17/05/24

Community Orders | Alternative Form of Sentencing

Community Orders | Alternative Form of Sentencing
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Community Orders were introduced by The Criminal Justice Act 2003 and provide a non-custodial
sentence option which a criminal court may impose where it is considered that the offence is not so serious that only imprisonment can be justified.

‘The Court must not make a Community Order unless it is of the opinion that:

  • the offence, or
  • the combination of the offence and one or more offences associated with it

was serious enough to warrant the making of such an order.’ Section 204 Sentencing Act 2020.

A Community Order must contain at least one requirement, and there may be more, seeking to both impose suitable punishment for the offending and meet the needs of the defendant with a view to assisting rehabilitation into society and preventing further offending.

Aman Murria of KANGS outlines the nature of a Community Order.

Application of Community Orders

A Community Order can only be imposed where a person has committed an imprisonable offence and, generally, where that particular offence does not warrant a custodial offence. If a matter is deemed not considered ‘serious enough’ a lesser penalty such as a fine or conditional discharge should be imposed.

Before a Community Order is passed, the Court must be satisfied it is suitable for that particular defendant, the proposed restrictions are commensurate with the offence and the pursuit of rehabilitation and will normally require a Pre-Sentencing Report to be obtained.

Whilst available for most imprisonable offences, Community Orders cannot be made following conviction for murder or other offences where mandatory prison terms must be imposed.

Court Considerations

When considering a Community Order, the court must have regard to:

  • where two or more requirements are being considered, their compatibility,
  • potential conflict with an offender’s religious beliefs,
  • the requirements of any other relevant Court Order,
  • avoiding interference with an offender’s attendance at work or educational establishment.
  • stated purpose(s) of the sentence,
  • risk of re-offending,
  • ability of the offender to comply,
  • availability of the requirements in the local area.

Requirements of a Community Order

Save in exceptional circumstances, at least one requirement must be imposed for the purpose of punishment and/or a fine imposed in addition to the Community Order. It is a matter for the Court to decide which requirements amount to a punishment in each case.

Some of the requirements which a Court may include in a Community Order are:

  • unpaid work requirement (40 – 300 hours to be completed within 12 months).
  • rehabilitation activity requirement.
  • programme requirement e.g. anger management.
  • prohibited activity requirement i.e., banned from specified activity.
  • curfew requirements.
  • exclusion requirements from a specified place/places.
  • residence requirement, to reside at a specified place.
  • foreign travel prohibition.
  • Mental health, alcohol abuse and drug rehabilitation treatment.

How Can We Assist?

Whilst the prospect of the imposition of a Community Order may provide enormous relief for an offender facing an immediate term of imprisonment, the requirements attached could be extremely prohibitive and cumbersome.

As breaching any requirement(s) may result in further punishment, including a prison sentence, it is essential that the most realistic and practical requirements available are, where possible, negotiated from the outset.

When faced with allegations of criminal conduct, it is frequently the case that presenting a detailed explanation of and mitigation for the events may enable the court to consider an alternative to the imposition of an immediate prison sentence. Such mitigation could well lead to the passing of a Community Order in the place of an immediate custodial sentence.

The Team at KANGS provides vast experience gained from guiding and advising clients facing the prospect of imprisonment and securing the most favourable sentence available.

Should you be investigated or charged with any criminal offence, we would be delighted to receive an enquiry from you on the contact details contained below.

Tel:       0333 370 4333

Email: info@kangssolicitors.co.uk

We provide initial no obligation discussion at our three offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Alternatively, discussions can be held through live conferencing or telephone.

Sukhdip Randhawa

Sukhdip Randhawa
Legal Director

Email Phone
Mohammed Ahmed

Mohammed Ahmed
Associate

Email Phone
Helen Holder

Helen Holder
Partner

Email Phone
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