New Sentencing Guidelines (the ‘New Guidelines’) for domestic, non-domestic and aggravated burglary offences will become effective from 1 July 2022.
These New Guidelines introduce a new middle category governing both ‘culpability’ and ‘harm factors’ which will provide Judges and Magistrates greater flexibility when considering the appropriate sentence for a defendant following conviction.
In this article Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors comments on the New Guidelines.
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The New Guidelines | Kangs Sentencing Guidelines Solicitors
When sentencing, courts determine the seriousness of the offence under consideration by reference to Tables which list a variety of detailed categories.
The first consideration is that of culpability for which there are three categories:
- high culpability – which acknowledges targeting or significant planning by the defendant,
- medium culpability and
- lower culpability – which will recognise where the offence may have been committed upon impulse.
Having decided upon the level of culpability, a court will then wish to take into account the extent of the harm caused by the defendant’s actions and, again, there are three categories to be considered:
- Category 1 – covers situations where violence has been used,
- Category 2 – for situations where the impact is less severe,
- Category 3 – where there is limited or no impact on the victim, with lower value items being stolen.
Level of Sentencing
Courts will impose sentences ranging from three years imprisonment for the most serious offences reducing to a High Level Community Order for the most minor offences.
The same considerations will be adopted in relation to offences involving non-domestic burglary and aggravated burglary as well as those prosecuted under the Theft Act.
Sentencing Council member, Her Honour Judge Rebecca Crane, said:
‘Burglary has a big impact on victims, often so much more than just a theft of property, especially when it occurs in a victim’s home, a sanctuary where they are entitled to feel safe.
As a result of feedback from the consultation we have made changes to the assessment of harm to help courts better assess the impact of these offences on victims.
We have also updated the format of the guidelines to introduce new middle categories for our culpability and harm factors, which give judges and magistrates greater flexibility in sentencing.’
How Can We Help? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors
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