Last updated 4 July 2016
If a court considers that an offence warrants no punishment or only a nominal punishment, the court may order that the offender be released absolutely (s 19 Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld) (Penalties and Sentences Act)). These are given quite rarely and only for the most minor offences.
Alternatively, the offender can be released on a recognizance with or without sureties for a specified amount and on the conditions that the offender be of good behaviour for a fixed period (not exceeding three years) and appear for conviction and sentence if called on at any time during the fixed period (s 19 Penalties and Sentences Act). The court may impose any additional requirements that it considers appropriate, but it cannot record a conviction (s 16 Penalties and Sentences Act).
Before making an order for discharge, the court must consider the offender’s character, age, health and mental condition, the nature of the offence, the circumstances (if any) under which the offence was committed that make the offence less serious and anything else the court considers relevant to the decision to make such an order.
The court may forfeit the recognizance and issue a warrant for the offender’s arrest if the offender contravenes a condition of the recognizance. The court may then resentence the offender and record a conviction (s 20 Penalties and Sentences Act).