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Further terrorism offences added to Unduly Lenient Sentencing Scheme

A further nine terrorism related offences have been added to the Unduly Lenient Sentencing (ULS) scheme in addition to the 19 like offences which were added in July 2016.

Since 1988 law officers have been able to apply to the Court of Appeal for leave to review any sentence which has been passed in the Crown Crown for a qualifying offence and appears to be unduly lenient.  This procedure is open to members of the public to apply to the Attorney-General for a review of a qualifying sentence who will then decide whether to refer the case to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration.

Offences capable of review under Part IV of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 must either be indictable-only or offences which have been specified by statute.  A full list of offences for which this section applies can be found here.  Any referral to the Court of Appeal must be made within 28 days of the date of sentence, this provision is absolute and there is no power to apply for leave out of time.

The additional terrorism offences include, inter alia, breaches of anti-terror orders, failure to comply with a terrorism prevention and investigation measure (TPIM) and tipping off suspected terrorists about an investigation.

The changes are due to come into force on 29 January 2017.

In 2016, 141 sentences were increased under the ULS scheme.

Dominic Raab, the justice minister, said: “We keep counter-terrorism powers under constant review. These changes will strengthen our ability to punish and deter those who tip off individuals involved in terrorism, and reinforce the conditions imposed by the authorities on individuals subject to monitoring, supervision or control”. 

The Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC also commented: “While in the vast majority of cases sentencing judges get it right, the ULS scheme gives anyone the ability to challenge sentences within the scheme they think are too low and I’m pleased that more offences will now be included.


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