Chapter 6
Conclusion: anomalies in the maximum penalty structure

Maxima that are based on social conditions and mores of another era

6.37The maximum penalties for several offences are arguably based on the social conditions and mores of another era. While the offences can still be justified by the actual or potential harm they pose, their maximum penalties exaggerate the importance of the interests being protected in modern society. In our view, two offences clearly fall into this category:

6.38The maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment for the offence of concealing the dead body of a child in s 181 of the Crimes Act, with intent to conceal the fact of its birth, is arguably also outdated, particularly given that the offence almost always involves either significant mental impairment at the time of its commission or other substantial mitigation. Our ranking placed it in Category O, the lowest penalty category.