The government has announced that nine terror-related offences will be added to the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme (ULS). This is the scheme by which members of the public can ask the Attorney General to review a sentence. The nine crimes added to the list are in addition to the 19 offences which were added to the scheme in July 2017. The Ministry of Justice has stated that these latest changes will come into force on 29 January 2018.
The new offences to be added to the scheme at the end of the month include failing to report information on terrorist activity which a person has learned of through their employment and tipping off a person under investigation for terrorism. The changes will allow anyone to put a case involving one of these crimes forward for review by the Attorney General. Once a sentence is up for review, the Attorney General then has 28 days to decide whether to refer the case to the Court of Appeal which has the power to increase the sentence.
Justice Minister Dominic Raab commented: “We keep counter-terrorism powers under constant review. These changes will strengthen our ability to punish and deter those who tip off individuals involved in terrorism, and reinforce the conditions imposed by the authorities on individuals subject to monitoring, supervision or control.”
While a record 141 sentences were increased in 2016, the Ministry of Justice emphasised that this was a small proportion of the cases heard by the Crown Court each year. Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC commented that although “in the vast majority of cases sentencing judges to get it right, the Unduly Lenient Sentencing scheme gives anyone the ability to challenge sentences within the scheme they think are too low and I’m pleased that more offences will now be included.”