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Cooperation with law enforcement agency for serious and organised criminal activity

The Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) carries over the scheme previously introduced in the previous Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) regarding possible sentencing reductions for people who cooperate with law enforcement agencies. In order for a defendant assisting a law enforcement agency to receive a potential reduction in sentence, the information they provide to the agency:

  • must directly relate to combatting serious and organised criminal activity; and
  • must be provided in exceptional circumstances; and
  • must contribute significantly to the public interest

See Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) s 37(1).

The court is able to reduce the sentence by such a percentage as it thinks appropriate [Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) s 37(2)].

In determining the percentage reduction to apply, the court can consider:

  • The circumstances of the defendant's plea;
  • The nature and extent of the defendant's cooperation;
  • The timeliness of the cooperation;
  • The truthfulness, usefulness and reliability of the information provided

along with various other considerations as outlined in section 37(3) of the Sentencing Act 2017 (SA).

If a person who made an undertaking and received a sentencing reduction pursuant to section 37 later withdraws their cooperation with the law enforcement agency, the DPP can apply to have the person resentenced [s 42]. Similarly, if a person serving a term of imprisonment later cooperates with a law enforcement agency, they can apply to have their sentence quashed and a new, reduced sentence imposed [s 43].

Cooperation with law enforcement agency for serious and organised criminal activity  :  Last Revised: Thu Apr 19th 2018
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.