On 1st June 2017 new guidelines (‘the new guidelines’) issued by the Sentencing Council came into effect concerning the level of sentencing following the submission of a guilty plea by an offender affecting:
- anyone over the age of 18 years ; separate guidelines for those under the age of 18 years came into force on the same date,
- any organization,
- any first hearing on or after 1st June 2017, irrespective of the date of the offence,
- both Crown and Magistrates’ Courts.
John Veale of Kangs Solicitors comments upon the new guidelines.
The Current Law | Kangs Sentencing Guidelines Advisory Solicitors
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 states:
144 Reduction in sentences for guilty pleas
This section has no associated Explanatory Notes
(1) In determining what sentence to pass on an offender who has pleaded guilty to an offence in proceedings before that or another court, a court must take into account—
(a) the stage in the proceedings for the offence at which the offender indicated his intention to plead guilty, and
(b) the circumstances in which this indication was given.
Practical Considerations | Kangs Sentencing Advisory Team
- admissions and remorse at the police station should, according to the new guidelines, be considered as mitigating factors that enable the Court to adopt a lower starting point for sentence.
- the strength of the evidence against the offender should not be taken into account when determining the level of reduction of the sentence.
- level of credit available:
- one third for a guilty plea indicated at the first stage of the proceedings.
- one quarter for a guilty plea indicated after the first stage of the proceedings, with a sliding scale of reduction thereafter.
- one tenth upon the first day of trial.
- further decreases are available throughout the course of the trial.
- exceptional circumstances allow the Court to consider credit where, for example, the circumstances significantly reduce the offender’s ability to understand the charge faced, or their existence makes it unreasonable for the offender to have pleaded any earlier.
How Can We Assist? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors
In respect of all alleged criminal allegations at every level it is essential that experienced legal help and guidance is sought from the outset to ensure that your position is protected as far as is possible in the circumstance that each allegation presents.
If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our team through any of the following: