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Judgment handed down in Dieu Chol v The Queen

19 October 2016

The Court of Appeal (President Maxwell, Justice Redlich and Justice Weinberg) today refused an application for leave to appeal by Dieu Chol against his sentence on one charge of intentionally causing serious injury ('ICSI'). Mr Chol pleaded guilty in the County Court in May 2015 and was sentenced to four years and nine months’ imprisonment for an unprovoked attack on another man in a shopping mall in Footscray in 2012.

Mr Chol challenged the sentence on two bases. The first was that the sentencing judge had erred by taking into account the applicant’s subsequent offending. The second was that the sentence was manifestly excessive, given a number of circumstances such as Mr Chol's disadvantaged background and a delay of almost two years between the offending and the issue of a summons.

The Court rejected both arguments, finding that Mr Chol's offence was:

a very serious instance of ICSI. The persistence of the attack and the delivery of repeated blows to the head — punching the victim 10 times and kicking him twice — show a determination to cause serious injury which made the applicant's culpability high indeed.

The Court of Appeal examined Mr Chol’s sentence in comparison to other decisions for similar offending. The sentences in those cases were 'relevant comparators when the sentencing court is looking to maintain “appropriate relativity” of sentences.'  

The Court held Mr Chol's sentence of four years and nine months could not be said to be excessive. The judge had given appropriate weight to all of Mr Chol's personal circumstances, including his disadvantaged background and the delay in bringing the charge.  The Court said:

given the seriousness of the offending, we regard the sentence as lenient in the circumstances.

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Had it not been for the delay and the other mitigating factors relied on, a substantially higher sentence would have been warranted.

Read the full judgment on Austlii(External link)

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