Crimes Act 1914

Part IB - Sentencing, imprisonment and release of federal offenders  

Division 5 - Conditional release on parole or licence  

Subdivision D - Discharge without conviction, conditional release and sentencing alternatives  

SECTION 19B   Discharge of offenders without proceeding to conviction  


(a) a person is charged before a court with an offence against the law of the Commonwealth; and

(b) the court is satisfied, in respect of that charge or more than one of those charges, that the charge is proved, but is of the opinion, having regard to:

(i) the character, antecedents, age, health or mental condition of the person;

(ii) the extent (if any) to which the offence is of a trivial nature; or

(iii) the extent (if any) to which the offence was committed under extenuating circumstances;
that it is inexpedient to inflict any punishment, or to inflict any punishment other than a nominal punishment, or that it is expedient to release the offender on probation;

the court may, by order:

(c) dismiss the charge or charges in respect of which the court is so satisfied; or

(d) discharge the person, without proceeding to conviction in respect of any charge referred to in paragraph (c), upon his or her giving security, with or without sureties, by recognizance or otherwise, to the satisfaction of the court, that he or she will comply with the following conditions:

(i) that he or she will be of good behaviour for such period, not exceeding 3 years, as the court specifies in the order;

(ii) that he or she will make such reparation or restitution, or pay such compensation, in respect of the offence or offences concerned (if any), or pay such costs in respect of his or her prosecution for the offence or offences concerned (if any), as the court specifies in the order (being reparation, restitution, compensation or costs that the court is empowered to require the person to make or pay):

(A) on or before a date specified in the order; or

(B) in the case of reparation or restitution by way of money payment or in the case of the payment of compensation or an amount of costs - by specified instalments as provided in the order; and

(iii) that he or she will, during a period, not exceeding 2 years, that is specified in the order in accordance with subparagraph (i), comply with such other conditions (if any) as the court thinks fit to specify in the order, which conditions may include the condition that the person will, during the period so specified, be subject to the supervision of a probation officer appointed in accordance with the order and obey all reasonable directions of a probation officer so appointed.


However, the court must not take into account under subsection (1) any form of customary law or cultural practice as a reason for:

(a) excusing, justifying, authorising, requiring or lessening the seriousness of the criminal behaviour to which the offence relates; or

(b) aggravating the seriousness of the criminal behaviour to which the offence relates.


In subsection (1A):

criminal behaviour

(a) any conduct, omission to act, circumstance or result that is, or forms part of, a physical element of the offence in question; and

(b) any fault element relating to such a physical element.

Where a court proposes to discharge a person in pursuance of an order made under subsection (1), it shall, before making the order, explain or cause to be explained to the person, in language likely to be readily understood by him:

(a) the purpose and effect of the proposed order;

(b) the consequences that may follow if he or she fails, without reasonable cause or excuse, to comply with the conditions of the proposed order; and

(c) that any recognizance given in accordance with the order may be discharged or varied under section 20AA .

A person is not to be imprisoned for a failure to pay an amount required to be paid under an order made under this section.

Where a charge or charges against a person is or are dismissed, or a person is discharged, in pursuance of an order made under subsection (1):

(a) the person shall have such rights of appeal on the ground that he or she was not guilty of the offence or offences concerned with which he or she was charged as he or she would have had if the court had convicted him or her of the offence or offences concerned; and

(b) there shall be such rights of appeal in respect of the manner in which the person is dealt with for the offence or offences concerned as there would have been if:

(i) the court had, immediately before so dealing with him, convicted him or her of the offence or offences concerned; and

(ii) the manner in which he or she is dealt with had been a sentence or sentences passed upon that conviction.

Where a person is discharged in pursuance of an order made under subsection (1), the court shall, as soon as practicable, cause the order to be reduced to writing and a copy of the order to be given to, or served on, the person.


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