Good Behaviour Bonds in Victoria
Updated on Jun 05, 2023 • 4 min read • 540 views • Copy Link
Good Behaviour Bonds in Victoria
In Victoria, a person who is found guilty of a criminal offence may be sentenced to a good behaviour bond. Good behaviour bonds in Victoria are also known as adjourned undertakings and they are imposed under the Sentencing Act 1991. An adjourned undertaking requires the defendant to comply with certain conditions for a specified period. If all of the terms of the good behaviour bond are complied with, on the adjourned date the court must discharge the defendant with no further penalty. An adjourned undertaking may be imposed with or without the recording of a conviction and can be imposed for a period of up to five years.
Good behaviour bonds and young people
Good behaviour bonds in Victoria may also be imposed on children under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005. The Children’s Court may adjourn proceedings against a child without conviction and impose a good behaviour bond, which usually lasts for one year. If the young person complies with all of the conditions of the bond for that time, the court will dismiss the charge without recording a conviction.
While released on a good behaviour bond, a young person must:
- be of good behaviour
- pay a bond amount
- come back to the court if required to do so
- comply with any special conditions set by the court.
If the young person breaches any of the conditions of the good behaviour bond, the court may either declare the bond forfeited and keep the bond money and impose no further penalty, or it can hold another hearing and impose a different sentence.
Purpose of good behaviour bonds in Victoria
A defendant may be given the opportunity of a good behaviour bond or adjourned undertaking for a number of purposes.
- to provide an opportunity for their rehabilitation by allowing their sentence to be served in the community unsupervised
- to reflect the technical, trivial, or minor nature of the offence
- as an option in circumstances in which it would not be appropriate to record a conviction
- as an option for circumstances where it is inappropriate to inflict any punishment other than a nominal punishment
- as an option in circumstances where there exists other extenuating or exceptional circumstances that justify the court showing mercy.
The usual conditions that are imposed while on a good behaviour bond or adjourned undertaking are that the defendant be of good behaviour (including not committing any further offences) for the period of the adjournment, and/or that they pay a sum of money into the court fund. The court may also impose other conditions, such as that the defendant undertake or continue a particular treatment regime or attend a particular education program during the adjournment period. Compensation or restitution orders can also be made.
These additional orders can be for a maximum of two years or for the length of the order, whichever is shorter.
Varying or cancelling good behaviour bonds in Victoria
An application can be made to vary or to cancel an order for a good behaviour bond by either the defendant, the prosecutor or certain other persons at any time while the order is in force.
This may occur if:
- the circumstances of the defendant have materially changed since the order was made and the defendant can no longer comply with a condition of the undertaking
- the information presented to the court before the order was made regarding the circumstances of the defendant was not accurate
- the defendant is no longer willing to comply with all of the conditions of the undertaking.
If the order is cancelled the court can deal with the defendant in any way permitted under the law as if it had just found them guilty of the offence or offences. Any variation of the order or re-sentence after cancellation of the order must take into account anything that has been done by the defendant in compliance with the adjourned undertaking.
If a defendant does not come to court for the application, a warrant may be issued for their arrest.
Breaching good behaviour bonds in Victoria
If a person fails to comply with the conditions of a good behaviour bond in Victoria, they are in breach of the order.
A defendant who breaches an order may be called back to court for re-sentencing. If they do not attend court for the re-sentencing, then a warrant can be issued for their arrest.
When re-sentencing the defendant, the court can impose any sentence that is available for the offence, but must take into consideration anything done by the defendant under the good behaviour bond.
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