Overarching Sentencing Guideline

9. Offences Taken Into Consideration

General principles

When sentencing an offender who requests offences to be taken into consideration (TICs), courts should pass a total sentence which reflects all the offending behaviour. The sentence must be just and proportionate and must not exceed the statutory maximum for the conviction offence.

The court has discretion as to whether or not to take TICs into account. In exercising its discretion, the court should take into account that TICs are capable of reflecting the offender’s overall criminality. The court is likely to consider that the fact that the offender has assisted the police (particularly if the offences would not otherwise have been detected) and avoided the need for further proceedings demonstrates a genuine determination by the offender to ‘wipe the slate clean’.

It is generally undesirable for TICs to be accepted in the following circumstances:

  • where the TIC is likely to attract a greater sentence than the conviction offence;
  • where it is in the public interest that the TIC should be the subject of a separate charge;
  • where the offender would avoid a prohibition, ancillary order or similar consequence which it would have been desirable to impose on conviction. For example:
    • where the TIC attracts mandatory disqualification and the offence(s) for which the defendant is to be sentenced do not;
    • where the TIC constitutes a breach of an earlier sentence;
    • where the TIC is not founded on the same facts or evidence or part of a series of offences of the same or similar character (unless the court is satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to do so).

TICs should not be accepted where the offence to which the TIC relates is an offence that the sentencing court could not itself hear, for example because the TIC offence is an indictable offence.

Procedural safeguards

A court should generally only take offences into consideration if the following procedural provisions have been satisfied:

  • the police or prosecuting authorities have prepared a schedule of offences (TIC schedule) that they consider suitable to be taken into consideration. The TIC schedule should set out the nature of each offence, the date of the offence(s), relevant detail about the offence(s) (including, for example, monetary values of items) and any other brief details that the court should be aware of;
  • a copy of the TIC schedule must be provided to the defendant and his representative (if he has one) before the sentence hearing. The defendant should sign the TIC schedule to provisionally admit the offences;
  • at the sentence hearing, the court should ask the defendant in open court whether he admits each of the offences on the TIC schedule and whether he wishes to have them taken into consideration;
  • if there is any doubt about the admission of a particular offence, it should not be accepted as a TIC. Special care should be taken with vulnerable and/or unrepresented defendants;
  • if the defendant is committed to the Magistrate’s Court for sentence, this procedure must take place again even if the defendant has agreed to the TIC schedule in the Summary Court.

Application

The sentence imposed on an offender should, in most circumstances, be increased to reflect the fact that other offences have been taken into consideration. The court should:

  • Determine the sentencing starting point for the conviction offence, referring to the relevant sentencing guidelines. No regard should be had to the presence of TICs at this stage.
  • Consider whether there are any aggravating or mitigating factors that justify an upward or downward adjustment from the starting point.
  • The presence of TICs should generally be treated as an aggravating feature that justifies an upward adjustment from the starting point. Where there is a large number of TICs, it may be appropriate to move outside the category range, although this must be considered in the context of the case and subject to the principle of totality. The court is limited to the statutory maximum for the conviction offence.
  • Continue through the sentencing process including:
    • consider whether the frank admission of a number of offences is an indication of a defendant’s remorse or determination and/or demonstration of steps taken to address addiction or offending behaviour;
    • any reduction for a guilty plea should be applied to the overall sentence;
    • the principle of totality;
    • when considering ancillary orders these can be considered in relation to any or all of the TICs, specifically compensation orders.
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9. Offences Taken Into Consideration
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