The court must not make an order requiring a defendant to pay compensation if satisfied that the defendant does not have the means to pay it or such an order would unduly prejudice the welfare of his/her dependants (except for the Victims of Crime Levy) [Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) s 120(1)].
The court should give priority to compensation over fines where both are ordered, or both can be ordered [s 121].
Compensation ordered to be paid should be paid to the court that ordered the payment, which will then forward it to the person to be compensated.
As an mount of compensation is considered a pecuniary debt, in the event that compensation is ordered and not paid by the defendant, the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit may commence enforcement proceedings against the defendant in relation to the debt - see Fines Enforcement and Debt Recovery Act 2017 (SA) Part 7 regarding enforcement action.
Restitution of Property
If a defendant is found guilty of an offence that involves the misappropriation of property, the court can order the defendant (or any person in possession of the property) to restore it to its rightful owner [Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) s 123]. In the event such an order is not complied with, the person affected can request that a sheriff either seize the property (possibly with the assistance of the Police) or value the property and order the defendant pay that amount [s 126(2)].
Victims of Crime Compensation
A victim of crime may also be able to make a claim for personal injury through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund, see Victims of Crime Compensation.
The Victims of Crime Act 2001 (SA) deals with the treatment of victims of crime in the criminal justice system and provides limited rights to statutory compensation for injury suffered as a result of the commission of criminal offences. Under this act the courts have certain powers to order compensation for loss suffered. A court may order a defendant to pay compensation to a person for injury or loss sustained by that person through the crime. Any such award of payment under this Act is independent of the sentencing process.
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