R v Whittall [2019] NSWDC 606 is a significant case in the context of criminal law, particularly regarding sentences for money laundering offences. This article aims to dissect and analyse the key elements of the case, focusing on the sentencing decision and its legal implications.


Background and Key Offences

Charles Anthony Whittall was convicted of two offences of dealing with money, totaling $2,675,673, suspected to be the proceeds of crime. These offences, under section 400.9 (1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, spanned from December 2008 to December 2013 and included various transactions such as purchasing a house, luxury items, and transferring funds via Western Union.


Legal Context

The case was framed within the context of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) and the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth), with particular emphasis on the nature of money laundering offences. The changes in legislation during the period of Whittall’s offences, which increased the maximum penalties, were also a significant consideration in the sentencing.


Sentencing Considerations

Objective Seriousness of the Offence

The court assessed the objective seriousness of Whittall’s offences, taking into account the amount of money involved, the range of offending, and the duration of criminal activities. Although the offences were serious, they were not considered to be at the highest end of the spectrum for money laundering.


Plea of Guilty and Remorse

Whittall’s plea of guilty, entered after two trial dates were vacated, played a crucial role in the sentencing. The court acknowledged his remorse, as evidenced by his written statement and assessments by a forensic psychiatrist. A total discount of 30% was applied to his sentence, considering his plea and past assistance to law enforcement.


Deterrence and Need for Punishment

The court emphasised the need for a sentence that serves as a general deterrent, particularly given the difficulty in detecting money laundering offences. However, the need for specific deterrence for Whittall was deemed less significant due to the passage of time and his personal circumstances.


Character and Prospects of Rehabilitation

Whittall was recognized as a person of prior good character, with his lack of serious criminal record meriting leniency. His long-term relationship, financial difficulties, and mental health issues were taken into account. The court concluded that Whittall was effectively rehabilitated, having been on bail without incident for over five years.


Sentencing Decision

Judge W Hunt sentenced Whittall to 11 months imprisonment with a Recognisance Release Order after serving 6 months. This decision was based on a balanced consideration of the severity of the offence, Whittall’s personal circumstances, and his rehabilitation prospects. The sentence aimed to ensure adequate punishment and deterrence while recognizing Whittall’s steps towards rehabilitation and remorse.



The case of R v Whittall [2019] NSWDC 606 highlights the complexities involved in sentencing for money laundering offences. It underscores the importance of assessing the objective seriousness of the offence, the offender’s personal circumstances, prospects of rehabilitation, and the broader need for deterrence in the judicial process. This judgement provides a comprehensive understanding of how courts balance these factors, ensuring that sentences are proportionate, just, and serve the broader goals of the criminal justice system.


Seeking Legal Guidance in Similar Cases

If you find yourself or someone you know in a similar legal predicament, it is crucial to seek expert legal advice. Understanding your rights and navigating the complexities of the law is essential in such situations. For professional legal assistance, especially in cases related to money laundering or financial crimes, reaching out to experienced legal firms like Daniel Wakim, who represented Whittall, can be a significant step. Their expertise and understanding of the intricacies of criminal law can provide the necessary guidance and representation.


Remember, in legal matters, especially those involving criminal charges, having knowledgeable and experienced legal representation can greatly influence the outcome. It ensures that your case is presented effectively and your rights are vigorously defended.