The principle of totality is a fundamental concept in Queensland criminal law. It is a rule that states that when a person is sentenced for multiple offences, the sentences should be combined in such a way that the total sentence is just and appropriate in the circumstances.

The principle of totality is based on the idea that a person should not be punished more harshly than is necessary for the crimes they have committed. It is intended to prevent courts from imposing overly harsh sentences by requiring them to consider the overall effect of multiple sentences on the defendant.

The principle of totality is applied in Queensland courts in two main ways. First, it is used to limit the total length of a sentence for multiple offences. This means that when a person is convicted of more than one offence, the court must consider the total length of the sentences for each offence and ensure that the combined sentence is not unduly harsh.

Second, the principle of totality is used to prevent the cumulative effect of multiple sentences from being overly severe. This means that the court must consider the overall impact of the sentences on the defendant and ensure that the combined sentence is not disproportionately severe in relation to the offences committed.

In applying the principle of totality, courts in Queensland are guided by several key considerations. These include the nature and seriousness of the offences, the defendant’s criminal history, and the specific circumstances of the case.

The principle of totality is an important safeguard against excessive punishment in Queensland criminal law. It ensures that sentences are fair and appropriate in the circumstances, and helps to ensure that the punishment fits the crime.