Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Judges critical of Clarke's proposals for sentencing reform

It is reported that the judges are critical of aspects of the sentencing proposals which have been put forward by Kenneth Clarke QC MP (the Secretary of State for Justice) in the green paper  "Breaking the Cycle" - looked at on this blog last December.  The green paper (para 216) suggested the possibility of a 50% reduction for an early guilty plea as a means of getting the guilty to plead and save the costs of a trial.  The judges argue that reducing sentences by more than one-third would fail to recognise the seriousness of the offences and may lead some into making false admissions.

The consultation period on "Breaking the Cycle ..." has ended with the government receiving some 1200 responses.   The Ministry of Justice reaction to the consultation is awaited.


  1. "and may lead some into making false admissions"

    I've always been of the mind that sentence remission for a guilty plea is tantamount to plea bargaining, with all the evils that such brings.

    Anything that persuades an innocent "man" to trade justice for a tolerable but unjust punishment is to be abhorred. I'm sure that it has happened under US style plea bargaining and I'm concerned that it has happened here to mitigate sentence in cases that should have returned "not guilty", "not proven" or "innocent" verdicts.

  2. I clicked on the name Ian. It only revealed a website - something to do with Expedia Affiliates. Therefore, I will not offer further comment in response to Ian's post other than to say that English Law does not recognise "not proven" verdicts or "innocent" verdicts. We have "guilty" or "not guilty."