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Criminal Justice Bill


Criminal Justice Bill
Part 11 — Sentencing
Chapter 1 — General provisions about sentencing

95

 

136     

Fixing of fines

(1)   

Before fixing the amount of any fine to be imposed on an offender who is an

individual, a court must inquire into his financial circumstances.

(2)   

The amount of any fine fixed by a court must be such as, in the opinion of the

court, reflects the seriousness of the offence.

5

(3)   

In fixing the amount of any fine to be imposed on an offender (whether an

individual or other person), a court must take into account the circumstances

of the case including, among other things, the financial circumstances of the

offender so far as they are known, or appear, to the court.

(4)   

Subsection (3) applies whether taking into account the financial circumstances

10

of the offender has the effect of increasing or reducing the amount of the fine.

(5)   

Where—

(a)   

an offender has been convicted in his absence in pursuance of section

11 or 12 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (c. 43) (non-appearance of

accused), or

15

(b)   

an offender—

(i)   

has failed to furnish a statement of his financial circumstances

in response to a request which is an official request for the

purposes of section 20A of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (c.53)

(offence of making false statement as to financial

20

circumstances),

(ii)   

has failed to comply with an order under section 134(1), or

(iii)   

has otherwise failed to co-operate with the court in its inquiry

into his financial circumstances,

and the court considers that it has insufficient information to make a proper

25

determination of the financial circumstances of the offender, it may make such

determination as it thinks fit.

137     

Remission of fines

(1)   

This section applies where a court has, in fixing the amount of a fine,

determined the offender’s financial circumstances under section 136(5).

30

(2)   

If, on subsequently inquiring into the offender’s financial circumstances, the

court is satisfied that had it had the results of that inquiry when sentencing the

offender it would—

(a)   

have fixed a smaller amount, or

(b)   

not have fined him,

35

   

it may remit the whole or part of the fine.

(3)   

Where under this section the court remits the whole or part of a fine after a term

of imprisonment has been fixed under section 139 of the Sentencing Act

(powers of Crown Court in relation to fines) or section 82(5) of the Magistrates’

Courts Act 1980 (c. 43) (magistrates’ powers in relation to default) it must

40

reduce the term by the corresponding proportion.

(4)   

In calculating any reduction required by subsection (3), any fraction of a day is

to be ignored.

 

 

Criminal Justice Bill
Part 11 — Sentencing
Chapter 1 — General provisions about sentencing

96

 

Savings for power to mitigate etc

138     

Savings for powers to mitigate sentences and deal appropriately with

mentally disordered offenders

(1)   

Nothing in—

(a)   

section 120 (imposing community sentences),

5

(b)   

sections 124, 125 or 129 (imposing custodial sentences),

(c)   

section 128 (pre-sentence reports and other requirements),

(d)   

section 136 (fixing of fines),

prevents a court from mitigating an offender’s sentence by taking into account

any such matters as, in the opinion of the court, are relevant in mitigation of

10

sentence.

(2)   

Section 124(2) does not prevent a court, after taking into account such matters,

from passing a community sentence even though it is of the opinion that the

offence, or the combination of the offence and one or more offences associated

with it, was so serious that a community sentence could not normally be

15

justified for the offence.

(3)   

Nothing in the sections mentioned in subsection (1)(a) to (d) prevents a court—

(a)   

from mitigating any penalty included in an offender’s sentence by

taking into account any other penalty included in that sentence, and

(b)   

in the case of an offender who is convicted of one or more other

20

offences, from mitigating his sentence by applying any rule of law as to

the totality of sentences.

(4)   

Subsections (2) and (3) are without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1).

(5)   

Nothing in the sections mentioned in subsection (1)(a) to (d) is to be taken—

(a)   

as requiring a court to pass a custodial sentence, or any particular

25

custodial sentence, on a mentally disordered offender, or

(b)   

as restricting any power (whether under the Mental Health Act 1983

(c. 20) or otherwise) which enables a court to deal with an offender in

the manner it considers to be most appropriate in all the circumstances.

