A pre-sentence report includes information about the defendant that may be relevant to sentencing, including the defendant’s:
- social history
- medical history
- employment history.
The complete list is in section 8B of the Sentencing Act.
The Magistrates’ Court must order a pre-sentence report before imposing a community corrections order (unless the only condition is that the defendant serve up to 300 hours of unpaid community work), or a Youth Justice Centre order, or a Youth Residential Centre order (s 8A(2)). The court may order a pre-sentence report in any other case (s 8A(1)).
The pre-sentence report must be filed with the court. Copies must be given to the prosecutor, the defence lawyer and (if the court directs) to the defendant (s 8(C)).
The prosecutor or defence lawyer may file with the court a notice of intention to dispute the pre-sentence report. This allows evidence to be called and cross-examined on the report (s 8(D)).