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Conditional Release Orders (WA)

A Conditional Release Order (CRO), also known as a Good Behaviour Bond, is an order that can be made by a court at sentencing under Part 7 of the Sentencing Act 1995 (WA).  Conditional Release Orders require the offender to avoid re-offending for a period of time and comply with other conditions.  When a court sentences an offender, it considers the principles of punishment and of rehabilitation. The court will not set an offender up to fail, and so a CRO will only be imposed if:

  1. there are reasonable grounds to expect that the offender will not re-offend during the term of the CRO; and
  2. the offender does not require supervision from Corrective Services throughout the term of the CRO.

Although a CRO is an ‘order’, it should be looked at as a ‘pact’ between the offender and the court that allows the offender to go about their daily life.

Meeting the court’s requirements

Before the court can grant Conditional Release Orders, it needs to hear explanations and evidence from the offender.  To assist the court in making its decision, the offender should provide the court with information as to:

  • their character – an offender can provide character references from employers, colleagues, mentors and community members to the court;
  • any previous criminal convictions. A CRO is only likely to be ordered if any previous convictions are minor or historical;
  • their age. Conditional Release Orders are favoured for children, teenagers and young adults;
  • whether there are any mental health issues which the offender is now receiving assistance for;
  • whether there was a reason for the offending;
  • the seriousness of the offence; and
  • any other matter that the court should have proper regard to.

Terms and conditions

The usual terms and conditions of Conditional Release Orders are:

Duration

Conditional Release Orders cannot be imposed for a period longer than 24 months.

Attendance

Conditional Release Orders can require the offender to attend court when summonsed.

Offending

The offender must not re-offend within the period of the Conditional Release Order .

Surety

The court can order the offender to provide a written undertaking to pay an amount of money to the State, or deposit money with the Court to be paid to the State. Under section 51 the Sentencing Act 1995, the court has the power to order the offender to pay the WA State an amount of money, or to deposit an amount of money with the court to be held for the WA State.

Conditional Release Orders can be abandoned if the offender fails to provide the written undertaking or the payment. The court would then impose a fine for the original offence instead.

Once the duration of the CRO has expired, and the person’s behaviour is satisfactory, they can apply for the return of the money.

The court can also order any other terms and conditions it considers appropriate to keep the offender on track.

What is considered a ‘breach’

Where the court, the WA Police or Corrective Services suspects an offender has breached the terms of their CRO, the offender will be summoned to attend court.

If the person fails to attend court, they will be in breach of the CRO and consequences will follow.

If the person attends court, and if it is appropriate, the court will give the offender the opportunity to explain their breach of the CRO.

Usually CRO breaches relate to the offender missing a court date or re-offending.

What are the consequences

If the offender breaches the CRO by re-offending, the court will deal with the individual under Part 18, Division 3 ‘of the Sentencing Act 1995.  The Magistrates Court must commit the person back to the court that made the CRO (the original sentencing court).

When the offender appears before the original sentencing court, and provided the CRO is still in force, the court’s options are to:

  1. reinforce the CRO (the offender receives a warning from the court);
  2. amend the terms and conditions of the CRO;
  3. cancel the CRO and re-sentence the person for the original offence.

If the CRO is no longer in force (the term has expired), the court will re-sentence the offender for the original offence.

If the offender breaches their CRO by failing to comply with its terms and conditions, the court will deal with the individual under Part 18, Division 4 of the Sentencing Act 1995. The court’s options, provided the CRO is still in force, are to:

  1. reinforce the CRO (the offender receives a warning from the court);
  2. amend the terms and conditions of the CRO;
  3. cancel the CRO and re-sentence the person for the original offence.

If you require legal advice or representation in a criminal law matte or in any other legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers. 

By Rebecca Walker, Solicitor

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