(6)   

In subsection (5) “mentally disordered”, in relation to a person, means

30

suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act

1983.

Sentencing and allocation guidelines

139     

The Sentencing Guidelines Council

(1)   

There shall be a Sentencing Guidelines Council (in this Chapter referred to as

35

the Council) consisting of—

(a)   

the Lord Chief Justice, who is to be chairman of the Council,

(b)   

seven members (in this section and section 140 referred to as “judicial

members”) appointed by the Lord Chancellor after consultation with

the Secretary of State and the Lord Chief Justice, and

40

(c)   

four members (in this section and section 140 referred to as “non-

judicial members”) appointed by the Secretary of State after

consultation with the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice.

 

 

Criminal Justice Bill
Part 11 — Sentencing
Chapter 1 — General provisions about sentencing

97

 

(2)   

A person is eligible to be appointed as a judicial member if he is—

(a)   

a Lord Justice of Appeal,

(b)   

a judge of the High Court,

(c)   

a Circuit judge,

(d)   

a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts), or

5

(e)   

a lay justice.

(3)   

The judicial members must include a Circuit judge, a District Judge

(Magistrates’ Courts) and a lay justice.

(4)   

A person is eligible for appointment as a non-judicial member if he appears to

the Secretary of State to have experience in one or more of the following

10

areas—

(a)   

policing,

(b)   

criminal prosecution,

(c)   

criminal defence, and

(d)   

the promotion of the welfare of victims of crime.

15

(5)   

The persons eligible for appointment as a non-judicial member by virtue of

experience of criminal prosecution include the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(6)   

The non-judicial members must include at least one person appearing to the

Secretary of State to have experience in each area.

(7)   

The Lord Chief Justice must appoint one of the judicial members or non-

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judicial members to be deputy chairman of the Council.

(8)   

In relation to any meeting of the Council from which the Lord Chief Justice is

to be absent, he may nominate any person eligible for appointment as a judicial

member to act as a member on his behalf at the meeting.

(9)   

The Secretary of State may appoint a person appearing to him to have

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experience of sentencing policy and the administration of sentences to attend

and speak at any meeting of the Council.

(10)   

In this section and section 140 “lay justice” means a justice of the peace who is

not a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts).

140     

Sentencing Guidelines Council: supplementary provisions

30

(1)   

In relation to the Council, the Lord Chancellor may by order make provision—

(a)   

as to the term of office, resignation and re-appointment of judicial

members and non-judicial members,

(b)   

enabling the appropriate Minister to remove a judicial member or non-

judicial member from office on grounds of incapacity or misbehaviour,

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and

(c)   

as to the proceedings of the Council.

(2)   

In subsection (1)(b) “the appropriate Minister” means—

(a)   

in relation to a judicial member, the Lord Chancellor, and

(b)   

in relation to a non-judicial member, the Secretary of State.

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(3)   

The validity of anything done by the Council is not affected by any vacancy

among its members, by any defect in the appointment of a member or by any

failure to comply with section 139(3), (6) or (7).

 

 

Criminal Justice Bill
Part 11 — Sentencing
Chapter 1 — General provisions about sentencing

98

 

(4)   

The Lord Chancellor may pay—

(a)   

to any judicial member who is appointed by virtue of being a lay justice,

such remuneration or expenses as he may determine, and

(b)   

to any other judicial member or the Lord Chief Justice, such expenses

as he may determine.

5

(5)   

The Secretary of State may pay to any non-judicial member such remuneration

or expenses as he may determine.

141     

The Sentencing Advisory Panel

(1)   

There shall continue to be a Sentencing Advisory Panel (in this Chapter

referred to as “the Panel”) constituted by the Lord Chancellor after

10

consultation with the Secretary of State and the Lord Chief Justice.

(2)   

The Lord Chancellor must, after consultation with the Secretary of State and

the Lord Chief Justice, appoint one of the members of the Panel to be its

chairman.

(3)   

The Lord Chancellor may pay to any member of the Panel such remuneration

15

or expenses as he may determine.

