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Good behaviour bonds

Another important sentencing option is the good behaviour bond.

This is a sentence option under which a person found guilty of an offence promises to be of good behaviour for a stipulated period. The bond may or may not be subject to supervision, and is usually sanctioned by forfeiture of a stipulated sum of money.

In the Youth Court an order in these terms is referred to as an "obligation" [see Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA) s 26].

A good behaviour bond can be imposed upon a defendant without imposing any further penalty, and with or without recording a conviction [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) s 39(1)]. The term of a good behaviour bond must not exceed three years [see s 40]. In order to impose a bond the Court must first be satisfied that good reason exists for doing so [see s 39(1)].

Aside from a condition that the defendant be of good behaviour, the Court may impose any other condition so long as the bond retains a requirement that the defendant appears in court for sentence should there be a breach of bond during the term of the bond [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) ss 39(1)(ab), s 39(1)(b) and s 39(1a)]. A person cannot be called upon for sentence for the original offence, where that is not an express term in the bond.

The conditions which may be included in a good behaviour bond are:

  • payment of a specified sum of money by the defendant for failure to comply with the bond [see s 41(1)(a)];
  • one or more guarantors to guarantee the defendant’s compliance with the conditions of the bond [see s 41(1)(b)];
  • payment of a specified sum of money by the guarantor(s) in the event of the defendant’s non-compliance with a condition of the bond [see ss 41(1)(b) and 41(2)]. In practice it is extremely rare for a court to require a bond guarantor;
  • the defendant be under the supervision of a community corrections officer for a specified period of time [see s 42(1)(a)];
  • the defendant reside (or not reside) with a specific person or at a specific address [see ss 42(1)(b) and 42(1)(c); s 42(2) for suitable accommodation requirement];
  • performance of community service [see s 42(1)(d)];
  • undertake an intervention program, or medical or psychiatric treatment [see ss 42(1)(da) and 42(1)(e); s 42(3) for treatment to be recommended by a legally qualified practitioner; s 42(6) for conditions regarding intervention program; s 42(7) for assessment orders; s 42(8) for certification of intervention program requirements];
  • abstain from a specified class of drugs or alcohol [see s 42(1)(f)];
  • restore misappropriated property or pay compensation for injury, loss or damage resulting from the offence [see s 42(1)(g)];
  • attend and complete a specified education program [see s 42(1)(ga); s 42(5) for education program];
  • any other condition the court thinks appropriate [see s 42(1)(h)].

Variation, revocation, discharge of bonds

A court can make orders to vary or revoke any condition of a bond, or for the discharge of bond [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) ss 44(1) and 44(3)].

Breaches of bonds

Where a court is satisfied that a probationer has committed a breach of bond it has a number of powers, including to:

Where a court other than the probative court sentences a probationer for the original offence, that court cannot impose a sentence that the probative court could not have imposed [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 58(5)]. This would apply to a bond with a condition that the probationer return to court for sentence should a condition of the bond be breached. The probative court is the court that made the original bond order [see s 3 for definition of probative court].

Education programs

The Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) was amended in 1993 to give courts the power to send offenders to such education programs as approved by the Attorney-General for the offence for which the defendant was found guilty, as a condition of a bond [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) ss 42(1)(ga) and 42(5)]. If they agree, an offender can be sent to such a program at their own cost [see s 42(5)(c)]. To date the only such program aimed to address a particular category of offending was one which attempted to “re-educate” those appearing for shoplifting. This program is no longer available.

The Department for Correctional Services currently offers a number of education programs which are available for those people subject to supervised bonds and which are designed to address the criminogenic needs of offenders. The programs available are:

  • Cognitive skills
  • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Literacy and numeracy
  • Anger management
  • Victim awareness
  • Domestic violence
  • Sex offender treatment
Good behaviour bonds  :  Last Revised: Tue Mar 12th 2013