(1) If the Act that creates an offence, or prescribes the maximum penalty for an offence, specifies a period as the baseline sentence for the offence, then—
(a) the offence is a baseline offence; and
(b) the period specified as the baseline sentence for the offence is the sentence that the Parliament intends to be the median sentence for sentences imposed for that offence in accordance with this section.
(2) Sentencing practices must give effect to the intention set out in subsection (1)(b).
(3) In sentencing an offender for a baseline offence, a court—
(a) must do so in a manner that is compatible with Parliament's intention as set out in subsection (1)(b); and
(b) for the purpose of doing so, must disregard any provision of this Part (including the requirement to have regard to current sentencing practices) if not to do so would be incompatible with that intention; and
(c) subject to paragraph (b), is required or permitted to take into account any matters that a court is required or permitted to take into account in sentencing an offender.
Matters that the court is required or permitted to take into account may, depending on the circumstances of the case, include the entering of a plea of guilty or the presence of any other mitigating factor or of any aggravating factor. Taking those matters into account contributes to the court's consideration of what is an appropriate sentence to impose in the case before it compared with a case for which the median sentence would be appropriate. The outcome of that consideration will determine whether the sentence imposed should be equal to, or the degree to which it should be greater or lesser than, the baseline sentence.
(4) A court that sentences an offender for a baseline offence must at the time of doing so state the reasons for imposing that sentence including its reasons for it being equal to or greater or lesser than (as the case requires) the baseline sentence for the offence.
(5) In imposing a total effective sentence in respect of 2 or more sentences, one or more of which is for a baseline offence, a court must sentence in accordance with this section for any baseline offence included in the total effective sentence.
S. 5A(6) amended by No. 63/2014 s. 7(17).
(6) A reference in this section to a baseline offence includes being involved in the commission of a baseline offence.
(7) This section does not apply in relation to sentencing for a baseline offence if—
(a) the offender was under the age of 18 at the time of its commission; or
(b) the offence is heard and determined summarily.
S. 5B inserted by No. 52/2014 s. 5.