What is a Good Behaviour Bond (Victorian Offences)?
An adjourned Undertaking or Good Behaviour Bond as it is commonly known in Victoria, is where a Judge or Magistrate finds the charge/s proven upon a promise by the offender to be of good behaviour for a period of time. The offender must sign a document making the promise to the Court.
The standard duration of an Adjourned Undertaking is 12 months but the Judge or Magistrate has the power to order up to 60 months.
If the offender commits any further offending during the period of the undertaking, the offender can be bought back to Court and may be re-sentenced on the original charges.
The Court can also add any other conditions it deems relevant to the undertaking, for example, that the offender must continue to see their treating psychologist or participate in a Road Trauma Awareness Course.
This sentencing disposition can be made with or without a conviction (see Conviction v Non Conviction).
- A court, on being satisfied that a person is guilty of an offence, may (without recording a conviction) adjourn the proceeding for a period of up to 60 months and release the offender on the offender giving an undertaking with conditions attached.
- An undertaking under subsection (1) must have as conditions—
- that the offender attends before the court if called on to do so during the period of the adjournment and, if the court so specifies, at the time to which the further hearing is adjourned; and
- that the offender is of good behaviour during the period of the adjournment; and
- that the offender observes any special conditions imposed by the court and may include a condition requiring the offender to make a payment to an organisation that provides a charitable or community service or to the court for payment to such an organisation.
Adjourned Undertaking or Good Behaviour Bond (Commonwealth Offending)
For Federal offences, the court may dismiss the charge/s or impose a good behaviour bond of up to three years and a probation period of two years as a condition pursuant to s 19B of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth). An agreement will form between the court and offender, as a promise of good behaviour for a certain period of time. If the bond is breached, the person may be required to forfeit the sum of the bond to the court.
Under s 20(1)(a) of the Act, the court may impose a good behaviour bond of up to five years and a probation period of up to two years as a condition.
s19B relates is with no conviction, s20 must be with conviction.
s 20(1)(a) Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) – Conditional Release Without Passing Sentence: s 20(1)(a)
Under s 20(1)(a) the court may release the person without passing sentence, and order that the offender, upon giving security (with or without sureties):
- be of good behaviour for a period not exceeding 5 years: s 20(1)(a)(i); and
- make reparation or restitution, or pay compensation or costs in respect of the offence (if any): s 20(1)(a)(ii); and
- pay the Commonwealth a pecuniary penalty (if any) not exceeding an amount calculated in accordance with the conditions of s 20(5): s 20(1)(a)(iii); and
- comply, for a period not exceeding 2 years, with other orders the court thinks fit to specify (if any): s 20(1)(a)(iv).
Factors Considered when ordering Conditional Release
Although s 20(1)(a) does not outline the specific factors the court must consider when ordering conditional release, there are a number of factors they must have regard to pursuant to s 16A(2):
(a) the nature and circumstances of the offence;
(b) other offences (if any) that are required or permitted to be taken into account;
(d) the personal circumstances of any victim of the offence;
Under s 19B, the need for general deterrence can be considered by the court to override the factors listed under the legislation, allowing the court to not discharge the offender without recording a conviction. The importance of this was outlined in Commissioner of Taxation v Baffsky  NSWCCA 332.
Recording a Conviction
During the sentencing of an offender under a Commonwealth offence, the court must record a conviction unless a good behaviour bond is imposed; this is a key difference with State offences where a conviction is only given once a term of imprisonment is imposed.
Where the court has ordered a good behaviour bond (with or without conviction), it has the power to impose an offender to pay reparation by way of monetary payment or otherwise for any loss or expense incurred from the offence under s 21B. This may include medical expenses, damage to property, etc.
Similar to State offences, community service can be imposed by way of unpaid work. Examples can include garden work, cleaning up public spaces, etc.