142     

Guidelines relating to sentencing and allocation

(1)   

In this Chapter—

(a)   

“sentencing guidelines” means guidelines relating to the sentencing of

offenders, which may be general in nature or limited to a particular

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category of offence or offender, and

(b)   

“allocation guidelines” means guidelines relating to decisions by a

magistrates’ court under section 19 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980

(c. 43) as to whether an offence is more suitable for summary trial or

trial on indictment.

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(2)   

The Secretary of State may at any time propose to the Council—

(a)   

that sentencing guidelines be framed or revised by the Council—

(i)   

in respect of offences or offenders of a particular category, or

(ii)   

in respect of a particular matter affecting sentencing, or

(b)   

that allocation guidelines be framed or revised by the Council.

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(3)   

The Council may from time to time consider whether to frame sentencing

guidelines or allocation guidelines and, if it receives—

(a)   

a proposal under section 143(2) from the Panel, or

(b)   

a proposal under subsection (2) from the Secretary of State,

   

must consider whether to do so.

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(4)   

Where sentencing guidelines or allocation guidelines have been issued by the

Council as definitive guidelines, the Council must from time to time (and, in

particular, if it receives a proposal under section 143(2) from the Panel or under

subsection (2) from the Secretary of State) consider whether to revise them.

(5)   

Where the Council decides to frame or revise sentencing guidelines, the

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matters to which the Council must have regard include—

(a)   

the need to promote consistency in sentencing,

(b)   

the sentences imposed by courts in England and Wales for offences to

which the guidelines relate,

 

 

Criminal Justice Bill
Part 11 — Sentencing
Chapter 1 — General provisions about sentencing

99

 

(c)   

the cost of different sentences and their relative effectiveness in

preventing re-offending,

(d)   

the need to promote public confidence in the criminal justice system,

and

(e)   

the views communicated to the Council, in accordance with section

5

143(3)(b), by the Panel.

(6)   

Where the Council decides to frame or revise allocation guidelines, the matters

to which the Council must have regard include—

(a)   

the need to promote consistency in decisions under section 19 of the

Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (c. 43), and

10

(b)   

the views communicated to the Council, in accordance with section

143(3)(b), by the Panel.

(7)   

Sentencing guidelines in respect of an offence or category of offences must

include criteria for determining the seriousness of the offence or offences,

including (where appropriate) criteria for determining the weight to be given

15

to any previous convictions of offenders.

(8)   

Where the Council has prepared or revised any sentencing guidelines or

allocation guidelines, it must—

(a)   

publish them as draft guidelines, and

(b)   

consult about the draft guidelines—

20

(i)   

the Secretary of State,

(ii)   

such persons as the Lord Chancellor, after consultation with the

Secretary of State, may direct, and

(iii)   

such other persons as the Council considers appropriate.

(9)   

The Council may, after making any amendment of the draft guidelines which

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it considers appropriate, issue the guidelines as definitive guidelines.

143     

Functions of Sentencing Advisory Panel in relation to guidelines

(1)   

Where the Council decides to frame or revise any sentencing guidelines or

allocation guidelines, otherwise than in response to a proposal from the Panel

under subsection (2), the Council must notify the Panel.

30

(2)   

The Panel may at any time propose to the Council—

(a)   

that sentencing guidelines be framed or revised by the Council—

(i)   

in respect of offences or offenders of a particular category, or

(ii)   

in respect of a particular matter affecting sentencing, or

(b)   

that allocation guidelines be framed or revised by the Council.

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(3)   

Where the Panel receives a notification under subsection (1) or makes a

proposal under subsection (2), the Panel must—

(a)   

obtain and consider the views on the matters in issue of such persons

or bodies as may be determined, after consultation with the Secretary

of State and the Lord Chancellor, by the Council, and

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(b)   

formulate its own views on those matters and communicate them to the

Council.

(4)   

Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) does not apply where the Council notifies the

Panel of the Council’s view that the urgency of the case makes it impracticable

for the Panel to comply with that paragraph.

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