Increased powers of appeal

Date:Fri 29th October 2010

Gareth Johnson questioned the Solicitor General, Edward Garnier, in the House of Commons Chamber about increasing the powers of appeal against sentences that are unduly lenient.

At present only a small number of offences are subject to appeal if the sentence imposed by the Judge is unduly lenient. Gareth Johnson has called on the attorney General to consider increasing this so that far more unduly lenient sentences can be appealed against by the Prosecution.

For lenient sentences in cases for 2009, the latest year for which figures are available, the figures show that of 311 sentences considered by the Law Officers, 108 were referred and heard by the Court of Appeal, of which 71 sentences were increased by the Court.

Gareth said: “Whilst it is right that sentences that are too harsh can be appealed against it must also be right for sentences that are unduly lenient to also be appealed against.

“I have found that nothing undermines victims of crime more than unduly lenient sentences. Unfortunately, not all unduly lenient sentences can be appealed against. I have therefore asked the Attorney General whether he will consider increasing the number of offences where such sentences can be appealed against.

“In order for the scales of justice to balance, we should have equal treatment for both defence and prosecution. It is therefore wrong for the defence to be able to appeal sentences for certain offences when the prosecution cannot”.