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New sentencing guidelines for fraud, money laundering and bribery place greater emphasis on victim impact

For defendants sentenced after 1 October 2014 new Sentencing Guidelines are implemented for offences of fraud, money laundering and bribery.  Definitive steps are provided within the Guidelines as to how to assess the sentence, firstly by determining the offence category by assessing culpability of the defendant and harm to the victim.  Once the category has been determined then the starting point is assessed within a matrix which compares culpability and harm.  Thereafter potential mitigating features are listed in further steps in order to arrive at the final sentence.  Sentencing Guidelines are also provided for the first time for offences of Money Laundering. 

In its press release in February 2014 the Sentencing Council made it clear that the aim of the new Guidelines was to place greater emphasis on victims of fraud in the sentencing process by assessing  financial and emotional harm together with any particular vulnerability of the victim.  Previous Guidelines had only made reference to harm to victims as an aggravating feature whereas in the new Guidelines the harm caused is an integral part of the sentence calculation.  No doubt we can all expect to see stronger and more detailed victim impact statements contained within the body of a statement of complaint as a result of these clear and structured Guidelines.

The Guidelines can be found here


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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.