Where the Magistrate is considering the appropriateness of imprisonment on sentence, commonly a Pre-Sentence Report is ordered. It is prepared by the NSW Probation and Parole Service.
This report will assist the magistrate in determining sentence and will cover such issues as family history, education, employment and attitude towards the offence. The report is made available to us at court on the sentence date. The reports fall into two general categories:
- those prepared during a pre-sentence adjournment, which are written and provide considerable detail; and
- those produced at court at short notice, which are either oral or in writing and concentrate on the availability of particular sentencing options and your suitability for them.
If your matter is adjourned for the preparation of a detailed report, this is an ideal opportunity for you to demonstrate that you are motivated and well organised in providing to the officer:
- Your full employment history including past employers contact details and the dates that you were employed with each;
- Your current pay slip;
- Details of your family including age and occupation and contact details of each family member;
- Any educational certificates and up-to-date references;
- Community involvement links such as membership of associations/service clubs (eg Rotary), charities, church/school fundraising activities, or any other public-minded endeavour;
- What efforts and lifestyle changes (constructive use of your spare time through hobbies, sport, recreation and fitness) you have made to avoid the risk of re-offending;
- Any other information that you consider helpful in the officer’s preparation of the report, you are welcome to provide.
Although the recommendations made by the officer are not binding on the court, they can be persuasive on the court’s determination of the appropriate sentence. You must make an appointment with the Probation Officer within 7 days of the court ordering the Pre-Sentence Report and it is vital that the appointment be kept.