Sentencing Guidelines

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 15th February 2011.

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Photo of David Nuttall David Nuttall Conservative, Bury North 2:30 pm, 15th February 2011

What plans he has for the future of sentencing guidelines.

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The reference made by David Nuttall is to the...

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Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

Responsibility for the issuing of sentencing guidelines rests not with the Government but with the independent Sentencing Guidelines Council. It is for the council to decide on what matters such guidelines should be prepared for the courts.

Photo of David Nuttall David Nuttall Conservative, Bury North

I thank the Minister for his answer, but I think that many people outside the House will look to it for leadership on the issue of sentencing. Will he give a clear steer to the council that we must never see a repeat of what we saw last month, when a judge was unable to do what he wanted and send a house burglar to prison because of the sentencing guidelines?

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

Let me caution my hon. Friend slightly against wholly relying on the account of that case that we read in the press. What we ought to know is that the judge was able to give that individual a very significant community sentence. Indeed, he concluded that a prison sentence would probably have been a rather lighter punishment, given all the conditions involved in the community sentence. However, the House will have an opportunity to make its views heard in due course when a sentencing Bill is introduced.