What is a Community Service Order?
A Community Service Order or CSO is one of the options open to Queensland courts when sentencing an individual. A Community Service Order requires an individual to complete unpaid community service under the supervision of a corrective services officer for a set number of hours determined by the court. The order can only be made with the consent of the individual being sentenced.
Under section 107 of the Penalties and Sentences Act the Court can sentence you to between 40 and 240 hours of community service. In most cases you will have one year from the date the order is made to complete the hours, however the court can specify another date if they believe it is more suitable.
When the court imposes a Community Service Order, the court has discretion whether or not to record a conviction.
Within 24 - 48 hours of being sentenced to a Community Service Order you will be required to report to a corrective service officer. The location and amount of time you must attend the corrective service office will be determined by the court and your lawyer will make sure you know when and where you are going.
Once you meet your officer, they will speak to you and having regard for your skills, ability and work or education schedule they will direct you to perform a certain type of community service. The work can include projects at nursing homes, councils, sporting clubs, charities, and other organisations.
In the event you fail to obey the order or complete the hours within the required time period you may be returned to court for further action. Depending on your reasons for not completing and the extent to which you did complete the order the court may give you a warning, fine you for breaking the order or cancel the order and re-sentence you for the original offence.
A corrective service officer will check in with an on-site supervisor on your progress and take action If you are unable to attend your community service you must tell your corrective officer and on-site supervisor as soon as possible. If you are sick you will be required to provide an original medical certificate which is dated on the day of your absence and state the period of time you are unable to work.
If you are having problems with completing the order you should tell your corrective services officer as soon as possible to allow them to assist you in overcoming those issues.
In Queensland a prosecutor must prove on the evidence that a person committed an offence. A person who is charged with a criminal offence may defend themselves by relying on a number of defences or combination thereof.
If successful, a defence may result in a charge being reduced to a lesser offence, the charges being dropped, or a person being acquitted (found not guilty) of the offence. The two most common defences used against assault charges are Provocation and Self Defence. While these are the most common, there are a number of other factors that can help build a possible defence.
Under section 268 of the Criminal Code provocation provides a complete excuse with relation to an assault charge. This does not make the act lawful however it does absolve you of any criminal responsibility resulting from the assault.
Provocation is defined as “any wrongful act or insult of such a nature as to be likely, when done to an ordinary person…to deprive them of the power of self-control, and to induce to person to assault the person by whom the act is done”.
In order to prove provocation, there must be both a loss of self-control and provocative conduct from the person assaulted. Generally the response must be immediate or in the heat of the moment. The burden is on the accused to bring sufficient evidence to satisfy the court of provocation.
Provocation is not a defence when charged with Grieves Bodily Harm or Wounding.
Under section 271 of the Criminal Code an individual can use as much force as is reasonably necessary to defend themselves against an unprovoked assault. The force used must be proportionate to the perceived threat. This means that the use of force must be less than or equivalent to the force of the assault.
Under section 272 of the Criminal Code if a person assaults someone or provokes an assault that person may then use reasonable force to protect themselves if the other person responded with such violence that the person who provoked it would reasonably fear they may suffer death or grievous bodily harm.
This defence is not open to a person who’s initial assault or provocation is done with the intent to kill or do grievous bodily harm or where they use force which could cause death of grievous bodily harm prior to it being necessary.
Acting in The Aid Of Others
Under section 273 of the Criminal Code in any circumstance where self-defence may apply it is also lawful for a person outside of the initial altercation who is acting in good fail to use a similar degree of force for the purpose of defending another person.
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