Court reports and statements
The pre-sentence report
A pre-sentence report may be required after the defendant is found guilty and the court is considering the appropriate sentence.
The report provides background information on the defendant including personal history and circumstances such as living arrangements, education and employment status, future plans, health and mental condition, finances and commitments.
It allows the court to make an informed decision on the sentence.
How the pre-sentence report is prepared
A Community Corrections Officer will compile the report. They may:
- interview the offender
- ask about details on families and friends and possibly get in contact with them
- investigate previous employment and speak to previous or current employers
- contact the police for any criminal records and,
- contact doctors and other specialists and if necessary arrange for them to meet the defendant.
The victim’s circumstances and relationship to the offender will also be considered.
The completed report
The process should take about two weeks for a person waiting in custody and up to 6 weeks if they have been granted bail.
The final report will include all the information that the Community Correctional Officer has found and usually a recommendation on the types of sentence that would be most suitable in this case.
Victim impact statements
This gives the victim the opportunity to tell the defendant and the court how the crime has and is continuing to affect them. The court can take this information into account when sentencing.
For further information visit the Commissioners for Victim's Rights website.
Other reports and statements
Bail reports are conducted if the court is considering releasing the defendant on bail.
Psychiatric reports are requested if there is a concern about the defendant’s mental health.