• These rights arise frequently in the development and vetting of legislation.
  • Criminal law penalties must not be applied retrospectively.
  • A penalty must not be imposed for a criminal offence that is greater than the penalty applying at the time the offence was committed.
  • Any reduction in a penalty that may occur after a person commits an offence, but before he or she is sentenced for that offence, must be applied to the benefit of the accused.
  • Both sections only apply to ‘penalties’.
  • The term ‘penalty’ is not restricted to fines or terms of imprisonment.
  • The imposition by a judge of a non-parole period at the time of sentencing is likely to be regarded as a penalty.
  • If you are considering whether a measure amounts to a penalty, consider the following factors:
    • the nature and purpose of the measure;
    • its characterisation under law;
    • the procedures involved in the making and implementation of the measure; and
    • its severity.