number of women sentenced to imprisonment for causing injury recklessly (1), the data on average imprisonment length by gender are not shown. 

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

Financial year Total effective sentence length Non-parole period
2008-09 1 year, 2 months 1 year, 6 months
2009-10 1 year 8 months
2010-11 1 year, 1 months 9 months
2011-12 1 year, 3 months 9 months
2012-13 1 year, 4 months 1 year, 5 months

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 causing injury recklessly 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 less than 1 year with no non-parole period (9 people – as represented by the largest bubble on the chart).  The length of imprisonment ranged from 1 month with no non-parole period to 3 years and 6 months with a non-parole period of 2 years and 4 months.

Figure 13: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for causing injury recklessly 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 9
1 to less than 2 years No NPP 4
to less than 2 years Less than 1 year 4
2 to less than 3 years Less than 1 year 1
2 to less than 3 years 1 to less than 2 years 5
3 to less than 4 years 2 to less than 3 years 1
People sentenced 24

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

Suspended sentences of imprisonment

There were 37 people given a suspended sentence of imprisonment as their total effective sentence.  Of these, 21 people had their prison sentence wholly suspended and 16 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 2 months to 3 years.  The most common wholly suspended sentence lengths were 9 months and 1 year (3 people each – as represented by the two largest green bubbles on the chart).

The most common partially suspended sentence combinations were 1 year and 3 months with 4 months suspended and 1 year and 3 months with 6 months suspended (2 people each – as represented by the two larger grey bubbles on the chart).

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

Wholly suspended sentences
Wholly suspended sentence length (months) No. of people
2 1
3 1
4 2
5 1
6 1
7 2
8 1
9 3
10 1
12 3
15 1
18 2
30 1
36 1
People sentenced 21

Partially suspended sentences
Imprisonment sentence length (months) Suspended period (months) No. of people
6 4 1
12 4 1
12 5 1
12 6.84 1
14 13.97 1
15 4 2
15 6.2 2
15 10 1
16 10.13 1
19 7 1
19 15 1
19 18.5 1
32 9.04 1
36 6.9 1
People sentenced 16

Community-based orders

There were 27 people given a community-based order as their total effective sentence.

As Figure 15 shows, the length of community-based orders for causing injury recklessly ranged from 3 months to 2 years, while the most common length was 1 year (12 people).

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

Length of order Number
3 months 2
6 months 1
1 year 12
1 year, 6 months 5
2 years 7
People sentenced 27

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, 28 people sentenced for the principal offence of causing injury recklessly were given a community correction order. The length of community correction orders ranged from 1 year to 3 years. The most commonly used community correction order lengths were 1 year and 2 years (given to 10 people (36%) each).

Fines

This analysis includes all fines that were imposed for cases where causing injury recklessly was the principal offence.  Fines were imposed on 22 people.

As Figure 16 shows, the fine amount imposed ranged from $300 to $5,000, with a median of $1,000 (meaning that half of the values fell below $1,000 and half of the values were above $1,000).

The average (mean) fine amount was $1,734.  The average fine amount imposed against the 20 males was $1,858, much higher than the average fine for the 2 females ($500).

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

Fine amount Number
$1-$499 2
$500-$999 4
$1000-$1499 7
$1500-$1999 2
$2000-$2499 2
$2500+ 5
People sentenced 22

Appeals

A sentence imposed on a person may be appealed[13] 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, 1 person sentenced for a principal offence of causing injury recklessly in the period 2008–09 to 2012–13 successfully appealed their conviction (the person was acquitted of the offence). The person had received an adjourned undertaking without conviction.[14] Thus, the number of people sentenced from 2008–09 to 2012–13 for a principal offence of causing injury recklessly was reduced to 150 people once appeals are considered.

Summary

Between 2008–09 and 2012–13, 151 people were sentenced for causing injury recklessly in the higher courts.  Over this period, the majority of people sentenced were men (84%), while 95% were between the age of 20 and 50 years.

Around one in five people sentenced for causing injury recklessly received a community correction order (19%), while 17% received a community-based order, 16% received a period of imprisonment, 13% received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment, and 10% received a partially 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 an adjourned undertaking without conviction, an adjourned undertaking with conviction, or a community correction order.

Community correction orders were more common for those aged under 25 years, community-based orders were more common for those aged between 35 and 39 years, and imprisonment was more common for those aged between 30 and 34 years.

Each of the 151 people was sentenced for an average (mean) of 2.31 offences, including 1.13 offences of causing injury recklessly.  The most common offence finalised in conjunction with causing injury recklessly was aggravated burglary (16.6% of all cases).  The number and range of offences for which people with a principal offence of causing injury recklessly were sentenced help explain why imprisonment sentence lengths are sometimes longer for the total effective sentence than for the principal sentence. However, for the offence of causing injury recklessly, the median total effective imprisonment length and the median principal imprisonment length were both 1 year.

Total effective imprisonment lengths ranged from 1 month with no non-parole period to 3 years and 6 months with a non-parole period of 2 years and 4 months.  The most common sentence of imprisonment was 1 year with a non-parole period of less than 1 year.

The most common partially suspended sentence lengths were 1 year and 3 months with 4 months suspended and 1 year and 3 months with 6 months suspended, while the most common wholly suspended sentence lengths were 8 months and 1 year.

There was one successful appeal of an adjourned undertaking without conviction, and the range of imprisonment lengths were not affected.

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. 127, which describes sentencing trends for causing injury recklessly between 2006–07 and 2010–11.

[2] The information source for sentencing outcomes for causing injury recklessly 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] 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 7 only deals with sentences of imprisonment for the principal proven offence of causing injury recklessly. During the 2008–09 to 2012–13 period, 1 person received an aggregate form of imprisonment.

[10] Of the 26 people who were given a principal sentence of imprisonment, 25 were also given a total effective sentence of imprisonment.  There was one person who was given imprisonment as the principal sentence for causing injury recklessly and a partially suspended sentence as a total effective sentence.

[11] A total of 9 people were not eligible for parole because they were given a total effective sentence length of less than 1 year.

[12] One person was 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 this case.  The non-parole period for this person was excluded from the analysis.  A non-parole period was not set for 4 people who were eligible for a non-parole period.

[13] 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).

[14] In 2012, 1 person’s adjourned undertaking without conviction was appealed on the grounds that the charge of causing injury recklessly was not an alternative to the original charge of causing injury intentionally. The term of the sentence had expired at the time of the appeal and the person was acquitted.