New statistics from the Attorney General’s Office released on 6th August revealed that 137 criminals had their sentences extended in 2017, the majority of which were sentenced for rape and serious sexual assault (58).
This comes after the Attorney and Solicitor General passed on 173 cases to the Court of Appeals last year on the basis they believed the sentences given were too short.
The Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme was introduced in 1986 following a scandal where a group of robbers were given an incredibly lenient sentence for the rape of a young woman. Anyone is able to apply to appeal a sentence from the Crown Court, however, there is a strict 28-day deadline following sentencing to bring the case to the attention of the Court of Appeals.
Out of the 80,000 cases heard each year, last year saw 947 referrals made to the Attorney General’s Office of which 173 were referred to the Court of Appeals compared to the previous year where Attorney and Solicitor General refer 190 cases out of the 837 they received.
Other cases appealed included homicide and similar (15), acquisitive offences (19), firearm-related (8), drug-related (4), kidnap and false imprisonment (2), amongst others (12).
Solicitor General Robert Buckland admitted that sentencing is “not an exact science” where a judge has a range within to sentence correctly, though the verdict may not be right. The scheme, he continued, is designed to “review cases where there may have been a gross error in the sentencing decision.”
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