Any court must have regard to some purposes of sentencing in order to end up to a final decision of the offender’s sentence. These purposes are:
- The protection of the public
- The punishment of the offender
- The reduction of the crime
- The rehabilitation of the offender
- The making of reparation by the offenders to the people affected by their offenses
Current Available Sentences:
- Fines: This is the most common type of sentence given. This happens because fines are given for lower level offences, which are mostly common. The amount is set by the court after taking into consideration of the seriousness of the crime committed and also the court is obliged to bear in mind the amount the offender is able to pay. Therefore, the fine in the Crown Court can be unlimited as the case should be severe to be appeared in the Crown Court.
- Discharges: Discharges are given to the least serious offences such as minor thefts. Most of the times the court decides to give a discharge, meaning they do not give any punishment, therefore the defendant still gets a criminal record.
- Life Sentence: This sentence is used for the most serious cases. The court decides whether the defendant had committed a very serious offence he is being judged to life sentence, which he might not be ever released, depending on the seriousness of the crime. Even if they commit the 25-year life sentence, the prisoner is monitored for the rest of his life.
- Custodial Sentences: The custodial sentences can be imposed when the court believes that they have to protect the public and support the criminal policy of law. The sentence depends on how serious the crime is and the penalties are given by the law.
- Community Sentences: A community sentence combines punishment with activities carried out in the community. This means that sometimes the offender is required alcohol or drug treatment proving that these were the reasons why they have committed crimes. The court sets sentence to the offender to make sure they won’t commit any other crime in the future.
- Suspended Sentences: This sentence appears when a court imposes a custodial sentence of between 14 days and two years, the court may choose to suspend the sentence for up to two years. This means that the offender does not go to prison immediately, but is given the chance to stay out of trouble and to comply with some requirements set by the court, like doing an unpaid work or taking a treatment programme for alcohol or drugs.
- Extended Sentences: These sentences were introduced to provide extra protection to the public, where the court decided that the offender is too dangerous and an extended licence period is required to protect the public from risk of harm. The judge decides how longer the offender should stay in prison.
- Determinate Prison Sentences: A determinate prison sentence is where the court sets a fixed length for the prison sentence, however depending on the circumstances, they might nor serve their full time in prison. This is the most common type of prison sentence.
If the defendant pleads to be guilty, his sentence will depend on a number of factors including the type of the offence, seriousness and circumstances of the crime. The judge, or magistrate needs to take into consideration the following factors in order to make a decision:
- The defendant’s age
- The seriousness of the offence
- If the defendant has a criminal record
- If he plead guilty or not
For more information and guidance please email Michalaki Pitsillidou & Co LLC – Cyprus Lawyers, at email@example.com or visit our website at www.impklawyers.com.Tel. +357 99345000 – Fax +357 25 660097.