The Sentencing Advisory Council’s latest report reviews 20 years of case law in Australia and highlights inconsistencies in how media coverage affects sentencing outcomes.

This report explores the approaches of Australian sentencing courts towards adverse media coverage and the significant consequences it can have for offenders. It reveals why and when media coverage might be a relevant sentencing consideration. The aim of the report is to draw attention to this ‘unsettled’ area of law and try to reduce inconsistency in how courts approach it.

Speaking to the value of the report, Council Chair Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg AM said:

‘This is an important report for both the legal profession and the wider community, because being the subject of extensive media coverage can be a gruelling experience, particularly in the modern age of social media. It is hard not to see that as a form of punishment. On the other hand, people who commit crimes should expect some media coverage. It also seems unfair to allow the choices of journalists, about which cases they cover, to affect sentencing outcomes.’

‘We hope this report is the start of a conversation to try and resolve the current uncertainty.’

View the report

View the media release