New Sentencing Guidelines (‘the New Guidelines’), which come into effect on 1st January 2020, have been issued covering adults convicted of Public Order Offences.
John Veale of Kangs Solicitors comments upon the changes.
Background | Kangs Sentencing Advisory Team
In August 2008, the Sentencing Guidelines Council published Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines in respect of such offences to the extent that they could be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Courts such as affray, threatening and disorderly behaviour and violent disorder
but the Guidelines did not cover sentencing these offences when they fell to be dealt with in the Crown Court.
Additionally, there was no guidance on sentencing the public order offences of riot, or offences relating to inciting racial or religious hatred/hatred based on sexual orientation.
Against the background of nearly nineteen thousand convictions forpublic order offences covered by the Guideline in 2018, only thirty offenders have been sentenced for riot in the last ten years, around three hundred offenders are sentenced for violent disorder each year, and two thousand four hundred for affray with the remaining convictions comprising lesser offences.
The New Guidelines | Kangs Criminal Defence Team
The proposals and potential effects include:
- riot, violent disorder and affray sentence length will not be affected.
- threatening behaviour and disorderly behaviour with intent reductions to sentencing ranges and starting points for the different levels of offence seriousness.
- sentencing severity may result in offenders who may currently be facing suspended prison sentences, receiving community orders.
- racially or religiously aggravated threatening behaviour and racially or religiously aggravated disorderly behaviour with intent – the Court is required to increase the sentence according to the level of racial or religious aggravation involved.
- disorderly behaviour and racially or religiously aggravated disorderly behaviour – the maximum sentence is a fine and therefore the New Guidelines will not have an impact on prison and probation resources.
- disorderly behaviour – a new higher category of offending with a higher level of fine is introduced.
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