Public invited to give views on new sentencing guideline
Members of the public are being invited to give their views on a new sentencing guideline setting out the steps taken by courts in making sentencing decisions, and the factors which may be taken into account.
The Scottish Sentencing Council has today launched a 12-week public consultation seeking views on a draft guideline on the sentencing process, which will apply to all sentencing decisions.
The guideline sets out an eight-step process for the sentencing of offenders, explaining how courts arrive at sentencing decisions and what may be taken into account, such as the seriousness of the offence and any aggravating or mitigating factors. The council believes this will help to improve current knowledge and understanding around sentencing.
The consultation seeks views on the sentencing process itself, on how helpful and easy to the guideline is to understand, and on the potential impact it might have.
Lady Dorrian, Lord Justice Clerk and chair of the Scottish Sentencing Council, said: “On a daily basis, criminal courts throughout Scotland impose sentences on offenders. However, the sentencing process itself can be complicated and is not always fully understood by the public.
“We believe that a guideline on the sentencing process will help to increase public knowledge and understanding of how courts make sentencing decisions. We further believe that it will help to promote greater consistency in sentencing, by providing a useful framework which applies to the sentencing of all offenders.
“The council remains committed to taking an open and transparent approach to developing sentencing guidelines and the public consultation process is a vital part of that.
“We cannot complete our work in isolation, and I would urge anyone with an interest in how sentences are decided in Scotland to take this opportunity to help shape the development of this guideline.”
The deadline for responding to the consultation is Friday 6 September 2019.