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Conditional Release Order in Western Australia (WA)

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Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

Under some circumstances legislation, an offender can be released or have their punishments suspended when they abide by some conditions. These offers are known as a Conditional Release Order (CRO) and are guided under Part 7 of the Sentencing Act 1995 (WA).

What is a Conditional Release order?

The CRO is a Conditional promise that the offender will be of good behaviour within the specified periods, including complying with other specified instructions.

The Western Australian Court considers the highest form of diligence and principles in sentencing an offender. However, it still explores better sentencing options for the offender based on factors like;

    ✔ Proven reasonable grounds to expect that the offender will not re-offend during the period of CRO
    ✔ The offender will not need supervision from the Corrective Services throughout the term of their CRO

Although the CRO looks like an order, it is a "simple" pact between the State and an offender, with the court as a regulator. At the end and agreement of the pact, every party can continue their separate routines.

How does the Court grant a Conditional Release Order?

The court does not just order or grant a CRO to any offenders that walk through the doors. There is no doubt that the court will not hesitate to impose the maximum penalties on any offender guilty of serious offences, especially in aggravation.

The court will, in some cases or for some offenders explore better sentencing options other than a jail term. It will not grant an offender a CRO if evidence or arguments show that they will fail. The court will only order a CRO if;

  • There is tangible and proven evidence that the offender will not re-offend during the period;
  • The offender does not require supervision from Corrective Services within the term of the CRO

How can I meet the Court Conditional Release Orders?

The court must hear lots of explanations, arguments and pieces of evidence before it can grant a Conditional Release Order. The offender can also make this process easier and better by providing some sorts of proof or evidence to the court like;

  1. History of Good Character – An offender should provide character references from employers, colleagues, referees or other good standing members of the community
  2. Low Criminal History – It will be difficult for the court to order a CRO if the offender has a previous history of related offence, recent conviction or more serious ones. Having historical or lesser offences can help the offender's chances of getting a CRO
  3. Age – The best deals for the Conditional Release Orders usually go to Children, Teenagers, and young adults
  4. Mental Health – The Court may grant a CRO if there is evidence that the offender suffers from one form of mental illness or another
  5. The circumstances surrounding the offence and reasons for offending
  6. The seriousness and severity of the offence
  7. Any other related matter of the offence that the court considers

What are the Regulations for Conditional Release Orders?

The Sentencing Act 1995 (WA) also stipulates that the court cannot impose a Conditional Release order longer than 2 years.

It follows that it is bound by a Conditional Release Order; the offender must appear at the Court whenever they are summoned.

The offender must not re-offend within the period of the Conditional Release order. Any related or other serious offence while on a Conditional Release Order will nullify or revoke the pact.

Section 51 of the Sentencing Act 1995 further stipulates that the court may order the offender to submit a written undertaking to pay certain amounts. This amount is kept with the court, or paid to the state, and may serve as a surety in the event the offender breaks any of the conditions of the CRO.

The Court can abandon the CRO if the offender refuses to provide the written undertaking to remit the stipulated amounts. And the court may impose a fine for the original offence instead of the CRO

If the offender satisfies all the conditions of their CRO until the period elapse, they should apply for the return of their money

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

When does a person breach a Conditional Release Order?

If the Court, WA Police or Corrective Services suspects or concludes that an offender has breached the terms of their CRO, they will be summoned to attend the court.

The court grants all offenders to defend the suspicion or “charge” of their CRO breach. They may then proceed to adjust or continue with the existing conditions of the CRO

However, if such an offender fails to attend the court, they will be breaching all of the CRO conditions. Penalties will likely follow the breach of a CRO condition.

Consequences for Breaching a Conditional Release Order

The Court deals severely with all those who breach the conditions of a CRO. The offences and details of a CRO breach are guided by Part 18, Division 3 of the Sentencing Act 1995.

The Magistrate Court will usually commit the offender back to the court that granted them the CRO (original court sentencing)

When the offender appears before the original sentencing court while the CRO is still active the court may issue any of the following;

  • Reinforce the CRO conditions (similar to a warning to be of better behaviour)
  • Vary or amend the terms and conditions of the CRO
  • Cancel the CRO and re-sentence the person for the original offence.

If the CRO is no longer in force at the time, the court will re-sentence the offender for the original offence.

Breaching a conditional release order also becomes an offence and therefore the offence will generally be disclosed in a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check WA.

Failing to comply with Custom conditions of the Court

If the breach on the CRO was against the terms and conditions of the court, they can employ Part 18, Division 4 of the Sentencing Act 1995.

The actions of the court may be less strict than breaching the original conditions but are the same.

Why a Conditional Release Order?

If the court grants you a conditional release order instead of sentencing or jail term, it will not show up in your police checks results. However, this can vary depending on;

  • The severity of the offence,
  • Aggravating circumstance, or
  • if such information is important to the purpose of the police check as was indicated on the national police check application form.

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