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Sentencing Council Expanded Explanations consultation response

MA response


28 May 2019
Sentencing Council Expanded Explanations consultation response

The MA has submitted a response to the Sentencing Council's consultation on Expanded Explanations. The consultation proposed embedding additional information into offence specific sentencing guidelines to make it easier for users to access relevant information, and to make changes to the wording in some guidelines to improve consistency and clarity.

Our response made the following points:

  • We welcome the inclusion of the proposed expanded factors and believe that they will improve consistency, not just across different geographical areas but across similar level offences.
  • The proposed expansions should also assist sentencers by drawing attention to relevant aggravating and mitigating factors, and make it easier to refer to material more quickly.
  • We welcome the inclusion of the proposed additional material on fines, community orders and custodial sentences, and the reminders regarding the principle of fines imposition. We also believe that it is useful for a link to be provided for the imposition of community and custodial sentences. However, we note that it would be useful to include a section on the use of electronic monitoring in relation to imposing community orders.
  • We believe that the General guideline would be best treated as an overarching guideline, to cover all offences, even those with an offence-specific guideline.
  • We welcome the layout of the guideline, which will be accessed digitally via iPads, this will make it easier to move between different guidelines or pages.
  • Regarding equality and diversity issues that the explanations should address, we note that the mitigating factor of maturity is specifically mentioned under certain aggravating factors, however it is not clear why these specific factors are linked to immaturity, as this should always be considered a mitigating factor.

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