State Government to review sentencing discounts

The Marshall Liberal Government has listened to the concerns of South Australians regarding sentence discounts given to offenders who enter early guilty pleas and will review legislation introduced by the former Labor government.


In 2012, the former Labor government introduced a sentencing reduction scheme to encourage early guilty pleas and to encourage offenders to provide evidence regarding their criminal associates through ‘supergrass’ provisions.

A review of these schemes was undertaken in 2015 by the Hon Bryan Martin AO QC.

“There have been a number of legislative changes since the Martin Review in 2015 and there is clearly a need to conduct a fresh review and address the community concerns regarding large sentence discounts being given to offenders,” said Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.

“The Martin Report noted a number of shortcomings and room for improvement for guilty pleas and stated it was too early to discuss whether the supergrass provisions had worked. Despite these findings, no further report was ever commissioned by the former Labor government.

“There is a time and place for guilty plea discounting to work in our judicial system.

“Early guilty pleas can relieve the burden on victims of prolonged and tedious legal proceedings, and often avoid the uncertainty of a trial where the offender may be found to be not guilty, and therefore faces no jail time.

“However, several major cases have highlighted the need to review the current system.

“It has been three years since the regime was reviewed, with many changes happening in that time.

 “This Government is prioritising community safety and the right that every person has to feel safe in their home and community. This review marks the next step in reforming our justice system.”

This week the Court of Criminal Appeal increased the minimum non-parole period for Hillier murderer, Steven Peet, to 36 years after an appeal from the Crown.

Steven Peet pleaded guilty to the 2016 murders of his partner Adeline Yvette Wilson-Rigney and her children Amber, 6, and Korey, 5.

He received a mandatory head sentence of life in jail and the Supreme Court imposed an initial non-parole period of 30 years.

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