New and Amended Sentencing Guidelines

A reminder from Benjamin Knight: Starting from 1 April 2023, new and revised sentencing guidelines will be put into effect. They will cover a range of offenses,Benjamin Knight on sentencing guidelines including child cruelty offenses such as causing or allowing a child to die, causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm, and cruelty to a child including ill-treatment, abandonment, or neglect. The updated guidelines introduce a ‘very high culpability’ level for the most serious cases to reflect new maximum sentences under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 for these offenses.

Additionally, two new guidelines have been created to address the sale of knives to persons under 18 by retailers, with one guideline applying to organisations and another to individuals. These guidelines will ensure that retailers have adequate safeguards in place to prevent the sale of knives to minors, whether in-store or online.

Finally, several sentencing guidelines used in magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court have been amended in response to recent changes in legislation and feedback from users. The changes were made following the Council’s 2022 Miscellaneous Amendments consultation. That full response to that consultation can be found here.

The summary of new or amended provisions is as follows:

The changes consulted on relate to guidelines used in magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court and can be summarised as follows:

  1. Matters relevant primarily to magistrates’ courts:

 

  1. Matters relevant to magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court:
  • Amending the guidelines for criminal damage to take account of the legislative change relating to memorials.
  • Amending the wording regarding minimum sentences in the following guidelines:
  • Bladed articles and offensive weapons – possession
  • Bladed articles and offensive weapons – threats
  • Bladed articles and offensive weapons (possession and threats) – children and young people
  • Supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug/ Possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply it to another
  • Fraudulent evasion of a prohibition by bringing into or taking out of the UK a controlled drug
  • Domestic burglary
  • Aggravated burglary (Crown Court only)

 

  1. Matters relevant solely to the Crown Court:
  • Adding wording to the Unlawful act manslaughter guideline relating to the required life sentence for an offence committed against an emergency worker
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