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Convicted criminals could soon be subjected to contemporary sentencing practices in NSW regardless of when the offence was committed, under a bill drafted by the government.
Attorney-General Mark Speakman said with the exception of child sexual abuse, courts refer to sentencing practices from when a crime was committed, ignoring the community's "current stance" on an offence.
"This is especially so for heinous acts like sexual assault or domestic violence," Mr Speakman said.
"Asking courts to put themselves in the shoes of a judge years or decades earlier can be impractical, inefficient and produce inconsistent outcomes."
Courts will still be guided by the maximum penalty and any standard non-parole period from the time of the offence but historical offenders will now face the prospect of tougher penalties.
"It's unacceptable for an offender to get more lenient treatment, just because they'd dodged police detection, or their offence had not yet been reported by an often traumatised victim," Mr Speakman said.
The proposed reform comes after a NSW government review of historical sentencing practices, which engaged legal experts, victims' rights groups and law enforcement.
It follows 2018 legislation that ensured child sex offenders are sentenced according to contemporary practices following a recommendation by a royal commission.
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