14 Jun 2007 04:13 PM
The Sentencing Guidelines Council and the Sentencing Advisory Panel, the independent bodies responsible for promoting clear, effective and consistent sentencing, today published their third joint annual report.

The Council is responsible for framing and revising sentencing guidelines and guidelines on the allocation of criminal cases between magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court. It relies extensively on the advice of the Panel, which is tendered after widespread consultation.

The Panel and Council have enjoyed a fruitful year, tackling important topics across the full range of their remit. Earlier this year, Professor Martin Wasik announced that he would be stepping down as Chairman of the Panel in June 2007. Lord Phillips, Chairman of the Sentencing Guidelines Council, said that ‘Professor Wasik has led the Sentencing Advisory Panel with distinction from its creation and his departure will be a great loss to the Panel and the Council’.

The Panel has submitted advice to the Council on assaults and other offences against the person, Bail Act offences, and a review of the guideline on Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea. In addition, the Panel has consulted on theft from a shop, offences of theft and dishonesty, causing death by driving offences and offences taken into consideration, and has overseen a comprehensive review of the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines. The Panel’s work continues to be informed by sentencing data and research, and in the past year the Panel commissioned independent research to supplement its consultation on death by driving offences and the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines.

The Council issued four definitive guidelines over the past year covering robbery, domestic violence, breach of a protective order and the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The last covered more than 50 sexual offences and represents the largest piece of work undertaken by the Panel and Council to date. The Council also published two draft guidelines for consultation, one of which proposed revisions to the Council’s existing guideline on Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea.

The Annual Report, details of consultation and definitive guidelines, and the advice and consultation papers of the Sentencing Advisory Panel can be found on the Sentencing Guidelines website, www.sentencing-guidelines.gov.uk.  

For further information and for copies of the annual report please contact:

Sentencing Guidelines Secretariat,
8-10 Great George Street,
London SW1P 3AE
Tel: 020 7084 8130
Fax: 020 7084 8114
Email: info@sentencing-guidelines.gsi.gov.uk  

Notes to Editors:

About the Council

The Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC) was set up in 2004 in order to frame guidelines to assist courts in England and Wales dealing with criminal cases.

Created by statute, the SGC and the Sentencing Advisory Panel are independent non-departmental public bodies sponsored by the Home Office and the Department for Constitutional Affairs. They share a joint Secretariat.

The Council is chaired by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, with seven other members from the judiciary and four members who between them bring experience of policing, criminal prosecution, criminal defence, and the interests of victims of crime. Judicial members are appointed by the Lord Chancellor: non-judicial members by the Home Secretary.

The other members of the Council are: Sir Igor Judge (Deputy Chairman); Lord Justice David Latham; Mr Justice Christopher Pitchford; HH Judge Peter Beaumont; HH Judge Michael Mettyear; Judge Timothy Workman; Malathy Sitaram JP; Anthony Edwards (Solicitor); Ken Macdonald QC (Director of Public Prosecutions); Chief Constable Peter Neyroud; and Teresa Reynolds (interests of victims).

Meetings of the Council are also attended by Christine Stewart, the Director of Law and Sentencing Policy in the National Offender Management Service, and by the Chairman of the Sentencing Advisory Panel, Professor Martin Wasik.

The Sentencing Advisory Panel

The Sentencing Advisory Panel is an independent advisory and consultative body which was established in 1999. It is now constituted under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which also established the Sentencing Guidelines Council to take responsibility for issuing sentencing guidelines.

The Panel submits its advice to the Council. The Panel offers advice on general sentencing principles, sentencing of specific offences as well as allocation (the choice of court venue – magistrates’ court or the Crown Court).

Chaired by Professor Martin Wasik, the Panel has 15 members. Details of current membership can be found at: www.sentencing-guidelines.gov.uk