Sentencing guidelines for possession of knives, child cruelty, stalking, harassment and domestic abuse are to come under the spotlight as part of the Sentencing Council’s plans to continue to update sentencing guidelines.
Sentencing Council Business Plan
The Sentencing Council has published its business plan for the 2016/2017 financial year and has indicated for which offences it intends to evaluate current guidelines, consult upon and then publish new definitive guidelines.
The publication of the plan comes as consultations on the sentencing of youths and Magistrates’ Court sentencing guidelines are currently active until August 2016. The new guideline for dangerous dogs is to come into force in July with a definitive guideline on the reduction in sentence for guilty pleas to be published in November with a potential implementation date of February 2017. A consultation in relation to knife offending is due to commence in September with consultations on child cruelty, stalking, harassment and domestic abuse to follow over the next twelve months.
The full 3 year timetable can be found within the business plan.
Increased Move towards Digital Working
In his introduction, the Chairman of the Sentencing Council, Coleman Treacy indicates that “the past year was particularly productive” and he goes on to indicate that the Sentencing Council will make further progress towards digitalisation, reflecting the wider reforms to the criminal justice system, by developing digital guidelines for the Crown Court.
What is the Sentencing Council?
The Sentencing Council is an independent non-departmental public body (NDPB) of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). It was set up under Part 4 of the Coroners Injustice Act 2009 to promote greater transparency and consistency in sentencing whilst maintaining the independence of the judiciary. Council meets on ten occasions per year. One of the main objectives of the Council is to prepare sentencing guidelines with particular regard to the likely impact on Prison, Probation and Youth Justice Services with the need to consider the impact on victims and to promote consistency and public confidence. The courts must follow sentencing guidelines unless it is in the interests of justice not to do so. The Council is additionally to monitor and evaluate the operation and effect of guidelines and promote awareness of sentencing and sentencing practice.
Olliers Solicitors – Specialist Criminal Defence
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