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Sentencing Principles Notes

BPTC Law Notes > BPTC Criminal Litigation Notes

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A more recent version of these Sentencing Principles notes – written by City Law School students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our BPTC Criminal Litigation Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

SENTENCING PRINCIPLES Purposes of Sentencing s142(1) Criminal Justice Act 2003 ("CJA")


Punishment of offenders


Reduction of crime


Reform and rehabilitation of offenders


Protection of public


Making of reparation to persons affected. Principle of Totality

must ensure total time of consecutive sentences is commensurate with the seriousness of the overall offending Sentencing Guidelines Sentencing Council must have regard to a number of matters including:


need to promote consistency in sentencing,


impact of sentencing decisions on victims of offences,


need to promote public confidence in the criminal justice system,


cost of different sentences,


relative effectiveness of different sentences in preventing re-offending

Court must follow any sentencing guidelines relevant to the offenders case unless satisfied it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so.


Court must impose sentence within the range specified for that offence/category of the offence (unless no category sufficiently resembles the case)

2 types of Guidelines:
* Seriousness Guidelines (general principles)
* Offence guidelines (specific offences) Separate set of guidelines for Magistrates Court Also consider COA guideline judgments (very fact specific unless COA explicitly stated judgment intended to be a guideline) Thresholds Custody threshold -s152(2) CJA'03 - The court must not pass a custodial sentence unless 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 neither a fine alone nor a community sentence can be justified for the offence.

Community Sentence threshold - s148(1) - A court must not pass a community sentence on an offender unless it is of the opinion that the offence, or the combination of the offence and one or more offences associated with it, was serious enough to warrant such a sentence. Sentencing Process

1. What sentence does the seriousness of the offence (based on culpability and harm +
aggravating and mitigating factors) merit?


Add TICs

2. Can that sentence be reduced in light of Defendant's mitigation? (inc. remorse, admissions in police interview)

3. Consider reduction for guilty plea


May reduce/extinguish reduction due to NH.

4. Consider ancillary orders (eg. compensation or disqualification from driving)

5. Decide sentence and give reasons.
* Review to ensure proportionate and properly balanced. Seriousness Definition: Defendant's culpability in committing the offence and any harm which the offence caused, was intended to cause or might foreseeably have caused. "Culpability": Initial factor in determining seriousness 4 levels of culpability:

1. Intention to cause harm -
# highest culpability where offence planned, the worse the harm intended the greater the seriousness

2. Recklessness as to whether harm is caused
# proceeds giving no thought to obvious risk of harm

3. Knowledge of specific risks entailed by actions, but does not intend to cause the harm resulting

4. Negligence Culpability increased if:
* Defendant deliberately causes more harm than necessary for the commission of the offence, or
* Defendant targets a victim who is vulnerable (ie. by youth, old age or due to job) Factors indicating higher culpability:


Offence committed whilst on bail (statutory aggravating factor)

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