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Showing posts from June, 2016

Operation Croissant banned

Sentencing reforms may lead to more trials

I note this morning the Times are reporting on plans by the Sentencing Council to tighten up the time limit for defendants to plead guilty and receive the maximum credit - effectively this will reduce the credit received by many defendants.

Currently, if a defendant pleads guilty he is "entitled" to a reduction in his or her sentence. Now, he's not really entitled to it but in effect almost every defendant will get the maximum discount if they plead guilty at the first opportunity, so "entitled" is a convenient shorthand.

The maximum discount is one-third off the length of a sentence and that drops the closer you get to trial. There was an attempt a couple of years ago to tighten up on this but it seems to have been largely forgotten in the courts I appear in. The attempt was quite silly and saw some very inconsistent and overly rigid approaches adopted. Some courts were refusing the maximum discount unless you made a full confession to the police and others r…