Sentencing Practice

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Introduction

  • Considerations for the court
    • offence
    • background
    • sentencing aims
  • Situation if D pleads guilty-relevance of Newton Hearing
  • If plead guilty, Prosecution gives material facts ot Magistrates of Judge.
  • If D pleads guilty by disputes the facts, there is a Newton Hearing where prosecution and defence present their version of facts
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Factors Surrounding the Offence

  • S143(1) Criminal Justice Act 2003-how serious?
  • Aggravating factors
    • previous convictions for offences of a similar nature or relevant to the present offence
    • the fact that D was on bail when he committed the offence
    • racial ot religious hostility being involved
    • hostility to disability or sexual orientation
  • Other relevant factors
    • value of what was taken (theft)
    • situation of victim (mental state etc)
    • vulnerability of victim
    • member of gang and part within it
    • mitigating factors e.g. remorse
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Reduction for Guilty Plea

  • Timing is important
  • Stage in proceedings
  • Sentencing Guidelines COuncil-reasons for allowing discount in sentencing
  • Shortens time between charge and sentence
  • Saves cost and victims giving evidence

First reasonable opportunity               After trial set               Door of Court of after trial has begun 1/3                                                            1/4                                          Up to 1/10

Only 20% if evidence of guilt is overwhelming

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Offender's Background

  • Previous convictions
    • if committed same kind of offence as before, more likely to get harsher sentence
    • getting more serious crimes from person (offending behaviour getting more serious)
  • Bail
  • Past record will also determine whether he has to recieve a min sentence or an automatic life sentence for certain offences (sexual offences)
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Pre-Sentence Reports

  • Prepared by:
    • Probation service
  • Custodial Sentence-ask for a report
  • Community sentence-pre-sentence report- what condition would be appropriate and if they would respond
  • Medical reports-if D suffering a medical/psychiatric conditions
  • Financial reports-if being fired
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Sentencing Council

  • CJA 2003
  • In setting guidelines must consider
  • Consistency
  • Current sentencing practice
  • Cost and relative effectiveness
  • Public confidence
  • Responsibility for:
    • developing sentencing guidelines and monitoring their use
    • assessing impact of guidelines on sentencing practice
    • promoting awareness amongst the public regarding realities of sentencing and publishing information regarding sentencing practice in magistrates and Crown Courts
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