Good behaviour bonds in South Australia are an important sentencing option. An offender can be put on a good behaviour bond without there being any further penalty, and with or without a conviction being recorded against them.
Under a good behaviour bond, a person who has been found guilty of an offence promises to be of good behaviour for a set period of time up to 3 years. During that time they may or may not be under the supervision of a community corrections officer.
The bond usually carries a sanction whereby a sum of money is forfeited if the bond is breached. In order to impose a bond the Court must be satisfied that there are good reasons for doing so.
Generally, the legislation that governs the making of good behaviour bonds in South Australia and the conditions which may be imposed under a bond is the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988.
In the Youth Court a good behaviour bond is called an ‘obligation’ and the making of the bond and conditions that are imposed are governed by the Young Offenders Act 1993.
A court can order that any condition of a bond be revoked or varied, or that the bond be discharged, if an application is made either by the offender or the Minister for Correctional Services.
The Minister can also release the offender from their obligation to comply with any conditions requiring supervision if satisfied that it is no longer necessary and it is not in the best interests of the offender to remain under supervision.
When imposing good behaviour bonds in South Australia, other than the conditions that the offender be of good behaviour and that they appear in court for sentence should the bond be breached, the Court can impose any other condition.
A person can’t be returned to court for sentence for the original offence unless that is a term of the bond.
Other conditions which may be imposed include:
- payment of a sum of money by the offender if they don’t comply with the bond
- nomination of a guarantor (or guarantors) who undertakes to ensure that the offender will comply with the bond
- payment of sum of money by the guarantor(s) if the offender doesn’t comply with the bond. This is rarely used.
- supervision by a community corrections officer for a period of time. This usually involves the offender reporting to the officer at specified times and following any reasonable direction.
- a specified number of hours of community service
- that the offender live, or not live, with a specific person or at a specific address
- that the offender take part in an intervention program, or receive medical or psychiatric treatment recommended by a legally qualified practitioner
- that the offender abstain from certain drugs or alcohol
- that the offender give back illegally obtained property or pay compensation for injury, loss or damage caused by the offence
- that the offender complete a specified education program
- any condition that the court thinks is appropriate in the circumstances.
Good behaviour bonds in South Australia are breached if the offender does not comply with one or more of the conditions of the bond.
It is always a condition of the bond that the offender be of good behaviour, so the bond is breached if, for example, they commit a criminal offence.
If a court is satisfied that a condition of a bond has been breached, there are various actions that it can take, including to:
- order the offender and/or guarantor to pay the sum of money set out in the bond as a penalty for breaching the bond
- bring the offender back to court, convict them of the original offence if they have not already been convicted, and sentence them for the original offence. The court can impose any penalty that could have been imposed when the matter was originally before the court.
- take no action in respect of the breach if the Court is satisfied the breach was trivial or there are proper grounds to justify excusing the breach.
Good behaviour bonds in South Australia may include a condition that the offender attend an education program. There are 2 types of education programs.
The first type includes education programs approved by the Attorney-General. If the offender agrees, they can be sent to such a program at their own cost. There are limited approved programs.
The second type includes those offered by the Department for Correctional Services, available for offenders who are subject to a supervised bond and which are designed to address their specific needs.
The educational programs available include:
- alcohol and other drugs
- cognitive skills
- literacy and numeracy
- domestic violence
- victim awareness
- anger management
- treatment for sex offenders.
This article reflects the state of the law as at 25 November 2015. It is intended to be of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, please telephone 1300 636 846 or request a consultation at gotocourt.com.au.