Serious terrorism sentence for adults aged under 21: England and Wales

Part of Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 30th June 2020.

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Photo of Ruth Cadbury Ruth Cadbury Labour, Brentford and Isleworth 3:00 pm, 30th June 2020

My apologies.

Amendments 37, 45 and 46 relate to under-21s. I wish that they went a little older, possibly to 25, because they consider the issue of maturity. I declare a certain interest because for many years I was a trustee and, latterly, the chair of the Barrow Cadbury Trust, which initiated and funded the Transition to Adulthood Alliance about 15 years ago. Over a number of years, the alliance worked with a number of non-governmental organisations, the Ministry of Justice, Ministers, Opposition Members and so on to the point where maturity has now been introduced into sentencing practice and several other areas of the criminal justice system. I fear that we are going to lose that in this Bill.

When considering maturity, it is really important that we work on the basis of all the research that my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton North mentioned and use that research to reduce the risk of serious harm to members of the public and to enhance the rehabilitation of the offender. The Committee has heard powerful evidence, particularly this morning, about the different motivations that people have for becoming terrorists or terrorist sympathisers, such as political, religious or psychiatric.

Sentences and rehabilitation must take account of the different motivations of different offenders. As we heard this morning, we probably also need to have tailored support, which needs to come into the pre-sentencing reports. One of the amendments says that the court must also take account of reports from local authority officers who have worked with the offender prior to the point of considering sentencing.