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legislation limiting the courts’ ability to give criminals discounts on their sentences.

In its final report under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court Justice Hon. James Wood AO QC, the NSW Sentencing Council also recommends victims be included in the charge negotiations process between the prosecution and the offender. “This would build a mechanism into the charge negotiations process to guarantee that victims of crime get a fair say,” Mr Hatzistergos said. “The prosecution would have to sign a certificate to verify they had consulted with victims on the statement of facts submitted to the court during sentencing.” The report Reductions in Penalties at Sentence was commissioned by the NSW Government to ensure offenders were not receiving excessive sentence reductions. The report recommends new laws: • to ensure no discounts for sex offenders solely on the basis that they will be designated prohibited persons under Child Protection laws and prevented from working with children; • to ensure no discounts for offenders on the basis that their assets have been confiscated; • to ensure any discounts do not result in a penalty that is ‘unreasonably disproportionate’ to the serious nature and circumstances of the offence; and • to require the court take into account the circumstances in which the offender pleads guilty .

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