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Question for Attorney General

UIN 27579, tabled on 29 June 2022

To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme.

Answered on

12 July 2022

The Unduly Lenient Scheme allows the Law Officers to refer sentences passed for the most serious criminal offences to the Court of Appeal for review. The Court of Appeal has the power to increase a sentence on referral in the rare cases where the sentencing judge has fallen into gross error and imposed a sentence which is outside the reasonable range. This is an important mechanism in our criminal justice system to ensure that such sentences are commensurate with the seriousness of the offending and give the victims of crime confidence that justice will be served.

In the course of this year the Law Officers have successfully referred sentences for a variety of offences including controlling and coercive behaviour, rape of a child, rape, kidnapping and robbery. Earlier this year, the Attorney General successfully argued in person before the Court of Appeal that the sentence imposed on Stephen Gibbs for the attempted murder of his ex-partner was unduly lenient. The Court of Appeal increased his sentence from 13 years’ imprisonment with a licence extension of 5 years to 20 years and 7 months’ imprisonment with a licence extension of 5 years.

Answered by

Attorney General