Class 5 criminal proceedings are resolved by trial or sentencing hearing. There may be opportunities for negotiation between the prosecutor and the defendant as to matters raised in the proceedings. Mediation has been used, in the form of restorative justice conference or victim-offender mediation, as part of the sentencing process for a defendant who has pleaded guilty to an environmental offence.
Further information is available on:
At the conclusion of the trial or sentencing hearing or at a later date, the judge hearing the proceedings will give judgment. The judgment will state the decision and orders and give reasons for making the decision. Further information is available on:
For a trial, the Court can find the defendant not guilty or guilty of the offence as charged in the order. If the defendant is found not guilty, the defendant is acquitted and no other order is made. If the defendant is found guilty, the defendant will need to be sentenced. Usually, a separate sentencing hearing is held at a later date to determine the appropriate sentence for the offence and the offender.
For a sentencing hearing, the orders the Court makes are determined by the penalties and orders specified by the statute creating the offence as well as other relevant statutes including the
Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 and
Fines Act 1996. Penalties might include: imprisonment; community service orders; fines; orders for restoration, prevention and compensation; orders for costs, expenses and compensation; orders regarding costs and expenses of investigation; orders regarding monetary benefits; publication orders, environmental service orders; orders to pay money for environmental projects; orders to carry out an environmental audit; and orders for training. An example of a statute specifying these penalties is the
Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 in Pt 8.3
(s 243 to s 253A).
A person convicted by the Land and Environment Court of an offence may appeal against the conviction, including any sentence imposed, to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal (see
s 5AB of the
Criminal Appeal Act 1912).
A judge of the Land and Environment Court hearing criminal proceedings, before the completion of the proceedings, may also submit a question of law arising at or in reference to the proceedings to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal for determination (see
s 5AE of
Criminal Appeal Act).