This article will analyse the contemporary co-existence of standard non-parole periods and judicial guideline judgments in New South Wales. In R v Way, judicial interpretation of the standard non-parole provisions circumscribed their direct application. Subsequently, in cases such as R v Davies, R v AJP, R v Sangalang and R v Mills, the Court of Criminal Appeal has grappled with the meaning of the standard non-parole period as a "reference point" in sentencing and has expressed a view that the practical effect of these reference points will be to increase sentence levels for certain offence categories. Alongside this scheme stand judicial guidelines judgments; the most recent promulgated in 2004 for the summary offence of driving within the high-range prescribed concentration of alcohol.With the concurrent operation of these two different forms of "guidance" for the exercise of judicial sentencing discretion, important questions have arisen in relation to enduring issues about sentencing in a context encompassing the potential for increasingly prescriptive statutory accretions. Will standard non-parole periods and judicial guideline judgments continue to provide moderate mechanisms for guidance to sentencers, or will the heightened emphasis on transparency and consistency in sentencing lead to more rigid regulation? What are the indicators for the future as to the extent and form of the guidance or regulation?
Criminal Law Journal Vol. 30, Issue 4, p. 203 - 223