10 June 2024


International Cases

Blasco vs. The State of Western Australia

Australia

12.02.2021

Criminal

The severity of a sentence imposed on an individual count generally falls to be assessed in light of the sentences imposed in respect of the other counts

Present is an appeal against sentence. The Appellant was convicted, on his pleas of guilty, of eight counts in an indictment. Six of the convictions were for offering to sell or supply a prohibited drug, contrary to Section 6(1)(c) of the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1985 (WA) (Misuse of Drugs Act). Two of the convictions were for possession of a prohibited drug with intent to sell or supply, contrary to Section 6(1)(a) of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The sole ground of appeal is that, having regard to the overall criminality involved and in all of the circumstances of the case, the total effective sentence of 8 years imprisonment infringed the first limb of the totality principle.

The range of sentences customarily imposed for a crime does not establish the range of a sound exercise of the sentencing discretion. Sentences customarily imposed in comparable cases provide a yardstick or reference point for ensuring broad consistency in sentencing, bearing in mind the scope for significant variations in relevant sentencing factors, and that there is no single correct sentence. Where there is a challenge on totality grounds, the severity of a sentence imposed on an individual count generally falls to be assessed in light of the sentences imposed in respect of the other counts and its contribution to the total effective sentence. A heavy individual sentence (which is not manifestly excessive) may be softened by an order that it be served concurrently with sentences imposed in relation to the other counts. A relatively light sentence (which is not manifestly inadequate) may, as a practical matter, have increased severity if it is ordered to be served cumulatively.

The Appellant committed a series of serious drug offences over the course of a number of months. The offences were not isolated events but reflected the reality that, the Appellant was a participant in a substantial business of distributing prohibited drugs. The Appellant was not youthful or inexperienced for sentencing purposes. The Appellant was not otherwise of good character. His previous convictions for serious drug dealing offences underscored the importance of personal deterrence as a sentencing factor. The Appellant's risk of reoffending was high. It was not suggested by the appellant that any of the individual sentences imposed were excessive and, indeed, the individual sentences were within the appropriate range of sentences. A total effective sentence of 8 years imprisonment properly reflected that total criminality. The total effective sentence imposed on the appellant was not unreasonable or plainly unjust. Appeal dismissed.

Tags : Sentence Quantum Legality

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